Swiss watch manufacturer Richard Mille opened its largest boutique in the world this month, in New York City. Located at 46 East 57th Street, in the heart of Manhattan, the 4,200-square-foot flagship becomes the ninth Richard Mille boutique in the Americas. A two-story oasis of sleek contemporary design, bathed in abundant natural light, the boutique represents a new architectural standard for the luxury brand.
“From the company’s earliest days, a standalone boutique in New York City has been a top objective for me,” says Richard Mille, founder and CEO of the company. “But I am never one to rush a project if it isn’t perfect. For New York, where the boutique is an important showcase with global visibility, it was well worth waiting for just the right location, and the right space.”
Mr. Mille and John Simonian, CEO of Richard Mille Americas, started the search for the ideal boutique location in New York a decade ago. As it turned out, the property they ultimately selected did not even exist 10 years ago. Today, the New York flagship resides on a stretch of 57th Street that has since gained the moniker “Billionaire’s Row,” thanks to the development of ultra-luxury residential skyscrapers in the vicinity.
The extreme technicity and artistry that defines Richard Mille timepieces is also evident in every element of the boutique, starting with the 30-foot-high glass façade that is visible a city block away. The two-story transparent wall is illuminated by 156 feet of LED lights, to create a glowing presence at the foundation of the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere. Twenty-four massive panels of glass—totaling 37,000 pounds—are individually engraved and arranged three-deep to form an ethereal sculpture based on Richard Mille’s RM 008 Tourbillon movement. Itself an engineering feat, the façade required the development of metal cladding that could hold the panels in place, including 13 tons of glass suspended from the ceiling.
Inside the boutique, visitors enter a phalanx of individual vitrines, each displaying a masterpiece from the collection that together illustrate the history, and breadth, of the Richard Mille universe. Cracked glass louvers, black leather wall coverings secured with zippers, plush white carpet, Macassar and glass showcases create a powerful yet comfortable setting for discovering the timepieces. A custom elevator in the center of the store delivers visitors to the mezzanine level. Like Richard Mille watches, the elevator’s cab and shaft are transparent to allow a full view of the machine at work and the fine details of each part inside. Encased in curved, three-layer glass panels with metal cladding that is brushed, polished and chamfered in the manner of a Richard Mille case, the illuminated elevator creates the illusion of a floating capsule.
A mid-floor bar, VIP consultation rooms, displays of the collection’s ladies and automatic timepieces, and a lounge overlooking 57th Street create the ideal milieu for enjoying the Richard Mille lifestyle on the boutique’s mezzanine level. The New York boutique was designed by Richard Mille’s Paris-based in-house team, and constructed by New York-based TPG Architecture, and Viridis of Norwalk, Connecticut. The Richard Mille New York City boutique is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. +1-212-419-8888.