Watches: Richard Mille 2014 Collection

By Thierry Ané on January 29, 2014

Richard Mille is definitely a brand like no others. They got rid of all the guidelines of traditional Haute Horology and never hesitate to create colourful timepieces crafted in materials unknown to the most seasoned engineers. Forget the safe round 38 to 40 mm case produced in every hue of gold, forget the usual “Côtes de Genève” decorations or the conventional silver opaline dials… and welcome futuristic watches full of technology and fun to look at and to wear. If you add the stratospheric prices everyone (even non watch aficionados) has heard of, you have all the ingredients to create a legendary brand! No wonder so many watch enthusiasts look forward to discovering the brand’s novelties every year. Here is a selection of what this creative brand had to offer at this year’s SIHH.

RM 035-01 Rafael Nadal NTPT Carbon

The partnership between Richard Mille and Rafael Nadal is certainly the most fruitful so far for the brand. From the RM 027 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal, to the RM 035 Rafael Nadal Chronofiable Certified, to the RM 027-01 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal, what these timepieces have in common is their dark colour and extreme lightness. Both qualities are required by Rafael Nadal in order to wear the watches while playing tennis. He is, by the way, the first of many athletes (all disciplines included) to have worn a timepiece during tournaments. And the fad has now spread: just look at the wrist of his latest opponent during the Australian Open final…

In line with Nadal’s specifications the new RM 035-01 Rafael Nadal NTPT Carbon is also black but features a carbon case which uses the NTPT technology developed by the brand. Obtained with several layers of parallel carbon filaments, it is characterised by its extreme rigidity and lightness. Undulating shapes like the surface of the damask steel also make it aesthetically unique.

Inside this RM 035-01 beats the skeleton manual winding RMUL3 calibre. Mainly produced in grade 5 black PVD titanium, this movement weighs a mere 4 grams. It obviously incorporates many of Richard Mile’s technical breakthroughs and indicates the hours, minutes and seconds.

RM 061-01 Yohan Blake

The collaboration between Richard Mille and Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake got off to a great start last year with the surprising RM 059-01 Yohan Blake. Its intriguing case made of translucent composite with injected carbon nanotubes was the centre of all watch discussions in the hallways of Palexpo at last year’s SIHH. So were the four flying bridges painted in the colours of Blake’s homeland. Looking like claws on the movement, they represented the perfect nod to Blake’s nickname: the “beast”.

This year’s RM 061-01 Yohan Blake retains this metaphor albeit toned down. Indeed, the asymmetrical tonneau case puts on a more conventional black colour and the watch features only two coloured bridges. Even the strap is now black instead of bright green.

The timepiece remains very technical tough: the bezel and back are created from TZP, an ultra-tough black ceramic material that is also very light and that does not conduct heat. The caseband is made of the same NTPT carbon as the first model we discussed.

Inside the case, no tourbillon this time: the RMUL2 calibre that powers this watch is a simple three-hand manually-wound movement with a power reserve of 55 hours. However, built in grade 5 black PVD titanium and Titalyt, this skeletonized movement boast an exceptional impact resistance with tests carried out in excess of 5,000 G’s. No doubt it will sustain Yohan Blake’s accelerations during his next 100-metre or 200-metre sprint race.

The RM 061-01 Yohan Blake will retail for $120,000.

RM 050-01 Lotus F1 Team Romain Grosjean

The RM 050-01 Lotus F1 Team Romain Grosjean is the result of a partnership with the Lotus F1 Team forged last year and the watch is more specifically dedicated to one of the team drivers, Romain Grosjean. With colours reflecting the Lotus F1 Team, I believe that in terms of design it is the most beautiful model of the year for the brand.

The bezel and case back of this 50.00 x 42.70 mm watch are manufactured in NTPT carbon which is decidedly the material of the year for Richard Mille. The piece comes with a choice of case band in 5N red gold or NTPT carbon. I personally think that the red gold brings a most welcome contrast with the NTPT carbon. The case is secured to the wrist by a beautiful red rubber strap.

