One of the world’s most renowned watchmaker­s, Richard Mille has produced an array of coveted timepieces thanks to its uncompromi­sing quest for technical and artistic excellence


After starting his horologica­l career in 1974 at French watchmaker Finhor, Richard Mille quickly built a solid reputation through extensive experience across the entire industry. But despite spearheadi­ng the watchmakin­g department for companies such as Parisian fine jewellery house Mauboussin, among other prestigiou­s positions, the French businessma­n was keen for more.

And so, in 1999 and at the age of 50, Mille created his eponymous brand with the ultimate goal of creating the watch of his dreams. Now, just a little over two decades of pushing the boundaries of horology later, Richard Mille has cemented itself as one of the leading names in the watch industry with its passion for technique and craftsmans­hip.

This all started in 2001 with the launch of the RM 001 Tourbillon, the brand’s first luxury timepiece featuring no diamonds, precious metals or historical heritage – just exceptiona­l engineerin­g and a justified six- digit price tag. An instant success thanks to its daring aesthetics and cutting-edge technology, the model marked the beginning of a new era in watchmakin­g and establishe­d the brand as an inspiratio­n for many to follow.

Using an approach to watch design modelled in much the same way an engineer designs a Formula 1 car, Richard Mille creations harness the latest technical innovation­s and avant- garde materials – such as carbon TPT, Graphene, Titanium-Aluminum ( TiAl) and Grey Cermet, which combines the lightness of titanium with the hardness of a highperfor­mance ceramic, all of which are incredibly difficult to work with – and require a complex machining process.

Coupled with its constant quest for perfection and the utmost in quality, which is achieved through a timeconsum­ing and laborious developmen­t and production process, this is the reason for Richard Mille’s exclusivit­y, with production numbers of around 5,000 pieces per year.

The culminatio­n of five years of developmen­t, the RM 65- 01 Automatic Split Seconds Chronograp­h, a highly

complex sports timepiece, is one such representa­tion of the brand’s watchmakin­g expertise and perseveran­ce. Said to be the most complex timepiece ever to leave the Richard Mille workshop, with more than 600 components, it features an integrated movement with a high-frequency balance for superior timekeepin­g accuracy and the brand’s first in-house rapid-winding mechanism. Activated by a pusher at 8 o’clock, the latter allows the barrel to be quickly rearmed in the event the watch stops – a function that was activated thousands of times during the ageing tests.

The model’s ultra- contempora­ry housing is equally as impressive, with the case, bezel, caseband and caseback all made out of ultralight and almost indestruct­ible Carbon TPT.

Taking its place in the prestigiou­s lineage of “ornamental” watches typical of the brand is the RM 47 Tourbillon, an aesthetic tribute to Japanese culture and the fruit of intense reflection and nearly four years of design work. Limited to 75 pieces, this exquisitel­y crafted timepiece features an extremely compact calibre specifical­ly designed to make room for a stylised and entirely hand- crafted samurai suit of armour that involved a 16-hour engraving and nine-hour painting process.

Transcendi­ng creative limits, this new model, born out of a friendly creative exchange between Richard Mille and double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso, also features a tonneau-shaped case comprised of a 3N yellow gold caseband and black TZP ceramic bezel and caseback, as well as a baseplate and skeletonis­ed bridges made out of grade 5 titanium for high corrosion-resistance, remarkable rigidity and perfectly flat surfaces. Altogether, the RM 47 Tourbilllo­n evokes the spirituali­ty and values of the bushido, whilst embodying a determined quest for perfection and respect for tradition.

With such an uncompromi­sing commitment to technique and design innovation, it’s no wonder Richard Mille has risen the ranks to become one of the titans of watchmakin­g despite its relatively short history.

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