24 May, 2017
A passion for the ultimate mechanical challenge
In just 15-years, Richard Mille and his team have created an incredible brand that keeps pushing the limits of haute horology and along with his engineers create increasingly intricate, innovative and elaborate pieces of horology
Richard Mille’s rail-thin silhouette is clad in a tailored leather jacket and skintight pants, bare-foot in his stylish loafers the French man is all smiles. Unperturbed by the commotion around him and paying no attention to the gawking crowd, Richard greets me cordially. A true gentleman he shows no impatience, it is as if, somewhat ironically given his field of expertise, time is not of the essence. We met several years ago and reminisce about those early days, when the brand was only five years old. In August 2006, Perini Navi launched the S/Y Maltese Falcon at La Spezia, and as guests of the Perini yard, we shared some great moments with Richard and his family.
The yacht was formally christened on that summer evening before a glorious dinner under the stars. During the short informal ceremony, Richard presented Fabio Perini, founder of the Superyacht shipyard with one of his creations. The next day was spent at sea with a cruise aboard the mighty squarerigged three mast modern schooner, on a gorgeous windy day on the Med. It was all fun under the sun in good company. Richard Mille enjoys sailing but his true love is car racing. ‘I’m more into classic motorcar racing, but I find sailing very elegant. It’s very demanding. But what is important is I can develop watches that can face the limits!’ Thanks to the partnership with McLaren-Honda Richard Mille timepieces grace the wrists of the team’s world champion drivers; Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. ‘The McLaren brand has existed at the very pinnacle of Formula 1 racing for 50-years, and its reputation for continual technical innovation, painstaking attention to detail and race-winning success perfectly matches the philosophy of the Richard Mille brand.’ The first watch to carry Richard Mille’s name, the RM 001 Tourbillon, launched the millennium, literally as well as figuratively: the year was 2001, and the model marked the beginning of a new era in watchmaking. Today, the collection’s more than thirty models point resolutely towards the future, while holding steadfast to the time-honored traditions of fine watchmaking. From the very inception of the brand, Richard Mille endeavored to apply the techniques and materials found in the most innovative sectors–such as in the domains of F1 racing car development and the aerospace industry–to watchmaking, with the goal of creating extreme timepieces, without compromise, without gimmicks. Born and raised in the South of France, Richard Mille traveled to Great Britain at the age of twenty, spending one year there learning English, after which he was admitted to the Besançon School of Technology to study marketing.
U 1990-ima počeo je raditi za draguljarsku kuću Mauboussin s ekskluzivnom adresom na pariškom Place Vendôme. S godinama je stekao obilje iskustva i postao važan dio kreativnog procesa na odjelu urarstva, no stekao je i mnoga važna poznanstva. Umjetnik u duši, tada direktor Mille je nakon nekog vremena shvatio da mu korporativna ograničenja – poput troškova izrade ili strategije brenda – ne ostavljaju dovoljno prostora za izražavanje kreativnosti. S navršenih pedeset godina odvažio se na stvaranje vlastita brenda i kao misiju si je zadao pomicanje granica urarstva i stvaranje satova za 21. stoljeće. U početku je želio stvoriti samo jedan model, savršeni sat svojih snova, i nije želio štedjeti. Troškovi stvaranja modela RM 001 uistinu su bili golemi, a model dotad nepoznate kuće po cijeni od 200.000 eura smjestio se u sam vrh ponude te godine i nitko nije očekivao prevelik uspjeh. Tek što je predstavljen, prodan je u nekoliko stotina primjeraka. Postao je predmet obožavanja preko noći. Danas je brend Richard Mille točno ondje gdje ga je Richard želio vidjeti: u vrhu urarstva.