Richard Mille’s history

2001: Richard Mille copy launched his first timepiece, creating a new trend in watchmaking. At the beginning of his business, a bold vision was to apply the technologies and materials used in the most innovative fields to watches, such as F1 racing cars or airplanes.

From the very beginning, Richard Mille watches were born out of experimental research on high-tech materials, and their unique design reinforces the concept of performance. In fact, the brand’s first slogan is: “Racing machine on the wrist”.

But at the same time, Richard Mille showed great respect for the Swiss Haute Horlogerie tradition, creating extremely complex mechanical movements, assembled and completed by hand.

Richard was born in Draguignan, France in 1951. He started his watchmaking career in 1974 and held management positions in several watch brands. Then in the early 1990s he became a member of the Mauboussin watch division of the famous French jewelry company. Managing Director (and shareholder).

It was during these years that Richard Mille met Giulio Papi, one of the most talented watchmakers of our time, the research and development director of Audemars Piguet Renaud et Papi (APR&P), and the high-end watchmaking department of Audemars Piguet.

In 1999, Richard Mille decided to create his personal luxury watch brand, aiming to break the traditional codes associated with high-end watches, which are usually associated with baroque style and precious materials such as gold and platinum.

His extensive experience in the industry and numerous contacts have helped him establish active partnerships with some of the best movement and component manufacturers in Switzerland.

The main legal entity of the brand-Horometrie SA-was founded by Richard Mille and Dominique Guenat in 2001 and is headquartered in Les Breuleux, a small village 1,038 meters (3,406 feet) above sea level in northwestern Switzerland, in the Jura Canton, a short distance from the famous watchmaking center La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle are not far away.

Audemars Piguet also joined the project as a minority shareholder. From the beginning, Audemars Piguet Renaud et Papi was the technical partner in the development of the most complex movements in the Richard Mille series, including tourbillons and dual-second chronographs.

The first timepiece is not simple. In fact, Richard Mille RM 001 is a tourbillon model, one of the most prestigious masterpieces of timepieces.

RM 001 is followed closely by RM 002, which is an evolution of its predecessor with the addition of a torque indicator, and RM 003 also has a second time zone.

In 2003, the RM 004 split-second chronograph was a natural development of a brand with sports genes and the first in a series of high-performance chronographs.

RM 006 is the first timepiece with a carbon fiber soleplate. Carbon fiber has revolutionized the aviation and automotive fields because of its qualities: strong, rigid, lightweight, and highly resistant to shrinkage and expansion when exposed to temperature changes. Its dark appearance was a big advantage for Richard Mille, and he wanted a black base plate for this model. On the other hand, manufacturing such a bottom plate is extremely challenging and costly because it is extremely difficult to cut and drill with the precision required for watchmaking.

A number of watches were launched in 2004, including the extraordinary RM 008, which combines all the characteristics of the RM004 chronograph and adds a tourbillon, which is the brand’s first combination. This model also has torque and power reserve indicators.

The following year, Richard Mille launched the brand’s first ladies’ watches, RM 007 and RM 009, which are experimental models of ALUSIC, a material often used in the construction of satellites and space stations.

In 2006, the tourbillon RM 012 with tubular structure, minimal structure and extreme manufacturing complexity was introduced. This watch is limited to 30 pieces of platinum. Its clear goal is to completely change the traditional concept of the plate. The plate is equipped with wheels and replaced with tubes to create a 3D building as a whole, reliable and efficient, but very light and airborne.

RM 012 won the prestigious “Aiguille d’Or” award at the 2007 Geneva Watch Grand Prix-the equivalent of the Oscar in watchmaking. With the RM 011 Felipe Massa Flyback Chronograph, Richard Mille created a chronograph that the company’s most successful chronograph will compete with other sports celebrities such as Roberto Mancini and Jean Todt over the years. Cooperate to develop a variety of styles.

In the same year, a new case shape was unveiled together with the super flat and rectangular RM 016. There are a variety of materials to choose from, including a titanium version with Titalyt, which is a kind of use of electric plasma treatment, which is increased by generating crystalline oxides. Ceramic coating for metal hardness.

With the RM 020 tourbillon, Richard Mille reinterpreted the classic pocket watch and expressed his love for watchmaking tradition.

