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Richard Mille - Richard Mille, a rare sighting in captivity

Richard Mille Richard Mille, a rare sighting in captivity

The SIHH provides a rare opportunity to try on some of Richard Mille’s latest creations. Here’s a slide show featuring real photos of a rare watch brand.

One of the unusual things about Richard Mille is that new designs are often launched “virtually”. There are very few photos; instead, we are shown computer-generated images. Even at the SIHH, it’s rare to get your hands on an actual watch. You usually have to wait until they are brought to market, and intercept one before it flies out of the shop. This explains why the pictures we see of Richard Mille timepieces are so rarely of the actual watches themselves. The recent SIHH offered a rare opportunity to touch (with gloved hands – no finger marks on the merchandise, thank you) some of Richard Mille’s newest creations. And here are some photographs of them, in their natural setting.

Richard Mille, a rare sighting in captivity

RM 07-03 Marshmallow © WorldTempus/David Chokron

The most striking launch of the new year has to be the Bonbons collection. With these ten different models, Richard Mille once again demonstrates its independent spirit, its desire to eschew stale convention. Yes, Swatch did launch a collection on the theme of candies a few years back, but these Bonbons are on another level. The approach is meticulously executed, infused with the brand’s signature combination of iconoclasm and technical experimentation. The cases are made of ceramic, Quartz TPT and Carbon TPT. The dials contain hand-painted miniatures and grand feu enamel. The detailing is exquisite: we have crowns in the shape of pastries, gem-set case bands, straps in coordinating colours, ultra-technical materials and colourful chapter rings. Everything exudes a single-minded attention to detail worthy of any toqued pastry chef, master chocolatier or award-winning confectioner.

Richard Mille, a rare sighting in captivity

La RM 37-01 Automatic Sucette dans son environnement naturel © WorldTempus/David Chokron

But these unconventional watches were not the only ones on show. First, and with a minimum of fanfare, the brand announced a new RM 037. Up to now, this slim, barrel-shaped watch has only been available in women’s versions. While its dimensions remain unchanged, its new livery will enable the RM 037 Carbon TPT to navigate between the genders. The entire case and dial are made of black carbon, and the central panel has lost its diamond detailing. But the most interesting feature is probably the strap, also made of carbon. It’s only the second watch in the world to have one, and I must admit it feels amazing on the wrist. It’s ultra-light and relatively slender, and thus ideal for a smaller wrist. It is convincingly masculine, while retaining plenty of charm.

Richard Mille, a rare sighting in captivity

RM 037 Carbon TPT © WorldTempus/David Chokron

For the third example of what it’s like to wear a Richard Mille watch, the company opened its safe to reveal an RM 67-02 Sébastien Ogier. This is one of a series of timepieces designed for sporting ambassadors. They are based on the ultra-slim RM 67-01, in titanium or gold, with a pointed crown. The 67-02 models are multicoloured, with a round crown, and the movement bridges are picked out in the colours associated with the athlete in question. The model I tried was more understated and thus easier to wear. The case is made of Carbon TPT and the blue strap can be changed at will. The watch has compact proportions, hugs the wrist comfortably and weighs nothing at all. But the pleasure of wearing a Richard Mille watch is, alas, all too fleeting. To prolong the experience you’ll have to take out your cheque book and hand over an arm and a leg. At the very least.

Richard Mille, a rare sighting in captivity

The RM 67-02 Sébastien Ogier on the wrist © WorldTempus/David Chokron

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Richard Mille did not simply try to find his place in the watchmaking world – he carved one out for himself, constantly striving not to take anything for granted, and to make innovation and extreme technical prowess his driving forces.

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