Richard Mille: Flight of fancy

In 15 years, Richard Mille has made his brand a reference in luxury watches, with a high-end positioning that’s positively stratospheric

EVEN AS a child, Richard Mille was fascinated with anything mechanical. He received his frst watch as a communion gift—and took it apart a few days later. After earning a degree in engineering, he had a stellar career in the watch industry, including a stint as CEO of Mauboussin. But by his late forties, he found himself dreaming of total freedom. “When I launched my brand,” he recounts, “I used my own name because I didn’t have any other ideas.” In 2001, without knowing it, he laid the foundations of a new millennium in watchmaking. His frst model, a tourbillon watch called the RM 001 and priced at €200,000, defed the norms with its futuristic barrel-like shape and high-tech look. Even the most traditionalist of collectors took notice.

“The RM 001 represents the symbiosis of my love for all things mechanical,” Mille explains. The performance of a racecar, materials borrowed from the aerospace industry, a movement designed like an engine… It was an instant success. Today the brand’s collection comprises some 60 models with an average price of about €170,000, sold all over the world through 30 exclusive shops and some 100 authorized outlets. Not content to rest on his laurels, today Mille is offering a new creation, a timepiece that takes luxury to new extremes. Conceived with the help of Airbus designer Sylvain Mariat, the RM 50-02 ACJ is a tourbillon plus a split-second chronometer with the styling of a private jet. And the price to match: just over a million euros.