The talented, multi award-winning singer, songwriter and producer has long been a friend of the brand, sporting many of its iconic timepieces. And when Richard Mille suggested they work together on the first watch to bear his name, Pharrell looked deep into his childhood for inspiration.
‘I’ve always been fascinated by looking up at the sky. What could be more inspiring than all that ever was and all that ever will be? Space, before your eyes. It’s yours to see. It was here before the Earth, before this Solar System. It’ll be here after us and nothing’s more meaningful than that. When I look up at the sky I’m looking at God. I feel part of so many different parts of a whole. This is the Alpha and the Omega.’
The word Pharrell uses to describe his music is ‘subversive.’ His artistic world is all about shifting focus, looking for new perspectives in unexpected partnerships. ‘If it’s not subversive, it’s just plain. We need things to “pop” in this world.’ As humans, we spend our time looking out at the cosmos. The ‘pop’ on the RM 52-05 comes from totally changing our perspective a full 180°. It’s the moment we realise, staring at the watch’s face, that what we are peering at, through the vastness of space is … ourselves. Earth as seen from Mars. A distant and beautiful reflection trapped in the helmet of an astronaut.
But how to capture this sheer vastness within the confines of a watch face? The RM 52-05 rises to this artistic and technical challenge with the kind of ground-breaking ideas devotees of the brand expect from the Richard Mille Creative Development team. High-tech materials handled in miniature, using state of the art technology and honed by the partnership of an engraver, an enameller and a painter.
The technical innovations of the RM 52-05 tourbillon calibre are mind-bendingly innovative. Equivalent to a space shuttle, the baseplate that carries the movement is machined of grade 5 titanium through which it is possible to glimpse the grade 5 titanium bridges, skeletonised to evoke rocket launch platforms. It features large inserts in dazzling blue aventurine glass that evoke outer space and the confines of the universe with all its stars.
The astronaut’s helmet is sculpted in grade 5 titanium, hand painted using indestructible paint to hint at all-pervading timelessness. As for the Red Planet itself, only red gold could bring to life its unmistakable hues. We are drawn into the dramatic Valles Marineris, named for the Mariner 9 Probe, humanity’s first envoy to our distant neighbour. The engraving captures the overpowering rock face, rising a daunting 7 kilometres above the russet sandscapes below.
For this it was necessary to achieve multiple colour changes in the enamel. Unlike traditional grand feu enamels, obtained by adding different pigments, the orange to red and blue to black gradients were made by superimposing layers and increasing the number of firings at 850 °C.
We become the astronaut. In the helmet, two white gold elements containing a black sapphire and two diamonds evoke the floodlights that light up our immediate surroundings. Against the skin, we feel the spacesuit composed of grade 5 titanium, painted white using an airbrush.
Other innovations complete this cosmic timepiece. The brown Cermet combines the lightness of titanium with the hardness of a ceramic. It consists of a metallic zirconium matrix associated with high performance ceramic that gives the material its incredible brown hue with metallic reflections. The caseband is made of Carbon TPT®, well known in the field of aerospace. The hands and bridges on the back of the model have been skeletonised to evoke rocket launch platforms or satellite arms. The crown is based on the design of a rocket capsule. Even the rubber surrounding it sports the distinctive profile of a Martian rover tyre.
Only a very small crew of astronauts will be on board this unique mission to Mars. The RM 52-05 Tourbillon Pharrell Williams will be produced in an edition of 30 pieces. The little boy who grew up watching Star Trek in Virginia Beach is more than excited to be piloting the expedition…
‘In every aspect of my work, I always look for something different, something new. Working with Richard Mille provided an opportunity to go where no one else has ever gone before. Mars, for instance. Creating is about shifting the perspective from which we look at things, that’s really the only difference, and with the RM 52-05, we’ve looked at Mars from a different angle, an unexpected first-person point of view. In doing so, we’re breaking the mould. We have the best timekeeper in the world. We have Mars. And we have an African-American man from Virginia, all connected.’