This stunning case hides a remarkable manually-wound tourbillon chronograph movement. The RM50-01 calibre also features the useful mode display function (Winding, Neutral or Hour Setting) also found on many Richard Mille models as well as a G-force indicator that occupies most of the upper part of the sapphire dial.

Only 30 watches will be produced and each comes with a hand-crafted 1/5th scale model of the 2014 Lotus F1 racing car. For now, we have no price indication.

RM 036-01 Competition G-Sensor System Sebastien Loeb

If the quality of the watches bearing his name is in any way an accurate indicator of an athlete’s fame and achievements, one has to admit that French rally driver Sébastien Loeb has come a long way since 2012! Indeed, the Marvin Sébastien Loeb Chronograph released back then is absolutely no match for the sensational RM 036-01 Competition G-Sensor System Sebastien Loeb timepiece unveiled this year by Richard Mille.

Granted, every single timepiece from this ultra high-end brand is exceptional. Every year, however, one stands out as THE talking piece of the exhibition. With its futuristic look due to a protruding pusher placed right in the middle of the dial and its TZP brown ceramic bezel, the RM 036-01 Competition G-Sensor System Sebastien Loeb stole the show this year.

Remarkable in many respects, this huge 50 mm watch, manufactured in titanium, is powered by the equally impressive RM036-01 calibre. With a power reserve of 70 hours, this manually-wound movement features hours and minutes (respectively indicated by unusual red and yellow hands), a tourbillon at 6 o’clock, Richard Mille’s mode display function, and a G-force indicator able to withstand up to 6G so that the watch can actually be worn during a race.

Limited to 30 pieces, this stunning timepiece will retail at an equally stunning price tag of $625,000.

RM 060-01 Flyback Chronograph Regatta

If you are like me and appreciate the big round models from Richard Mille, you will like the RM 060-01 Flyback Chronograph Regatta: it is the very first technical nautical watch unveiled by the brand.

In its 50 mm titanium case, water resistant to 10 ATM, the watch boasts the complex RMAC2 calibre. In addition to displaying the time of the day, this automatic movement with a variable inertia balance features an annual calendar with a large date and month by windows, a flyback chronograph, a running indicator, a countdown and a UTC function, as well as an adjustable rotor.

The watch looks fantastic in person even though its dial is a little crowded for my tastes. If you are interested, the RM 060-01 Flyback Chronograph Regatta can be yours for $155,000.

RM 063-01 Dizzy Hands

Never say never! In all the interviews of Richard Mille I have ever read or heard, the man clearly explained that his watch philosophy was that complications have to be useful to have their place in a timepiece. He explained that for this reason, a minute repeater for instance, was not an option for a Richard Mille watch…

… Well, it seems that he has changed his mind since the brand introduces its very first “poetic complication” this year!

Like Franck Muller’s Crazy Hours 10th Anniversary Limited Edition, Hublot’s Masterpiece MP-02 Key of Time Marcus or the Arceau Le Temps Suspendu by Hermès, the raison d’être of the RM 063-01 Dizzy Hands watch is to free us from the inescapable passage of time.

To this end, the automatic CRMA3 calibre reinvents principles taken from chronograph designs to separate the hour and minute functions. Indeed, the RM 063-01 Dizzy Hands watch keeps and displays time normally until the pusher placed in the centre of the crown is pressed. The sapphire dial with the Arabic numerals begins to rotate counter-clockwise while the hour hand continues to move clockwise. Both of them rotate at a different speed so that the indications on the dial make no sense.

Obviously the calibre keeps track of the actual time and when the pusher in the crown is pressed again, the sapphire disc and the hour hand go back to their correct position so that the actual time can be read.

Richard Mille decided to place this poetic movement into a round 42.70 mm case made of red gold for the bezel and back and of titanium for the case band.

The retail price for this model has been set to $120,000.

In addition to these six men’s watches, the brand introduced four women’s models. I will probably discuss the most interesting two in a forthcoming article. Unfortunately, we don’t have live pictures to show you since the brand has decided they don’t want the press to take pictures at the SIHH!