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Richard Mille - A look inside Richard Mille’s sweet shop

Richard Mille A look inside Richard Mille’s sweet shop

A visit to Les Breuleux in the Swiss Jura shows the complexity behind the delightfully sweet creations that Richard Mille offers us this year.

Richard Mille takes us back to our childhood with astonishingly realistic horological interpretations of our favourite sweets and a selection of juicy fruit-based designs in the limited edition “Bonbon” collection.

The 60 different colours used for the sweets in this collection are complemented by splashes of colour incorporated into the watch cases in TZP ceramic and a combination of the brand’s proprietary CarbonTPT® and QuartzTPT®. But despite the company’s considerable expertise in the use of these cutting-edge materials, the development of a new colour can still take time. One year was required, for example, to perfect the turquoise colour of the case for the RM 07-03 “Blueberry” model.

A look inside Richard Mille’s sweet shop

© WorldTempus/Paul O'Neil

These high-tech cases are highly resistant, but that also means that the materials themselves are resistant to machining! Even though this is a strictly limited collection of just 300 watches in total, the tools in the CNC machines have to be changed after every 20 cases. And these tools can cost anything between 80 and 400 Swiss francs each, which goes some way to explaining why these watches are so expensive.

A look inside Richard Mille’s sweet shop

© WorldTempus/Paul O'Neil

The mechanical movements in the Bonbon collection are, like those in most Richard Mille watches, made out of grade 5 titanium, which is highly unusual in the industry. It is more expensive and more difficult to machine but its lighter weight compared with traditional materials such as brass is crucial to the resistant yet lightweight design of every Richard Mille timepiece.

A look inside Richard Mille’s sweet shop

© WorldTempus/Paul O'Neil

By far the most complex element in this new collection, however, is the dial. The problem of the small size of a dial is a constant in watchmaking, but in this case each dial is also different and poses its own constraints. Consider the wonderful texture of the RM 07-03 Marshmallow, for example. It does indeed resemble that of a real marshmallow, but it is achieved in a process that is finnicky even by the already delicate standards of grand feu enamel: the enamel powder is applied directly to a titanium base and it is the process of heating the mixture that causes it to shrink to give it that spongy effect. For the collection as a whole, 3,000 individual sweets and fruits had to be painted by hand and painstakingly soldered to the dials. The ultimate touch of sweetness: a “sugar coating” effect created with a mixture of powdered enamel and the fine sand employed in hourglasses.

A look inside Richard Mille’s sweet shop

RM 07-03 Marshmallow © Richard Mille


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