Check out our First Look video of Richard Mille’s SIHH 2019 novelties here.
Richard Mille has always made unexpected statements. After all, this is the man who flung the durable tourbillon watches bearing his name on hard concrete to prove their sturdiness. This is the man who strapped a watch on the wrists of sportspersons during competitions to demonstrate how they were truly professional watches.
At its last SIHH fair, Richard Mille once again made a big statement, but in a much more joyous and cheerful manner. Rather than issue a brand new radical timepiece that would blow our minds away, it invented a slew of watches chock-full of colour. Inspired by the colours of a festive summer and a love of candies and fruits, the brand created the Bonbon Collection.
Make no mistake, however. Just because these watches don’t look serious doesn’t mean they don’t wield serious technical standards behind them. The 10 models across the Sweets (4 editions) and Fruits line (6 editions) all offer carbon or quartz TPT cases, with titanium baseplates and bridges. The bridges are further adorned with candied fruit and candy miniatures made in titanium and painted by hand to develop the glossy textures and colours that these yummy sweets come in.
From miniature lollipops to gumdrops and liquorice, over 16 different sweets are made for the Fruits line, presented in 6 models and each limited to just 30 pieces. With the Sweets line, these offer grand feu enamel dials with a novel firing and glazing technique that give consumers a new way of looking at traditional crafts. That generational refresh of technique and interpretation is wholly Mille, and something that we definitely agree with.
Instead of traditional enamel finishing techniques, the brand has opted to sand the enamel used to deliver its matte, soft texture that’s reminiscent of real sweets. In addition, the dials are made without enamel backs, with multiple plates joined to create the layering we often see in artisanal confectionery.
None of the watches are new to the market in their origin — the timepieces are based on the RM 07-03, RM 16-01 and RM 37-01. Yet their presentation gives a wonderfully unexpected appeal to the technology that lies behind a Richard Mille watch. These are game-changers, not merely in the way they offer an entertaining and perhaps satirical look at the industry, telling us not to take ourselves too seriously.
By combining the icons of everyday consumables on an exquisite luxury timepiece, they are elevating our daily experiences into a quality product, using novel ways of working with traditional crafts. It’s something that definitely makes us smile. After all, who can say no to a Bonbon?