In 2009, Richard Mille launched the ladies tourbillon RM 019 in response to women’s growing interest in complex timepieces. Over the years, the brand has developed a rich collection of ladies’ watches, which currently account for approximately 25% of the brand’s total sales.

The first round timepiece produced by the brand was the RM 025 tourbillon chronograph “Diver’s Watch”. This watch uses a titanium and rose gold triple case and is water-resistant to 300 meters/1000 feet, which is a depth that can only be achieved by a round shape.

Richard Mille launches several new products every year, constantly showing extraordinary creative vitality. From a technical and marketing point of view, an important milestone is the RM 027 tourbillon released in 2010, which is the world’s lightest mechanical watch, measuring only 19 grams, including the strap. This super expensive watch was created exclusively for Rafael Nadal and was once worn by this famous tennis player.

Lightweight watches are required not only for comfort reasons, but also because lighter watches are more resistant to shocks.

RM 027 evolved from RM 27-01 in 2013. This model is inspired by suspended civil engineering infrastructure, in which the movement bottom plate is connected to an anthracite carbon fiber case through four braided steel cables with a diameter of only 0.35 mm .

Partnerships have always been a key aspect of Richard Mille’s entry into the market and often lead to the development of surprising works. Richard Mille’s partners did not simply recommend, but actually participated in the development stage by testing and challenging the reliability of the watch.

Among them, it is of course worth mentioning that the RM 053 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough launched in 2013. This watch is specially designed for the world’s number one polo player. It is characterized by an unconventional case made of micro-sandblasted titanium and titanium carbide. The new case design is inspired by the shape of the wine barrel. To withstand the extreme shocks that may occur in a polo match.

Later that same year, the first Richard Mille aviation watch came out. The RM 039 tourbillon flyback chronograph provides the pilot with the possibility to continuously time different durations and a second time zone dial in multiple directions.

RM 056 was launched in 2012 and caused a sensation due to its completely transparent pure sapphire case. Considering that the process required to process sapphire into complex shapes such as tonneau-shaped cases is extremely difficult, this is an extraordinary achievement.

Through this model, Richard Mille clearly demonstrated that the product can always be perfect. In fact, when Richard Mille improved the RM 56-01 for the first time, he raised the bar by adding a sapphire base plate, a splint and a third round.

The RM 56-02 Sapphire created for the 2014 Watch and Miracle Exhibition went one step further, combining the cable suspension movement originally developed for the RM 27-01 Rafael Nadal to create an amazing combination of transparency, lightness and complexity.

The second factory, the ultra-modern ProArt SA, opened in April 2013 and is dedicated to the production of Richard Mille watch cases and other parts, including base plates, buttons, splints and bracelet parts made of precious metals, titanium and composite materials . The building is constructed with environmentally friendly materials and is the first building in Jura that utilizes geothermal heating and cooling systems.

Over the next few years, Richard Mille continued to push the boundaries of innovation, introducing unconventional and often unprecedented materials and new production methods. You can learn more about this through the link at the end of the article.

An example of the constant pursuit of new challenges is the tourbillon RM 27-02 Rafael Nadal was launched at the French Open in 2015 at the Roland Garros Stadium. This watch uses the first hollow one-piece bottom plate, where the case and bottom plate have been fused into a whole, without the need to connect the two components together: this solution requires a wealth of knowledge and experience in micromachining new materials. Inspired by the racing chassis, this structure significantly improves stiffness and impact resistance.

The RM 67-01 exhibited at the Geneva International Haute Horlogerie Salon in 2016 became the most fashionable model of all tonneau-shaped Richard Mille timepieces.

The latest outstanding achievement is the RM 50-03 McLaren F1 launched in early 2017. This is a masterpiece produced in collaboration with the famous McLaren Formula One car manufacturer, which created the lightest mechanical chronograph ever. Record of excellence. The RM 50-03 combines a tourbillon with a two-second chronograph and weighs less than 40 grams, including the strap.

Since its establishment in 2001, in a relatively short period of time, Richard Mille has been able to create a timepiece that becomes the ultimate symbol of wealth and success without the need to shine or rely on the intrinsic value of precious metals or gems.

Based on three key elements-the best technological innovation, the best art and architecture, the best haute watchmaking tradition and culture-Richard Mille’s success is also attributed to the ability to continuously surprise the market, so we absolutely I can’t wait to see what happens next.