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The RM 001 Tourbillon, the first watch ever to bear the Replica Richard Mille name, literally and figuratively launched the millennium: the year was 2001, and the model marked the beginning of a new era in watchmaking. Today, the collection’s more than eighty models point resolutely towards the future, whilst holding steadfast to the time-honoured traditions of fine watchmaking.
Like that landmark watch, the RM 001, Richard Mille’s success is a product of three crucial elements: the best of cutting edge innovative technology, a strong artistic and architectural dimension, and watches designed to be robust and easy to use, yet also highly sophisticated. Each piece is finished and assembled by hand, reflecting the very best in Haute Horlogerie. A watch designed by Richard Mille is characterised by the absence of superfluity. Just as we find in today’s high-speed racing cars, function dictates form; there is neither use nor room for an approach driven solely by aesthetics. For the brand, every pinion, lever and spring must fulfil its mission, meeting the highest standards of security and precision.
This conviction is manifest not only visually, but in every design choice at every phase of production. Even the famous spline screws, highly visible on the watchcase exterior and used throughout the movement, are the outcome of months of study and investment. Each screw, for instance, requires more than 20 operations to manufacture. Every model includes innovative developments inspired by the latest technological breakthroughs. The quest for perfection is a matter of balancing all possible features and options. This is precisely why there are virtually no standard pieces in a Richard Mille watch. The concept defines the components, the components do not define the watch.
As a result of research conducted in the world of technology and the methods applied to address the forces at play on the racetrack, Richard Mille’s watches have undergone improvements in baseplate rigidity, in the energy transmission of the going train gear teeth, and the addition of greater flexibility to specific parts of the movement, providing supplementary shock resistance. The creation of a timepiece demands a balancing act between total volume, the physical requirements of the movement and its specific features, however, the user’s comfort is equally essential.
This was at the heart of the original tonneau shape developed by Richard Mille at the brand’s beginning. Regardless of whether a particular RM model is slim or massive, its shape ensures optimal comfort, never interfering with the owner’s physical movements. The first ever Richard Mille watches were born of experimental research on innovative materials. Many viewed this choice as an especially risky wager. Thanks to relentless R&D, hard work and perseverance, the brand distinguished itself, reinventing the concept of watchmaking mechanicals. Whereas domains as diverse as aviation, the automotive industry and telecommunications were quick to embrace technological change, horology took refuge in a conservatism founded on techniques handed down through centuries, and materials belonging to a bygone era.
For as long as collectors maintained that the value of a watch was intrinsically dependant on the weight it added to the wrist and the nobility of the metal employed, gold made perfect sense. But Cheapest Richard Mille, with his ever-lighter ever-higher performance materials, quickly demolished this long-standing perception.