Richard Mille and Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) launch a new travel-watch, inspired by and adapted to, exclusive journeys on an Airbus Corporate Jets. A watch featuring an all new grand complication, an incomparable timepiece for travellers, and a companion suited to daily wear and use, the RM 62-01 Tourbillon Vibrating Alarm ACJ exemplifies the entire Richard Mille philosophy: taking functionality and performance to new limits. From its complexity, to its complications, to its ergonomics, this piece constitutes a total work of haute horlogerie.
The second iteration of a collaboration between Richard Mille and Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ), the Airbus subsidiary commercialising bespoke private aircraft, the RM 62-01 Tourbillon Vibrating Alarm ACJ is a lifestyle watch with a particular focus on the traveller. Once again, Richard Mille appears where least expected. ‘The RM 62-01 is imagined prompting me to continue experiments begun with the
RM 50-02 Tourbillon ACJ in a new kind of travel watch. The RM 62-01 is designed for the discretion prevailing in the hushed atmosphere of luxury. Transmitted exclusively by vibrations, its alarm function attests consideration and savoir-faire. It owes its existence to an absolutely singular technical approach. Supremely easy to use, this complication embodies a paradox. Normally, an effective
alarm needs to be audible from afar… Ours however, needed to remain within the compass of a few millimetres. We, who have plumbed the realm of engineering to protect our watches from shock and vibrations, were all of a sudden inviting these into the heart of the movement. Such was the daring quest behind the choice of materials and dimensions which constitute the pleasure and rarity of this piece.’
Discretion is assured
In contrast to the traditional alarms and chimes of most horological today pieces of yesteryear and today, that of the RM 62-01 is absolutely silent. Rather than a hammer that creates a sound by striking a pillar, a gong or the interior of the case, the time signal is transmitted by a vibration only the wearer can perceive. In the intensely focused atmosphere of a meeting room, as in the confined space of a first-class cabin, such consideration is always welcome.
This vibrating alarm, however, had to be designed so as not to affect the watch movement, a major concern. This ultimately let to the idea of using an offset weight in solid gold, akin to an automatic rotor, inspired by the vibrating function of earlier mobile phones. ‘Before producing an entire movement, a wide range of technical issues questions had to be answered. Four partial prototypes and extensive studies based on models and space constraints were required in order to fit so many components and functionalities in the limited volume. There were 816 parts to be housed, 2 barrels, 7 hands, 11 displays and a tourbillon cage. One of our watch constructors worked on this full time for five years, sometimes with the help of an additional watch constructor, with progress meetings every two weeks. For all these reasons, the RM 62-01 is the most complicated watch Richard Mille has ever created.
The RM 62-01 is equipped with a range of complications catering to the business traveller, whilst breaking with the standard codes of travel watches. It incorporates a UTC indicator for a second time zone, indicated by the green hand at the centre. At 9 o’clock, below the sapphire dial, the tourbillon possesses a free-sprung balance oscillating at 3Hz. The Oversize date is positioned at 12 o’clock
and framed by an aperture with the red hatching typical of Richard Mille. Here, the indicator for the movement’s 70-hour power reserve can be found at 11 o’clock.
All functions relating to the vibrating alarm are grouped on the lower part of the main dial. Among other novelties, this is the first watch to boast a function selector with a full five positions to permit adjustment of all settings. Adjustable to the nearest minute on a 24-hour basis, when the appropriate function is selected, the alarm has three indicators of its own: on/off, AM/PM and a power-reserve indicator. The RM 62-01 is also the only alarm to be wound, not by rotating the crown, but simply by pressing the pusher—12 times suffices to fully charge the alarm’s power reserve.
Aviation as a wellspring of inspiration
If ever two worlds were destined to meet at the acme of innovation, those worlds are aviation and horology, both on a quest to master space and time. Aeronautics has always held a special place as an inspiration for Richard Mille and the company’s vision of 21st-century horology reveals close parallels with the former’s extreme conditions. The mission Airbus has always upheld of transporting passengers through the air with a maximum of safety and comfort has pushed the company’s technical specialists to the forefront of aeronautic design. The name alone evokes unprecedented approaches to the design of aircraft built by the prestigious subsidiary Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) for exclusive private clients.
