Time to Shine
The RM 71-01 Automatic Tourbillon Talisman takes Richard Mille’s women’s collection to new heights
Richard Mille’s newest timepiece, the RM 71-01 Automatic Tourbillon Talisman, caters to a female’s sophisticated inclinations
Arm cAndy The RM 71-01 Automatic Tourbillon Talisman comes in 10 variants, some in white gold (top left) and others in red gold (top right). Each variant comes in just five pieces
Famed for its innovative designs, Richard Mille has continuously proven that its timepieces remain of interest to both loyal and new clients. The watches have been likened to Formula 1 cars on many occasions, not only due to the use of similar materials but for technical sophistication as well. Like a Formula 1 car, a Richard Mille watch is not easy to come by as each design is produced in limited numbers.
Despite the obvious appeal to a masculine market, the brand acknowledges that a considerable number of their sales have come from women’s timepieces. Richard Mille’s commitment to its female clientele is evident through high-performing timepieces with exquisite designs. This aptly describes the latest addition to the women’s collection—the RM 71-01 Automatic Tourbillon Talisman.
The woman behind this model is Cécile Guenat, now Richard Mille’s Ladies’ Collection Director, who was brought onboard to inject new life into the women’s collection three years ago. With an intensive background in jewellery design (a four-year technical apprenticeship for a jeweller in Lausanne, followed by a degree from the Geneva School of Art and Design [HEAD], and work experience with a jewellery designer in London), Guenat found the challenge too intriguing.
She took inspiration from Art Deco and tribal influences for the RM 71-01’s design. “The contrasts, geometry, and sacred character of these objects fascinate me all the more because they prefigured today’s design through the fusion of content and form,” she says. These inspirations evoke a sense of mystique, of magical protection, defining the name the timepiece is given: talisman. But what truly excited Guenat was the brand’s very first automatic in-house tourbillon.
The RM 71-01 launches the brand’s automatic tourbillon calibre, the Calibre CRMT1. Developed in-house, the skeletonised and barrel-shaped calibre is mostly made of titanium, is 6.2 millimetres thick, and weighs only eight grams. It also boasts a variablegeometry rotor at its core, making it oscillate according to its wearer’s movement. This can be adjusted by a jeweller, easing the burden of rewinding it from its wearer.
According to Salvador Arbona, technical director for Movements, the team was particularly focused on the shock resistance of the tourbillon cage and bridges. “This was a more difficult ambition to achieve than one might imagine, because we were committed to making the cage appear as though it were floating independent of the baseplate and bridges. Optimisation was crucial to ensuring resistance to impact during testing.” The outcome is an aesthetically-pleasing design that boasts of durability as well, made to be worn day-in and day-out. “Its architecture is unobtrusive enough to bring the dial, hands, and accessories to the fore,” says Arbona.
When Guenat was invited to work on the tourbillon’s casing, she was immediately excited and drew several different versions instead of one. After showing the teams her sketches, it became understood among everyone that they would be creating a collection. “The idea of a collection, in the sense of haute couture or fine jewellery, was both more exclusive and more likely to interest customers,” Guenat says. She was also resolute about dressing the timepiece with jewelled fittings—in the end, with sparkling diamonds, mother of pearl, onyx, and black sapphires. A collaboration among skilled craftsmen—jewellers, watchmakers, and dial-makers—was necessary to complete the timepiece, making each segment of fit harmoniously with one another.
The result is the RM 71-01 Automatic Tourbillon Talisman. A timepiece that, true to its name, accompanies the woman who wears it daily, like an amulet. With its many sides, the timepiece is almost magical in its technical and visual glory. While embodying grace and sophistication, it also offers exclusivity—the timepiece is offered in 10 variations, each produced in just five pieces.
44 different stamping procedures were necessary to complete the watch’s case
a collaborative affair (Clockwise from top left) Cécile Guenat’s sketches; Technicians putting the timepiece together; A variation of the RM 71-01’s dial; The brand’s first in-house automatic tourbillon calibre