Timepieces rarely buck conventions and stick out from the crowd. Instead, they often opt for tried and true styles and differentiate themselves with craftsmanship and branding. What you might find if you covered up the brand names of a dozen watches is that you could only match a few of them to their correct company. That conclusion wouldn’t apply to the most enthusiastic collectors, but it would to most. One brand that is instantly recognizable is Richard Mille.
Richard Mille is a company that crafts their timepieces with an aesthetic that is entirely different than every mainstream brand on the market. Once you dive into the watches, you find that each of them has excellent craftsmanship too. Ultimately, you might not love these watches because they’re very different. No matter what though, Richard Mille is one of the more unique companies in the luxury watch space. I explain why in the following passages.
The first thing that makes Richard Mille unique is the age of the brand. While many of the biggest companies in horology are 200 or 300 years old, this one was started is 2001. Even Hublot, which is considered a young brand, was born was 1980. The fact that Richard Mille has been around for less than two decades is a distinct trait. Of course, that wouldn’t mean anything without some esteem and respect for the brand. What makes it truly surprising is how popular and widespread these timepieces are, despite the company being relatively new.
What this brand’s founder sought to do was combine two seemingly opposing ideas. The first was the elegance and skill of Swiss watch manufacturers. This pursuit came naturally to him because he had worked in the timepiece industry since 1974. The second was the flash and high-performance aspects of race cars and airplanes.
Essentially, he wanted to create pieces that were powerful, eye-catching, and had well-built machinery on the inside. Around twenty years later, most can agree that Mille did what he set out to do.
3: A Home Run on Their First Try
Many watch collectors consider the tourbillon complication to be the pinnacle of craftsmanship. Not only are they incredibly hard to build, but their prices tend to be very high as well. As you might imagine, most manufacturers wouldn’t try to incorporate this complication in their first ever piece, but that’s precisely what Richard Mille did. That decision was a success by all accounts.
In the opening paragraph, I talked about how easy it would be to pick a Richard Mille watch out of a lineup. The reason is that they have a very distinct and polarizing look. The following aesthetic features are what make them so unique:
- Size – Almost every Richard Mille piece is quite large in every direction. That means tall, wide, and thick. Some love this look, while others dislike it and prefer smaller pieces.
- Skeleton – Nearly every watch from this brand is a skeleton watch. This design is one that very few luxury brands choose, and if they do, only for a couple of models.
- Shape – While Richard Mille now has a few circular pieces, the vast majority of them feature a strange shape that is a bit hard to describe. I might call it a vertical rectangle with rounded sides, though you should look at it for yourself.
If you’re sold on Richard Mille and want one for yourself, you might not want to take out your credit card just yet. The reason is that these pieces are some of the most expensive options on the market. I’ll save you the trouble of searching their prices, as I just did myself. A preliminary look yielded the cheapest option being around $82,000 and the more expensive ones well into the millions. Simply put, most collectors will not be able to afford these timepieces.
6: Celebrity Appeal
Celebrities wearing timepieces can be confusing, as many of them are paid ambassadors for certain brands. That being said, I can proclaim the following list of stars as unpaid Richard Mille fans, and do so with a high degree of confidence. They include Kanye West, Ed Sheeran, Neymar, Kevin Hart, and many more.
So, should you add a Richard Mille piece to your collection? The gatekeeper here is, of course, the price. This brand’s watches generally sell for $80,000 or more, with the most expensive of them entering the millions. Still, if you are the kind of consumer who can afford such a luxurious timepiece, your decision will most likely come down to the aesthetics and general vibe of this brand. While some will enjoy the novel, industrial look of them, others will crave a more classic style. No matter how you feel, this brand is truly unique and has a loyal fan base among the upper crust of society.