The RM 62-01 follows in the footsteps of the 2016 RM 50-02 Tourbillon Split-Seconds Chronograph ACJ, from which it inherits its distinctive lines. But where the RM 50-02 reverberated with the whiteness of the jumbo jet, the RM 62-01 appears inspired by the smooth depths of dark wood panelling from a bespoke cabin interior designed by Sylvain Mariat, Head of ACJ Creative Design. The sapphire glass, shaped like an airplane window, crowns the many indicators, which remain easily legible thanks to their colour codes and strong contrast. The extra-wide diameter titanium crown recalls a jet turbine, whilst the pushers evoke the profile of pylons connecting the engine and wing.
The RM 62-01 has a double bezel, a feature that it also sports on the caseback. Resting on a satin- polished titanium bezel, the second bezel is milled from a block of Carbon TPT® to a thickness of just 1.8 mm. The choice of these materials transcends merely aesthetic considerations: the titanium/ Carbon TPT® pairing provides an optimal weight to stiffness ratio in the functional context of the RM 62—01. This combination ensures that vibrations produced by the alarm will be transferred to the wrist and deflected from the movement, which is thus protected by the structure of the watch itself.
The acquisition of such an exceedingly complex object clearly shows a determination entirely in keeping with the singular aesthetic of this limited edition of 30 pieces.
The Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix is the perfect occasion for Richard Mille to present the RM 50-04 Tourbillon Split-Seconds Chronograph Kimi Räikkönen alongside its partner. The piece pays homage to both this great driver and his team: Alfa Romeo Racing Team, the legendary manufacturer inseparable from car racing.
Richard Mille has supported Alfa Romeo Racing Team since 2018, so Kimi first entered the Richard Mille world when he was signed by the Swiss manufacturer in 2018. Crowned world champion in 2007 after being vice world champion in 2003 and 2005, 39-year-old Kimi Räikkönen is a seasoned veteran on the 2019 stage. At the Singapore Grand Prix, the so-called “Iceman” will have the chance to take his 307th start. Yet further evidence of the driver’s exceptional longevity, who over the course of his 18-year career has made 103 podium finishes, coming first on 21 occasions. Now more focused on the pleasure of driving, he has entirely rethought his approach to Formula 1: ‘From now on, I consider F1 to be a hobby,” confides Kimi. “I no longer feel the same pressure and I can just have fun at the wheel.
That’s what I enjoy doing, even if I’m still concentrated on doing my best to achieve the result that the car deserves.’ Kimi’s legendary reserved disposition, his ability to keep his cool under any circumstances—which earned him his nickname—, his reflexes and his finesse remain just as impressive as ever. Whether astride a motorbike, on hockey skates or on a bike, sport and high-level competition are an integral part of the driver’s life and personality. This all-consuming passion also seems to take him off the beaten track with forays into WRC and NASCAR. Appointed Sports Ambassador in 2017 in Finland, he is currently Finland’s most decorated Formula 1 driver, ahead of the great Mika Häkkinen.
Now he’ll take pride in wearing the RM 50-04 on his wrist. This extremely technical calibre is fitted with a split-seconds chronograph tourbillon and a grade-5 titanium and Carbon TPT® movement that weighs just 7 grams. To combine these complications within a single mechanism required perfect transmission of energy to ensure faultless operation. The need to reduce friction led the research team to improve the profile of the teeth on the barrel and the second wheel pinion. The latter led to an excellent distribution of torque and an optimised output. The combination of the tourbillon escapement and the chronograph paired with the unprecedented fine skeletonisation make this particularly innovative watch the absolute chronograph perfection.
