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A DIVE INTO THE HISTORY OF RICHARD MILLE TIMEPIECES

The watchmaking industry is one where several watchmakers show their dexterity year after year. Interestingly, most of these watchmaking giants have histories going back to as far as centuries ago. However, in this same industry, Richard Mille timepieces holds its place with pride regardless of its young presence.  For a brand that began production in 2001, Richard Mille is a newbie relatively. However, this watchmaking giant disagrees. Ever since the brand introduced its introductory timepiece in 2001, the growth continues to amaze every watch enthusiast. In this blog post, discover how the Richard Mille brand grew in status and pedigree.

The Background Of Richard Mille Timepieces

The journey of the Richard Mille brand began in Draguignan, France in 1951 with the birth of the owner. By 1974, the eponymous owner, Richard Mille began a career in the watchmaking industry. Richard took up management positions in numerous watchmaking brands. Then, in the early 1990s, he got a major appointment. He became the managing director and a major shareholder in the watch arm of a distinguished French jewelry company, Mauboussin. This period would welcome the meeting and relationship between Richard Mille and Giulio Papi. In case you don’t know, Giulio Papi is one of the most gifted watchmakers in watchmaking history.  At the time, Papi was the Director of Research and Development at Audemars Piguet Renaud et Papi (APR&P). This section of Audemars Piguet is in charge of the brand’s high-end watch productions. His passion for a brand of his own began in 1999. That year, Richard Mille began plans to have his own brand of luxury timepieces.  Meanwhile, the aim for Richard Mille was crystal clear. He simply desired to change the status quo related to high-end watchmaking. He redefined that section of watchmaking attributed to a baroque style and precious stones like gold and platinum. Moreover, Richard Mille benefitted a lot from his substantial experience and multiple connections in the industry. Thanks to all of these, he established helpful partnerships with several top movement and component producers in Switzerland.

Horometrie SA

As a part of the brand’s evolution, its major legal entity, Horometrie SA launched in 2001. Richard Mille and Dominique Guenat headed this branch of the company. The headquarters was in Les Breuleux.  Note: Les Breuleux is a small village positioned at an elevation of 1,038 meters (3,406 ft) above sea level. The village is in the northwest of Switzerland. Or better still, it is in the canton of Jura. That’s a place not far from the well-known watchmaking centers (La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle). Subsequently, Audemars Piguet became a part of the project although as a minority shareholder. Right from the inception, Audemars Piguet Renaud et Papi served as the technology affiliate.  They are responsible for the production of the most complicated movements featured in the Richard Mille lineup. If you know of the movement in the tourbillons and split-seconds chronographs, they are to thank for it.

Detailed Timeline Of The Evolution Of The Richard Mille Timepieces

First off, come along as we walk through a timeline of this watchmaker’s evolution. 
  • How did the different introduction of Richard Mille timepieces change the narrative to the brand? 
  • Where did it all begin? 
  • When did the spark happen? 
  • Where is the Richard Mille brand now? 
Here is a little sneak peek. Thanks to the motive the Richard Mille brand started with, watches from the brand took a different direction. The brand applied to wristwatches the same technique and material used in the most creative sectors. For instance, you can find certain features on Richard Mille timepieces that only appear on airplanes or F1 racing cars. This explains why Richard Mille timepieces from inception continue to showcase class and quality. They are products of experimental research on high-tech elements with a unique style. These Richard Mille timepieces do not hold back in reinforcing the idea of functionality. Meanwhile, there is a better way the Richard Mille brand prefers to say all of these. And it is through the brand’s slogan. It reads: “a racing machine on the wrist”.  However, the Richard Mille brand still showed remarkable regard for the Swiss tradition of fine watchmaking. You can see this in the brand’s incredibly detailed mechanical movements, compiled and completed by hand.

2001

In 2001, Richard Mille released the first wristwatch from the brand. This release marked the beginning of a new trend in the watchmaking industry.  The first watch from Richard Mille was not an ordinary product. This was the Richard Mille RM 001. And this timepiece is a tourbillon model. The watch went on to get a place amongst the most renowned horological products.  More so, it was a limited edition with only 17 pieces produced. Afterward, there was The RM 002. This watch came in as a follow-up to the RM 002. It presented an advancement of its predecessor’s features. The RM002 came with the inclusion of a torque indicator. Then, there was the RM 003 that now featured a second-time zone.

2003

The Richard Mille brand in 2003 welcomed the RM 004 split-seconds chronograph. This watch was a natural evolution for a brand that portrayed sport in its DNA. This Richard Mille timepiece was the first of a long sequel of highly functional chronographs. Then, there was the RM 006. The first wristwatch featuring a carbon-fiber baseplate.

2004

This year marked the introduction of various models including the outstanding RM 008. This watch incorporated all the features of the RM004 chronograph. However, the watch added a tourbillon to its components. This blend was a first for the Richard Mille brand. 

2005 Onward

Richard Mille launched the first watches for ladies. These were:
  • The RM 007
  • The RM 009
Then came the RM 011, the RM 012 down to the RM 020 Tourbillon. Here, Richard Mille gave us a remake of classic pocket watches. Richard Mille continued to exemplify outstanding inventive vigor by producing numerous novelties annually. The brand hit a big milestone in 2010 with the release of the RM 027 tourbillon. This timepiece was the world’s lightest mechanical timepiece. It weighed only 19 grams in all. This RM 027 production added a new shift in 2013 with the RM 27-01. This was a model motivated by discontinued civil engineering infrastructures.

