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Richard Mille: Exclusive High-Tech Watches
Richard Mille watches are technical masterpieces. Thanks to state-of-the-art materials, they are nearly indestructible. Their exclusive, futuristic designs make them the perfect choice for any watch lover looking for something outside the box.
This page contains information about:
- 21st-Century Haute Horlogerie
- Prices: Richard Mille Watches
- How much do Richard Mille watches cost?
- RM 65-01 Split-Seconds Chronograph
- Prices for the RM 002 and RM 003
- The RM 004 and RM 005
- The RM 011 for Massa & Mancini
- Richard Mille and Rafael Nadal
- RM 52-05 Pharrell Williams
- Richard Mille in Other Shapes
- The History of Richard Mille
Haute Horlogerie for the 21st Century
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.
As of 2021, Richard Mille maintains relationships with the Ferrari and McLaren Formula 1 racing teams. For example, Mick Schumacher (Ferrari) wears an RM 003, while McLaren's Lando Norris sports an RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph. Elsewhere in the sports world, tennis legend Rafael Nadal has made headlines by wearing his Richard Mille watches during matches. Whether it's the extreme conditions on the F1 race track or the force of Nadal's backhand, timepieces from Richard Mille are more than up to the task.
Richard Mille also supports the arts by teaming up with extraordinary musicians, composers, and actors. For example, in 2019, the company partnered with Pharrell Williams to create the limited-edition RM 52-05. Only 30 copies exist of this timepiece, which celebrates Williams' fascination with the cosmos. At its release, this watch had an official list price of 969,000 USD.
Fans of bright colors will enjoy the watches in the Bonbon collection. Each of the ten models feels like walking into a candy store. You'll find watches with swirling licorice, lollipops, marshmallows, and more!
Reasons to Buy a Richard Mille Watch
- State-of-the-art in-house calibers with a tourbillon, chronograph, or GMT function
- Extremely light and robust thanks to revolutionary materials
- Exclusive special editions with the potential to increase in value
- Unique, futuristic designs
- High prestige and iconic designs
Prices at a Glance: Richard Mille Watches
|Model||Price (approx.)||Case material|
|RM 033||80,500 USD||Rose gold|
|RM 005||122,000 USD||Titanium|
|RM 16-01 Bonbon||215,000 USD||Quartz TPT/carbon TPT|
|RM 011 Felipe Massa||244,000 USD||Rose gold|
|RM 67-02 Automatic Wayde van Niekerk||287,000 USD||Quartz TPT/carbon TPT|
|RM 055 Bubba Watson||390,000 USD||Ceramic|
|RM 11-03||405,000 USD||Rose gold|
|RM 27-03 Rafael Nadal||774,000 USD||Quartz TPT/carbon TPT|
|RM 052 Skull||1.14 million USD||Titanium|
How much do Richard Mille watches cost?
Prices for Richard Mille watches largely depend on the materials used and the movement's functions. One entry-level model is the rose gold RM 033. This timepiece is extremely flat and, unlike the vast majority of the brand's catalog, is round. You can call this time-only watch your own for about 80,500 USD.
Versions made from unusual materials like quartz TPT and carbon TPT demand significantly more. The time-only RM 67-02 Automatic Wayde van Niekerk uses both materials and costs around 287,000 USD.
Expect to pay significantly more for a timepiece that combines exclusive materials with extraordinary complications. For example, the RM 052 Skull houses a tourbillon in its rose gold case. Its baseplate and bridges are titanium and shaped like a human skull. You can call this unique Richard Mille creation your own for roughly 1.14 million USD.
The RM 65-01 With a Split-Seconds Chronograph
One of the latest additions to the Richard Mille catalog is the RM 65-01 Automatic Split-Seconds Chronograph. This watch's case measures 50 x 44.5 mm and is made of carbon TPT – a favorite material of Richard Mille. Its power comes from the skeletonized automatic caliber RMAC4 with a split-seconds chronograph for timing intervals. One of this watch's most unique features is its rapid winding mechanism, which enables the wearer to wind the movement with a few quick pushes of a button on the case's left side if they haven't worn their watch in a while.
The crown is equally inventive and practical. It comes with an integrated pusher, which you can use to switch between and set the winding, date, and time functions without ever having to pull the crown out.
Rolex offers the RM 65-01 in carbon TPT or a combination of gold and carbon TPT. While this watch officially retails for 310,000 USD, it demands much higher prices on Chrono24.
About the RM 002 and RM 003
After the success of the RM 001 prototype, of which the manufacturer only ever produced 17 copies, Richard Mille released their first watch to enter series production later in 2001: the RM 002. Its distinctive barrel-shaped case measures 45 x 38.5 mm and is available in rose or white gold. The domed sapphire crystal functions as a dial while also offering an unimpeded view of the skeletonized movement below. The manual in-house caliber features a power reserve indicator at 10:30 and 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" for 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 carbon. Depending on their condition, these watches cost between 365,000 and 490,000 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 crystal 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. As of spring 2021, this reference was selling for about 975,000 USD.
