Richard Mille (we’re referring to both the man and the brand) is like the couturier of innovative watchmaking. He’s not the sort who puts out a dozen different models each year. In fact you can usually count off the number of new watches released by the brand each year in one hand with fingers left to spare.
But when he does put something out, you can bet that it’s going to impress. A good example would be well, pretty much every RM watch ever made. But regardless of whether you like the Richard Mille aesthetic or their marketing theatrics that draw loads of eyeballs, everyone agrees they create impactful watches.
RM 53-01 Pablo Mac Donough
Mille’s ideology of watchmaking is simple: people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on supercars, and if you’re buying a watch for the same price, it should be a superwatch. He explains it better, but this is essentially what you’re getting in a Richard Mille watch. And like any supercar maker, he keeps making his watches better, whether it’s a new gearing boost or material enhancement.
The RM 53 was first released by Mille in 2012, and it was built around the same purpose of being able to survive a few hardy knocks on the polo field. For those of you who think polo is a soft sport for the posh, here’s a shot of Mac Donough nearly getting trampled during a game. That should change your attitude towards the sport.
As durable as the RM 53 was, it looked like a tank. Using armoured glass as a starting point, he began to develop a new way of making a protective crystal around the watch without hindering its view and the result is the RM 53-01 Pablo Mac Donough.
The timepiece is unusual in its movement design, with one baseplate that supports the gear train and tourbillon and a second outer baseplate for the suspension system, like an exoskeleton for the watch. The movement is designed around a protective system. Just like a supercar.
The RM 25-01 Tourbillon Adventure
Of course, there’s also the ultimate luxury watch/survival kit for the ultra-rich, the RM 25-01 that’s described by friend of brand Sylvester Stallone as the “ultimate explorer’s watch”. It features a tourbillon, chronograph, 24-hour time display, power-reserve indicator, mainspring torque indicator, winding-crown position indicator, interchangeable compass bezels, a compass spirit level and a hermetically sealed compartment for water purification tablets.
Mille was inspired by Stallone’s long-standing Rambo character to make this multi-tool, encased in Carbon TPT and titanium. It comes with two compass bezels that can be mounted on the watch and it’s a beast of a timepiece. Hey, if Rambo himself thinks it’s a solid survival tool, who are we to say otherwise?
We’d be amiss if we didn’t also talk about another stunner, the RM 11-03 Le Mans Classic watch which offers a slight mod from past editions. It has a 24-hour chronograph totaliser, a reference to the 24 Hours of Le Mans race for which it’s designed. The watch is in a gleaming white matte ceramic and matching rubber strap.
Finally, there’s the RM 67-02 Extra Flat Automatic, the ultra-thin, ultra-light sports timepiece that comes in several material and colour variations, each referencing a Richard Mille ambassador sportsperson. The time-only watch brings everything down to a minimum in order to achieve a lithe 32 grams on the weighing scale.
The CRMA7 movement does away with the date display and the Arabic numerals of the CRMA6. Editions are in red Quartz TPT (for tennis player Alexander Zverev); white Quartz TPT (for ski-racer Alexis Pinturault) and black Carbon TPT (for rally champion Sebastien Ogier).
Richard Mille hasn’t made any announcements for SIHH 2019 apart from the fact that this will be their last, but we’ll wait to see what else happens. After all, Mille doesn’t need to be at the fair to present his pieces. Collectors, the press and the industry will answer his call, wherever and whenever he wants to show a new watch. That’s the power of a true couturier.