Elaborate and striking, Richard Mille timepieces have also set some notable firsts. The brand’s most famous piece, the RM056 Felipe Massa Sapphire Tourbillon, is the first luxury watch to feature a case made completely from sapphire crystal: it’s also one of the most expensive timepieces in the world.
Richard Mille’s first watch debuted in 2001 - and the world of luxury watchmaking would never be the same again. With its striking oversized rendition of a classical tonneau case, a revealed tourbillon, and a strongly visible power reserve at 12 o'clock, RM001 set out Richard Mille’s statement of intent, and influenced the design of every luxury tool watch to come.
If we had to use just one word to describe Richard Mille’s luxury watches, it would be ‘engineering’. No element of a Richard Mille timepiece is superfluous - everything works towards a goal. And that goal is the creation of a horological device, a luxury watch that performs a carefully designed function. The use of novel materials is central to this process. Richard Mille watches incorporate elements from the worlds of F1 car design, aircraft engineering, and space vehicle manufacture to push the boundaries of what is possible in the measurement and capture of time.
Many luxury watch brands partner with stars: legendary athletes, movie luminaries, artists, engineers. But few, if any, can claim the same degree of connection with their ambassadors as Richard Mille. Richard Mille’s luxury watches are genuine works of collaboration, timepieces developed to perform in the rigorously-examined worlds of high-level sports or answer the style requirements of the planet’s most iconic people. Completely original complications, powered by elements never before seen in the world of haute horlogerie, offer insights into the forces at work in the most extreme environments a human body can be subjected to.
Yohan Blake’s tourbillon watch has an aerodynamic shape, designed specifically to cut through the air as the sprinter reaches speeds in excess of 27 mph. Felipe Massa’s range of luxury watches, developed in close collaboration with Richard Mille, are engineered to perform precisely while battered by wind speed, G force and vibrations. And these are just two examples from many. Every Richard Mille luxury watch does something special, and is tested in a real-world situation unlike any other.
Released in extremely limited editions, each model is crafted to the absolute pinnacle of technical perfection. From the signature spline screws to the precise weave of a NTPT carbon case, it’s impossible to mistake a Richard Mille for any other luxury watch. Single elements of a Richard Mille timepiece can take up to 5 months to machine, and involve hundreds of individual hand-tooling processes. And the effort pays off. When you put one on your wrist, people notice.