RM 004 and RM 005: Split-Seconds Chronograph and Time-Only
While the RM 004 lacks a tourbillon, it more than makes up for it with a high-precision split-seconds 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 a mint-condition model sit around 268,000 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 rose gold or titanium and requires a relatively modest investment of roughly 122,000 USD.
The RM 011: For Felipe Massa and Roberto Mancini
Former Formula 1 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 baseplate and features Richard Mille's variable geometry rotor. You can view this movement and its rotor at work through the sapphire crystal 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 158,000 and 244,000 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 soccer 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 122,000 to 244,000 USD on hand to purchase one of these timepieces.
In late 2019, Richard Mille introduced the RM 11-04Automatic Flyback Chronograph Roberto Mancini. While it uses the same materials as the previous Mancini model, it combines the colors of the Italian flag with the shade of blue worn by the country's national team, also known as the "Azzurri." The manufacturer equips this model with the automatic in-house caliber RMAC3, which has a flyback chronograph, an annual calendar, and an oversized date. This model sells for well over 600,000 USD on Chrono24.
Robust: Rafael Nadal RM 035, RM 27-03, and RM 27-04
Rafael Nadal rarely steps onto the tennis court without a Richard Mille timepiece on his wrist. For over a decade, the Swiss manufacturer has been working closely with the tennis star to produce extraordinary watches, including the RM 035 and RM 27-03. The former is a three-hand watch and 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 244,000 USD. The two-hand RM 27-03 stands 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 774,000 USD.
Nadal's most recent watch of choice is the RM 27-04, which debuted in September 2020. This 47.25 x 38.4-mm timepiece is truly extraordinary. The manufacturer crafts the case from a brand new material called "TitaCarb." This robust polyamide features up to 38.5% carbon fiber and has a tensile strength of 370 MPa. It also has a high resistance to heat and humidity – both important for life on the tennis court. However, perhaps the most remarkable thing about this watch is its cable-suspension mechanism that crisscrosses the dial like the strings of a tennis racket – an effect enhanced by the use of sapphire crystal on the front and back. The cable itself is only 0.27 thick and supports the entire caliber, including its tourbillon and free-sprung balance, via five gold PVD-coated titanium hooks. This watch also improves upon its predecessor's acceleration resistance and can withstand up to 12,000 g's. Unsurprisingly, this model is the most expensive Nadal watch to date, with an official price of 1.05 million USD.
RM 52-05 Tourbillon Pharrell Williams
The Richard Mille RM 52-05 Tourbillon Pharrell Williams is another unique timepiece for anyone with over 1 million USD to spare. While Williams is perhaps best known as a singer, producer, and fashion designer, this watch looks to the cosmos for its inspiration. Its dial and case are a colorful mix of premium materials. For example, the case is made of highly robust brown Cermet, which is as light as titanium and as scratch resistant as ceramic with a hardness of 1,200 vickers. That makes Cermet about six times harder than diamond.
The dial depicts a Martian landscape reflecting off an astronaut's helmet. The helmet itself is titanium, while the alien planet is comprised of layers of enamel. Richard Mille uses diamonds and titanium for the dial's other elements. The manual caliber RM 52-05 is the model's beating heart. This movement features a tourbillon and 42-hour power reserve. While this limited-edition watch may be lightweight, its price is anything but. If you hope to get your hands on one of the 30 existing copies, be prepared to spend roughly 1.22 million USD.
Round and Rectangular Richard Mille Watches
Richard Mille also crafts round and rectangular timepieces. The same amount of technical finesse and care goes into choosing the right materials and finishes for these models 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 timepiece is a diving watch through and through. Furthermore, it boasts a chronograph function and 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 baseplate is comprised of carbon fibers. Plan to spend around 329,000 USD on this watch in very good condition.
In early 2020, Richard Mille introduced another round model, the RM 33-02. While its case is rose gold, the manufacturer crafts its bezel and case back out of carbon TPT. Its automatic caliber, the RMXP1, is exceptionally flat at only 2.6 mm thick. This skeletonized movement comes with a titanium micro-rotor. The manufacturer has limited this watch to a run of 140 pieces and pairs it with a black rubber strap. The RM 33-02 sells for around 183,000 USD on Chrono24.
The RM 016 With a Rectangular Case
At the other end of the spectrum, you'll find the rectangular RM 016. This model uses the especially flat automatic caliber RMAS7. It accurately displays the hour and minutes and has a date window at 7 o'clock. The case is available in your choice of titanium, rose gold, or white gold. Some versions even feature diamonds. Prices vary by edition 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 hues and dials dotted with lollipops, licorice, and other sweet treats. These watches are strictly limited in number and cost roughly 213,000 USD new.
The History of Richard Mille
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. Today, these watches are among the most exclusive the industry has to offer.