Richard Mille watches are technical masterpieces. State-of-the-art materials make them nearly indestructible. Their exclusive, futuristic designs make them the perfect choice for any watch lover looking for something outside the box.
The luxury watch manufacturer Richard Mille has been a constant source of innovation in the watch industry since its foundation in 2001. This Swiss company has made it their mission to bring haute horlogerie into the 21st century. Part of that means using state-of-the-art materials from the racing and aerospace industries.
Richard Mille is also blazing trails when it comes to movement technology. For example, they utilize unusual materials like grade 5 titanium, graphene, aluminum-lithium alloys, and carbon. Richard Mille's master watchmakers develop a new movement for every model, beginning with the base plate and finishing with a new type of shock protection. All the while, they remain focused on functionality. Searching for unnecessary frills on a Richard Mille movement will be in vain.
The very first model, the RM 001 Tourbillon, set the bar very high. This two-hand watch with a separate power reserve and torque indicator is extraordinarily shock-resistant for a tourbillon watch. What's more, its barrel-shaped case and heavily skeletonized dial look very futuristic and have set the standard for the designs we see today.
Special editions made for former Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa and tennis star Rafael Nadal are especially interesting. These timepieces are extremely robust despite weighing next to nothing. In fact, they easily stand up to the extreme conditions experienced in the cockpit of a Formula 1 race car or on the tennis court.
|RM 27-03 Rafael Nadal||712,000 USD||Quartz/Carbon TPT|
|RM 052 Skull||700,000 USD||Grade 5 titanium|
|RM 025||347,000 USD||Titanium|
|RM 11-02 GMT||335,000 USD||Quartz NTPT/Carbon TPT|
|RM 002 V2||269,000 USD||White gold|
|RM 004||224,000 USD||Titanium|
|RM 011 Felipe Massa||213,000 USD||Rose gold|
|RM 16-01 Bonbon||146,000 USD||Quartz/Carbon TPT|
|RM 005||67,000 USD||Titanium|
After the success of the RM 001 prototype, of which only 17 pieces were ever produced, Richard Mille released their first watch to enter series production later in 2001: the RM 002. Its distinctive barrel-shaped case measures 38.5 x 45 mm and is available in red or white gold. The domed sapphire glass functions as a dial, while also offering an unimpeded view of the skeletonized movement below. This manual in-house caliber features a power reserve indicator at 10:30, as well as a torque indicator between 1 and 2 o'clock. A tourbillon spins at 6 o'clock to the left of a function selector. This display lets you know what mode the crown is in: "W" stands for winding; "H" represents hands, meaning you can set the time; and "N," or neutral, indicates that the watch is ticking normally. You can switch between modes using a button integrated into the crown itself.
There are two versions of the RM 002 available: V1 and V2. The only difference between these models is the material used for the base plate. The RM 002-V1 has a plate made of grade 5 titanium, while that of the RM 002-V2 is made of carbon. Depending on their condition, these watches cost between 290,000 and 440,000 USD.
The RM 003 is a great option for frequent fliers. It builds on the functionality of the RM 002 by adding a second time zone. This is achieved via a sapphire glass disc with printed black numerals. The numbers scroll over a small white insert at 3 o'clock, thus showing the time in another part of the world. You can reset this display using a button on the left side of the case at 9 o'clock. A mint-condition Richard Mille RM 003 typically sells for around 247,000 USD. Pre-owned pieces demand about 202,000 USD.
While the RM 004 lacks a tourbillon, it more than makes up for it with a high-precision double chronograph. This chronograph is operated using three push-pieces at 4, 8, and 10 o'clock. Two central chronograph seconds hands and a 30-minute counter at 9 o'clock keep track of the elapsed time. A small seconds dial at 6 o'clock rounds off the timepiece's displays. Prices for this watch also range from 202,000 to 247,000 USD.
Richard Mille reached another milestone in 2004 with the RM 005. This three-hand watch has the standard set of hands and a date display at 7 o'clock. However, it will go down in history as Richard Mille's first automatic timepiece. What's more, it features the brand's proprietary variable geometry rotor that can be adapted to the wearer's lifestyle, thus winding more efficiently. This watch comes in your choice of red gold or titanium and requires a relatively modest investment of between 66,000 and 79,000 USD.
Former Formula 1 and current Formula E driver, Felipe Massa, was one of Richard Mille's first brand ambassadors. The fruitful partnership has resulted in numerous special editions bearing the Brazilian racer's name. One example is 2007's RM 011 Felipe Massa. This flyback chronograph also boasts an annual calendar with displays for the date and month at 12 o'clock and 4:30, respectively. Its automatic caliber is built atop a titanium base plate and features Richard Mille's variable geometry rotor. You can view this movement and its rotor at work through the sapphire glass case back.
