The first wristwatch model from Richard Mille, the RM 001, was presented at the beginning of the new millennium. In a literal as well as figurative sense, this first new model, the harbinger of several to follow in the ensuing years, was consciously meant to serve as a landmark wristwatch, an embodiment of concepts that could delineate a vision of 21st century watchmaking. Within a short span of time, the words ‘futuristic’, ‘daring,’ ‘high tech’ and ‘cutting edge’ soon became the keywords used by the public and press alike when attempting to decipher the emotional attraction that all the elements built into the RM 001 evoked.
Real technological concepts and materials from the world of Formula 1 racing car technology were behind the realization of that first RM 001 tourbillon and all that followed. In it, the basic, no nonsense, no frills approach for a continually growing series of watches was crystallized. It represents the embodiment of Richard Mille’s passion for the world of F1 and the technological resources that power it. Whether car or wristwatch, both are machines with similar rules regarding functioning, accuracy and reliability. Each part, whether it is a case, screw, bridge, wheel, lever, spring, baseplate or balance wheel must fulfill its task with a wide margin of security and resistance to shocks and stress exactly as an F1 racing car requires. All these parts, must be developed in a coherent totality, just as in racing car where chassis, engine, steering and transmission are all developed to function at an optimum level together. The quest for perfection involves the balancing of all these options, proportions and aspects into an integrated result. For this reason no standard parts will be found in a Richard Mille watch, since it is the concept that defines the components, not the components that define the watch.
The technologies of the automotive and aerospace industries are all being strongly influenced by new materials with each passing year. New metallic and non-metallic alloys, ceramics, carbon nanofiber, silicium and many more materials are no longer seen as materials of only of these industries; they offer the world of watchmaking tremendous possibilities and superior technical solutions to those who are willing to accept the challenges they present for watchmaking in the 21st century.
In all models, everything is manufactured and structured in a way that makes even those uninitiated into the RM magic sense and feel the tingle of technological thrill on their wrist. His personal and passionate view is that each screw, gear, lever and spring must fulfill its task with a wide margin of security and accuracy, exactly as racing car would require. (Even the highly visible, trademark titanium bolts that hold the cases of his watches together took months of development and a king’s ransom to produce, each requiring more than 20 different production steps). High tech materials such as the difficult to cut and machine titanium, ARCAP, steel, carbon nanofiber are used wherever possible, and research into other experimental materials has led to the production of the amazing ALUSIC RM009 and the prize winning RM012 with its architectural construction of Phynox tubes. These watches are constructed with a definitive view of 21st century watchmaking, and Richard Mille has neither time nor patience as regards convention or standard practice in achieving those results. He’s a visionary, a man with a mission, out to make what he considers to be the perfect timepiece. In this case, not just one watch, but a continually growing series, each possessing a particular and new technical concept, material, or mechanical development.