True story. I was sitting in a six-seat sushi bar in Tokyo. The chef was a practitioner of Edo-style sushi — a mystical art form where fish is aged using various liquefied substances to evoke its true essential character. His work was tran-substantiative, with each perfectly formed piece of fish glistening like a jewel on his intricately seasoned gari a holy Eucharist of umami. As I got up to visit what the French refer to as le petit coin, I felt a hand on my wrist — which was particularly shocking, considering the typical Japanese respect for personal space. I looked down saw that the owner of the hand was smiling at me.

“I like your watch!” he exclaimed. I looked from my own Richard Mille RM 021 Tourbillon Aerodyne to the watch he had on — an incredibly rare RM 001 (Richard’s very first timepieces were made in only 17 ultra-rare examples.)

“I like your watch too,” said the man two seats over, and he too then offered up his wrist, demonstrating the existence of the ticking masterpiece known as the Richard Mille RM 009, created with a case from aluminum and silicon spun in a centrifuge and bonded at a molecular level. Before I knew it, we were buying each other flasks of sake, slapping each other on the back and laughing uproariously. We were friends, bonded through the brotherhood of Richard Mille — because when you own a Richard Mille you enter into a secret society of the like‑minded, where all members are insanely passionate about all things technical; all of whom have in some way or other scraped together the not-insignificant membership fee to the club; and all of whom (and I mean this) are cool guys. That is what Richard Mille owners are like. They’re cool. They’re fun. They work hard. They play harder.

In a market where most watch brands are struggling to find their relevance, Richard Mille is going from strength to strength. It has ceased to be a watch brand and has become a global lifestyle luxury brand that is a symbol of the person you are, the values you possess and the world you belong to. For this reason, especially in the year that sees Richard Mille celebrating its 15-year anniversary, we award it our Revolution Brand of the Year Award — even though, in all honesty, we could easily award it the brand of the millennium award.

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