The colours used on the C38 single-seater are showcased on the bezel and case back in white Quartz TPT®. This is achieved by interlaying 600 layers of silicon each 45 microns thick and impregnating them with a white matrix before heating them to 120 °C in an autoclave. This process gives the material a very high resistance/weight ratio, non-allergenic properties, and excellent resistance to UV rays. Developed by North Thin Ply Technology (NTPTTM), the technique is also used on the Carbon TPT® middle, but this time using carbon fibres. Red echoes can also be seen within the movement, particularly on the Carbon TPT® flange, the chronograph counters, and the power-reserve, torque and function indicators. The grade-5 titanium dial also includes the number 7, which is worn by Kimi in competition. The combination of these technical solutions gives this complex piece exceptional resistance, tested in- house with impacts of 5,000 g’s.
This limited edition of just 30 pieces, set to accompany the driver on all his major grands prix, is unveiled on 18 September at an evening event attended by Kimi and the Alfa Romeo Racing Team.
‘We in Finland are known for our “guts” and determination. We even have a word for it – sisu. However, in my sport sisu is not enough. I have to rely on high-performance technology and team-work but most of all, though, there has to be sheer passion! Richard Mille has powered his own engine for years with all three of these,– guts, technological prowess and above all fun. That’s why I am more than happy to be at the wheel with the ground-breaking RM 50-04 on my wrist.`
Richard Mille is delighted to announce the relocation of their London flagship boutique to exquisite new premises in London’s iconic Old Bond Street. This legendary neighbourhood, situated only a few steps away from the Royal Academy of Arts and the most famous of London’s five-star hotels, is host to several of the world’s most exclusive luxury brands. The new boutique, spanning over 300 square metres, makes it three times larger than the previous location, and is sure to make the hearts of Richard Mille clients and collectors beat faster when they visit the metropolis.
Peter Harrison, CEO of Richard Mille Europe, Middle East and Africa comments: “London is a pivotal city for Richard Mille’s local clientele, in addition to its status as a global city that welcomes high numbers of international visitors. For us, the relocation to such a famed area that showcases London’s premiere eminence in the world of luxury is truly a milestone. With our goal of providing clients an ultimate luxury experience, the new premises allow us to increase the boutique’s capacity, thereby offering clientele an increased number of timepieces to choose from”.
Occupying two floors, the new Bond Street location is a perfect showcase for several of Richard Mille’s emblematic boutique features such as Wenge wood parquet, Sophie Mallebranche’s cream wallpaper, and walls in black leather or fractured glass. Immediately as they set foot through the door, visitors will be immersed in a Richard Mille boutique experience with a larger than life RM 008 Tourbillon Chronograph etched into three laser engraved, triple glass panels weighing more than 1,000 pounds in total.
On the ground floor, guests are able to view the on-site watchmaker at work in a glass enclosed, dust free work area. A tonneau shape atrium opens on the lower storey with a view of the VIP lounge, created to offer our clients the ultimately pleasurable and relaxing boutique experience with its well-stocked walk-in wine cellar and cigar cabinet. Other classic cues of the brand include a library containing selected art books by Éditions Cercle d’Art, the Parisian publishing house of Picasso and Braque, under the ownership of the Richard Mille Group.
Passionate Richard Mille owners, collectors and everyone desiring to learn more about the brand will be able to experience a selection of the brand’s finest timepieces, from Ladies’ and Gents’ automatic and complicated timepieces, to sports watches developed specifically in close collaboration with friends of the brand from almost every sport imaginable.
The Richard Mille boutique is located at 4-5 Old Bond Street in Mayfair and is open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 18:00.
The 20th Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille departed on 1 June for five days of blacktop adventure that wound through all the splendours of the French countryside. A full 1,700 kilometres of pure pleasure for an exceptional event that has become a not-to-be missed gathering of Ladies’ motor racing.
A triumphal ovation awaited the 200 Princesses as the last mechanical roars were heard.
« We could not have imagined a more wonderful week with which to celebrate the 20th year of the Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille. The weather was just perfect, the race was tight up to the finish line, and we have two magnificent winners who perfectly embody what this sporting challenge is all about. It’s a rally for women that has nothing to envy the most famous of men’s events ! » confided Viviane Zaniroli, the rally’s organiser.
Interviewed by Pascal Grenacher