The History Of Richard Mille Timepieces: A Dive Into The Evolution Of Its Components

The first thing to note is that Richard Mille, the French founder of this eponymous brand was distinctive. He did not try to follow the blueprints of subsisting watchmakers. Instead, he took his motivation from other fields of life like motor racing and aviation. Richard Mille decided to adopt new technologies and that is obvious from his first model to his latest. The first model had a new follow-up in no time with the RM 002 Tourbillon. This vigor indicates the readiness of the Richard Mille brand to challenge the existing codes. Below, we will check out all of these distinctive components and how they evolved.
  • The Tripartite Case

The Tripartite case is a prominent feature of this watchmaking brand. This case design is rare and highly sophisticated.  The case comprises three parts. These three parts become one thanks to the abrasion-resistant washers and the grade 5 titanium spline screws. These sub-components hold them all in a tight and firm style. The Richard Mille brand makes the most of the expensive spline screws. They abandon the regular flat-head screws for this new type. This is as the spline screws can be fastened to a preset torque. Likewise, they can be withdrawn when need be. There is no worry about chewed screw-heads. In addition, the back of the tripartite case back usually comes with its peculiar and distinct contour. This contour differs from the upper part of the timepiece. Also, that ensures the best fit when worn on the wrist. The earliest releases from the Richard Mille brand all came in tonneau-shaped cases only. But, with time, changes occurred. Now, there are circular and rectangular forms featured in the company’s line. Nonetheless, the tonneau shape will remain a signatory part of the Richard Mille brand.
  • Addition Of Fresh Materials

It was a stunner when the RM 002 Tourbillon hit the watch market with a titanium base plate. This was a first in the watchmaking world.  By using this light and durable material, the remarkable inventive spirit of this young brand was out clearly. This watchmaking brand continued to serve as the lead for creativity.  Also, the brand went on to adopt base plates made of carbon nanofiber. This addition premiered in 2004 with the introduction of the RM 006 Tourbillon. These editions of Richard Mille timepieces weighed a meager 48 grams excluding the strap.  In essence, Richard Mille is obsessed with lightness. This is one theme the Richard Mille brand continually established in the past few years.
  • The Distinctive Sapphire Crystal Case

In Richard Mille timepieces, the sapphire crystal is mostly used as the window-like layout. It sits pretty above the dial of the watch.  Moreover, recently, this case has featured on the back of timepieces. It provides curious wearers with a picture of the movement inside the case. But, the introduction of the RM 056-1 Tourbillon Sapphire stunned watch lovers. The transparent case of this watch is a product of this super-hard substance.
  • Richard Mille’s Production Capacities

The facility used for production is the Horometrie SA. It is charged with the production of new products. This capacity also takes care of quality control of finished timepieces. More so, the assembly and casing of most Richard Mille timepieces take place there. Additionally, in 2013, the Richard Mille Group inaugurated a new production facility. This is the ProArt SA. This is where case production and the creation of movement parts happen.
  • Richard Mille’s Movements

Richard Mille gives special attention to the movements of its timepieces. They are always a key part of the brand’s design element.  Based on this, the Richard Mille timepieces developed a cordial working alliance with Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi. This happened in the early years of the brand’s history. Thanks to this movement specialist alliance, the brand parades the Richard Mille tourbillons and split-seconds chronographs. Another good example is the RM 007 which was the first Richard Mille’s ladies’ timepiece. This timepiece comes with a movement made by Soprod. Likewise, there are movements created by producers like Vaucher Fleurier. Furthermore, there is the oscillating mass appearing on the RM 005. This was Richard Mille’s first self-winding wristwatch. This watch came into the scene in 2004. It featured a varying geometry rotor. With that, there was the space for the inertia of the oscillating mass. Now, tuning it becomes easy for the wearer. Also, it increases the winding process for passive owners or lessens it for active customers. Most of the models featured on the Richard Mille lineup come with a function indicator. That addition allows the wearer to choose the winding (W) mode for the crown. This is a mechanism similar to that of a car gearbox. Ultimately, it improves the ease of making adjustments. Truly, Richard Mille embraces avant-garde additions and watch styles. Yet, this brand sticks to conventional Swiss watchmaking craftsmanship. Several movement components like the bridges, screws, and tourbillon cages are products of decorations and finishes by experts.
  • Durable Products

Richard Mille has an array of top-notch ambassadors for its brand. Most times, these ambassadors participate in very strenuous sports. That alone can pose a challenge. But to have a watch on while doing all of these is simply not advisable.  Nevertheless, Richard Mille intentionally reveals its offerings to the public eye in a remarkable way. The public gets to see these watches whilst they are exposed to certain harsh settings.

Conclusion: A Brand With Highly Complicated Watches

The history of Richard Mille timepieces might be short. Yet, in this short period, the brand earned for itself the pedigree it has now. This is the best brand with highly complicated watches.  The brand awareness increases thanks to the big weights the brand parades as ambassadors. These famous figures from the field of sport help the brand market their products on the biggest stage.  More so, with the creativity of this watch brand, and its use of materials and expertise, it deserves this. All of the attention, fame, and growth the brand enjoys are simply worthy rewards for the brand’s struggles. Lastly, production per year may be relatively little and the cost is often a barrier. Still, you gain exclusivity whenever you rock Richard Mille timepieces. Check out Raymond Lee Jewelers’ collection of Richard Mille timepieces now.

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