Richard Mille is synonymous with exclusivity and avant-gardism, and in just two decades has succeeded in becoming an absolute beacon among other high-end modern watches.
These watches are immediately recognizable by their unique visual design codes...the mere shape of their screws is enough to distinguish the signature belonging to the man who was able to overturn the ultra luxury market segment which was previously dominated by prestigious traditional brands.
Creative influences such as architecture, design, or even automobiles are the main source of inspiration for these singularly unique collections. The brand currently has a range of more than 80 model references, but certain series have greatly contributed to the brand's legendary status. It is time to take a closer look at this exceptional brand and the pioneering design of its collections.
RM023 by 41W
RM060 by 41W
RM067 by 41W
Richard Mille nowadays is immediately associated with the greatest names in sport, modern art, and cinema, and it is worth remembering that the brand's very first honorary sponsor was a Formula 1 driver: the Brazilian Felipe Massa.
It all began in 2004 with the design of the first ultra-light tourbillon watch signed "FM": the RM 006. The RM009 Tourbillon FM came to follow in 2005 before introducing the legendary RM 011 in 2007, the centerpiece of this article.
To obtain the most ergonomic case possible, the barrel shape was the winning design. Convex from the bezel to the middle of the case, including a sapphire crystal, the model very quickly became the brand's most emblematic and most recognizable watch.
The research and development work began on the racetrack right on the driver's wrist. During races, the workshop designed a revolutionary movement based on a variable geometry rotor that adapts the winding of the barrel depending on the wearer's level of physical activity: Caliber RMAC1. With a 55-hour power reserve, it can read hours, minutes and seconds, an annual calendar and a flyback chronograph. This last feature is designed to allow the chronograph to be instantly reset without having to go through the three steps of stop, reset, and restart. Its impressive self-winding titanium skeleton movement can be admired through its curved crystals, the only ones on the market with anti-reflective treatment on both sides.
The first series of RM 011 were produced in titanium, red gold, or even set versions before being produced in carbon and then in other special series: Philippe Starck, Le Mans Classic, or for the Lotus F1 team...
Special edition « Argentina » with a titanium black case and argentinian colors.
Limited edition "Le Mans Classic" said « LMC » ©Richard Mille
The limited edition series gave Richard Mille the opportunity to push back the limits of innovation by registering new patents covering the use of avant-garde materials such as TPT carbon, Alusic, silicon nitride, colored TPT quartz and gray cermet.
For the first time in 2013, the RM11 took on new features, with a new version of the watch designed in collaboration with another one of the brand's historical sponsors: Roberto Mancini.
As coach of the Italian national soccer team, Mancini expressed the need to be supported by an ultra-precise technical timepiece during matches. The dial and the RMAC1 caliber were reworked to deliver a chronograph adapted to measuring play time. The base of calculation will be 45min + 15min in case of overtime. The flyback function will also help measure any additional time. Here, the brand the brand wanted to dissociate itself from motor racing and firmly anchor its positioning around the greatest names in sports.
2014 would mark the first major technical improvement to the RMAC1 movement by providing the RM11-02 with an additional complication: the GMT function. An additional Superluminova hand is added to enable the second time zone to be read immediately. The caliber is attached to the case by 4 silicon rings giving it increased shock resistance. The Dual-Time was produced in titanium, pink gold, and carbon NTPT.
A little less than 10 years after the first version was released, it in 2016, during the 3rd edition of the Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille, the RM11-03 was officially presented to the general public. It was the successor to the first RM011, which was at the height of its success. Wanting to bring a feeling of three-dimensionality corresponding to the elegance of its movement, the manufacture modernized its design without compromising its style. As a result, the case has a fluted lug and the dial features enlarged counter rings. The shape of the crown has also been reworked, evoking the rims of race cars and their grooved tires.
Mechanically speaking, the new RMAC3 caliber offered increased shock resistance and even better performance. As for different models within the collection, the RM11-03 was made available in different materials and special limited edition series such as the 150 piece series made in partnership with Jean Todt or even the McLaren version made in TPT carbon and TPT orange quartz to celebrate the decennial collaboration between the two groups.
Limited edition Jean Todt in carbon TPT ©Richard Mille
Limited edition McLaren in orange quartz TPT ©Watchonista
A logical upgrade from the 2013 version, the RM11-04 is immediately recognizable by its lugged TPT carbon case and new crown. The color blue plays a prominent role in echoing the Squadra Azzura.
For the first time on the watch market, Richard Mille used grey cermet to design a case in 2020. A gray-tinted alloy made from a metal matrix of zirconia reinforced with high-performance ceramic. It combines the lightness of titanium with the toughness of diamonds. Its outstanding properties make it a material usually used on aero-spacecraft, in ballistic protections or even on race car brakes.
Aesthetically speaking, the 05 extension took on the same visual codes as the first series cases (without grooves) while adding modern touches borrowed from more recent versions, such as its crown. Limited edition series produced in only 100 pieces.
For 15 years now, the RM11 family has been one of the brand's most iconic designs, as well as one of the most emblematic in the Haute Horlogerie watch market. Despite its different variations, these series remain extremely limited and particularly sought after by collectors around the world. Its distinctive shape is now synonymous with exclusivity, rarity, and technicality. Although purchasing an RM11 requires a substantial investment, its investment potential has probably not yet reached the peak levels towards which it is currently heading. The next creations will certainly contribute to the collections' evolution towards new features, with the first series remaining the founding pillars of the Richard Mille legend.
Richard Mille watches are undoubtedly exceptional works of art that are not accessible to everyone, and the RM11 is one of those models that have built the brand's aura. We hope we've satisfied curiosity with these few lines and sparked your interest in this resolutely unusual and avant-garde watch, if it wasn't already the case.
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