3 minutes

Richard Mille – The Story Behind the Watchmaker to the Stars

By Hyla Bauer

Let’s face it, there is a lot of hype out there about Richard Mille watches. The timepieces are uber-popular with celebrities, athletes, and watch collectors with deep pockets. But are the watches worth their staggering (for most people) prices? Let’s take a look at the world-famous watches, and the man behind them.

First of all, Richard Mille is not a flash-in-the-pan watchmaker. Before he founded his brand in 2001, he had years of experience at the helm of several watch and jewelry companies. In fact, he was 50 years old when the first Richard Mille watch was unveiled.

Richard Mille: When Watchmaking Experience Meets Vision

Most watch brands take several years, if not decades, to reach worldwide acclaim. Richard Mille’s watches, however, saw an almost meteoric rise to the top in a very short period of time. According to the Richard Mille website, he had “the idea of pushing watchmaking beyond anything that existed at the time.” Clearly, he has succeeded at doing so.

Richard Mille’s vast experience in the watch field, his exacting vision for his watches, and exceptional watchmaking standards have contributed greatly to his success.

He has developed a cult-like following, established a vast array of partnerships, and held fast to his watchmaking standards. These factors have all helped to both raise awareness of and demand for the watches, despite very high price tags.

Richard Mille watches became famous for their extreme designs

Why are Richard Mille watches so expensive?

So, why are the prices so high? Let me give you five possible reasons:

  1. Richard Mille only produces about 3,000 watches per year, and they are sold all over the world. That means there is global demand and a very limited supply. This holds true for both new watches at retail and on the secondary watch market.
  2. Richard Mille watches are crafted using materials that are rarely, if ever, utilized in watchmaking. These include silicon nitride, gold fused with carbon and quartz, and other materials that are usually only found in the aviation and racing industries.
  3. Richard Mille watches are exceptionally shock resistant, as evidenced by Rafael Nadal, who wears his Richard Mille during tennis matches. Nadal’s watch has a tourbillon and weighs under 20 grams, yet it withstands all the strain of a five-set match. Famous golfer Bubba Watson’s watch, in turn, has to withstand the g-force created by his swing.
  4. Richard Mille watches are very popular among motorsports fans. Mille outfits Formula 1 drivers Romain Grosjean and Felipe Massa with his timepieces. The constant vibration of race car steering wheels is no problem for their watches. Mille’s affinity for collectible cars and race cars is well known. The brand’s motto, after all, is “A racing machine on the wrist.” Mille regularly participates in automobile Concours d’Elegance. He’s the main sponsor of The Bridge, an annual, invitation-only car show that takes place in New York’s legendary Hamptons.
  5. There’s simply no doubt that Richard Mille watches are cool. Jay-Z, Drake, and Nick Jonas are among their many fans from the entertainment world. Similar to these men, Mille’s clientele are true connoisseurs of fine watches. It’s even rumored that one collector has one of every watch model that Richard Mille has ever made.
Richard Mille watches are among the most expensive timepieces on the market

Are Richard Mille watches a good investment?

So, will Richard Mille watches hold their value over time? Well, no one can predict the future, but it seems likely that current demand paired with the watches’ top quality and scarcity put them in a good position, at least in the short term.

About the Author

Hyla Bauer

Hyla Bauer's passion for watches was born the first time she traveled to Switzerland for the Basel and Geneva watch shows. For her, a watch is one of the most intimate and precious things a person can wear. They are precious, built to last, and have a personal meaning for their owners.

Read more

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