Richard Mille certainly knows a thing or two about sidling up to the ladies. For the past couple of years, he has actively courted the affections of female watch connoisseurs with a bevy of dedicated women’s models that aren’t just feminised versions of men’s watches. And it’s clear that Mille doesn’t like to play it safe, either. Like his men’s pieces, his women’s models are not for the faint of heart, as exemplified by the spider motif in the RM 19-01 Tourbillon – Natalie Portman or the RM 51-01 Tourbillon Tiger and Dragon – Michelle Yeoh. They’re fierce and strong, just like their wearers, and they make no apologies for being so.
This year’s RM 19-02 Tourbillon Fleur with its bright pink magnolia blossom on the dial might have you thinking that Mille has gone soft, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The opening and closing of the flower petals make it a sublime work of kinetic art that is every bit as entrancing to watch as an Attenborough documentary.
Not many watchmakers bother to create unique or high complications for women, let alone engineer an automaton mechanism, but with the Tourbillon Fleur, Mille checks both boxes. The choice of the magnolia blossom isn’t random as well. Magnolias are known to be a hardy species that can withstand severe climates. It’s a subtle tip of the hat to female fans who are every bit as indomitable as the watch they wear.
The entire choreography of the flying tourbillon mechanism is as precise and controlled as a Bolshoi Ballet production. With only 30 pieces made, and the Autumn/Winter ’15 runways rife with opulent floral prints (everyone from Anna Sui to Dries Van Noten to Giambattista Valli showed some variation of this theme), we think the Tourbillon Fleur will be highly sought after, its million-dollar price tag (USD1.09 million for the diamond-set model) notwithstanding.
The petals of the RM 19- 02 Tourbillon Fleur watch open once every
five minutes, unless activated on demand
The Richard Mille exhibition at the 2015 ‘ Watches and Wonders’