The barrel-shaped case comes in ceramic, silicon nitride, or high-tech carbon or quartz TPT. Cases made of carbon or quartz TPT are formed by stacking layer upon layer of wafer-thin material and then heating it to 248°F (120°C) so that it melts together into a single unit. The result is both extremely strong and remarkably light. The crown resembles the rims found on F1 race cars. Prices depend on the case material and fall between 123,000 and 275,000 USD.
The RM 011 went on to form the foundation of an entire series of sporty chronographs, including the RM 11-02 with a GMT function, and the RM 11-01 Roberto Mancini . The latter was created for the current manager of the Italian national team and can be used to keep track of the length of a full soccer match, including injury time. Be sure to have anywhere from 140,000 to 400,000 USD on hand to purchase one of these timepieces.
Rafael Nadal never steps onto the tennis court without a Richard Mille timepiece on his wrist. The Swiss manufacturer has worked closely with the tennis star to produce extraordinary watches, including the RM 035. This three-hand watch has a case made of an extremely robust alumagnesium (aluminum-magnesium-copper) alloy that's melted into a kind of ceramic in a plasma oven. Well-maintained timepieces generally cost around 314,000 USD.
Nadal's most recent watch of choice appears to be the RM 27-03. This two-hand watch sticks out thanks to its bright red and yellow case. The color scheme is a nod to the flag of Nadal's home country, Spain. The bezel and case back are made of quartz TPT, while the main case body is made of carbon TPT. The final watch is very light and robust. However, the true highlight of the RM 27-03 is its movement. It features a tourbillon, 70-hour power reserve, and can survive up to 10,000 g's of force unscathed. Of course, all of this technological mastery comes at a price, namely 712,000 USD.
The Richard Mille RM 052 Skull exudes a slightly morbid charm. Richard Mille's watchmakers have taken skeletonizing the base plate and bridges rather literally with this two-hand watch. As its name suggests, these two components are shaped like a human skull. The skull isn't just for aesthetic purposes, though: The upper and lower jaws hold the tourbillon in place.
The movement is almost entirely made of titanium. It's attached to the case via four bridges placed to complete the look of a skull and crossbones. You can call this collector's item your own for around 700,000 USD.
In addition to their characteristic barrel-shaped cases, Richard Mille also crafts round and rectangular timepieces. The same amount of technical finesse and care goes into choosing the right materials and finishes as is put into the classic, barrel-shaped watches.
One example of a round Richard Mille is the RM 025. With 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft) of water resistance and a unidirectional bezel, this timepieces is a diving watch through and through. Furthermore, it boasts a chronograph function and a tourbillon at 6 o'clock that also serves as the small seconds dial. The movement comes with a function selector at 4, a 30-minute counter at 9, and a torque indicator between 10 and 2 o'clock. The near-50-mm case and bridges are made of grade 5 titanium, while the base plate is composed of carbon fibers. Plan to spend around 348,000 USD on this watch in very good condition.
At the other end of the spectrum, you'll find the rectangular RM 016. This model uses the especially flat RMAS7 automatic caliber. It accurately displays the hour and minutes and has a date window at 7 o'clock. The case comes in your choice of titanium, red gold, or white gold. Some versions even feature diamonds. Prices depend on the edition you choose and range from 54,500 to 95,500 USD.
Another version of this timepiece, the RM 16-01, is available in the colorful Bonbon collection . This collection gets its name from its sugary colors and dials dotted with lollipops, licorice, and other sweet treats. These watches are strictly limited in number and cost roughly 146,000 USD new.
In 1999, Frenchman Richard Mille and Swiss-native Dominique Guenat founded their company, Horométrie SA. Both men already had extensive experience in the watch industry: Mille as the head of Matra's watch department and director of the watch and jewelry company Maubossin; Guetnat as CEO of his family company, Guenat SA Montres Valgine.
Both were united by a dream of producing luxury goods for the 21st century. They took inspiration from different fields, especially racing and aerospace, with a special focus on new materials and production methods.
After three years of development, Richard Mille presented their first watch, the RM 001, at Baselworld 2001. This timepiece inducted the brand into the haute horlogerie scene almost overnight. Horométrie SA has been producing Richard Mille-brand timepieces ever since. These watches are among the most exclusive the industry has to offer.