Aside from quality, it’s safe to say Richard Mille is the antithesis of everything Swiss watchmaking stands for.
While other brands develop timeless understated classics, Richard Mille watches are in-your-face modern pieces designed to be noticed.
However, that’s really no surprise if you get to know the story about the brand, its values, and how it came to fruition.
Richard Mille History
Named after its founder, Richard Mille SA is a recent development, launching in 1999.
Mille is a Frenchman and he is, by trade, a marketer. He got into the business in 1974 working for a local watchmaker and by virtue of buyouts and parent companies, came to work for Seiko.
His years in the industry fueled him and eventually, he decided simply marketing timepieces wasn’t enough. He needed to be creating his own.
At the age of 50, he partnered with Valgine Watches CEO Dominique Guenat and collaborated with Audemars Piguet to launch his Switzerland-based company. His first piece hit the market two years later.
What Makes Richard Mille Watches Distinct
Unlike other watchmakers which have a long lineage and brand image to maintain, designs by Richard Mille are more or less wherever his imagination has taken him.
Being a luxury enthusiast himself, Mille is drawn to the fast lane, and as such, pieces are typically inspired by jets, sports cars, and boats.
He also isn’t interested in appealing to the masses.
Richard Mille got into the business expecting very few of his timepieces to sell, purely because they would only appeal to a select demographic.
Interestingly, that mentality and creating pieces with no regard to who might purchase them resulted in an impressively unique DNA that was, in fact, well-received by the masses.
His company became a resounding success quickly.
The founder isn’t put off by expense.
For Mille, it’s about creating something that speaks to him, no matter what the final cost of the timepiece may be.
That sometimes means his pieces cost millions to create. He prefers materials like titanium and gold for his cases, then adds in quartz and carbon for good measure.
Most of his timepieces include a tourbillion, or rotating cage, which negates the impact gravity might otherwise have on accuracy.
Although the word is often thrown around frequently in luxury watchmaking, it’s actually an impressive feat—a true mark of expert mechanical craftsmanship.
The thought of putting a timepiece worth half-a-million on the wrist of an athlete while he performs is unconscionable to many.
The potential for damage and loss of the investment would be too great. Not so for Richard Mille.
When he partners with athletes, his only requirement is that they wear the timepiece during their sport.
Tennis star Rafael Nadal has broken several this way, yet Mille is grateful for this.
He believes it gives him the opportunity to study his own timepieces under real-world scenarios, so he can correct any defects that might cause his timepieces to fail.
While most of us won’t ever put a luxury timepiece through what tennis players like Nadal and others, such as Formula One drivers, golfers, and sprinters might, his willingness to put his pieces through these tests not only shows confidence, but is a testament to the durability of Richard Mille watches.
Popular Richard Mille Watches and Pricing
To be blunt, Richard Mille watches are not for those concerned about pricing.
His entry-level pieces start at about $90,000 new.
That being said, some of the less-expensive models do lose considerable value with the first owner and can sometimes be picked up on the resale market for less than half that.
Not all pieces made by the brand are this way, though.
Once you get into the brand’s middle tier, or are able to invest half-a-million in a rarer new piece, the resale value soars.
The RM001 was the first piece sold by the brand. Models sold today are much the same as original, though a torque indicator has been added.
Richard Mille saw this as an opportunity to show the world what the brand would be about, and it is unlike anything else on the market.
The RM001 brings together materials like titanium and ceramics for superior durability, while including a tourbillion and shock-resilience mechanisms to improve performance.
The case is bold and barrel-shaped, offering a full view of the timepiece’s mechanical components from the front and back.
The RM 008 is probably the most popular model. While it has the same shape and similar design features to the RM 001, it’s one of the most advanced pieces on the market today.
Additional complications include a chronograph split-seconds and power reserve indicator.
The RM 056 combines the precision and craftsmanship of the other two models with a new trait—a completely transparent case milled from solid blocks of sapphire.
This was a major milestone for the brand and made watchmaking history, as it was the first-ever of its kind.
Find Your Favorite Richard Mille Timepieces on Value Your Watch
If you’re in the market for a pre-owned luxury timepiece of this caliber, how the marketplace treats the seller matters immensely to you.
Unlike Value Your Watch, which gives sellers a flat membership fee, others charge a percentage of the piece.
When it comes to serious luxury brands, this means the seller is out hundreds or thousands of dollars.
To compensate for this, they raise their prices, meaning you, the buyer, pay more than you should.
We’re watch enthusiasts who are always changing up our own personal collections and realized traditional marketplaces were not making the process as easy or transparent as it should be, so we created Value Your Watch—a site created by and for people just like you. Explore our Richard Mille watches for sale, search all brands, or list your timepiece now.
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