William Cooper

Written by

William Cooper

3 minute read

Updated 18th April 2024

Richard Mille

Richard Mille is a luxury watch brand based in Les Breuleux, Switzerland. Founded in 2001 by Dominique Guenat and Richard Mille, the brand’s launch followed decades of experience in watchmaking by the pair.

In 1988, Richard Mille, general manager and shareholder for jewellery firm Mauboussin, became friends with Dominique Guenat, owner of watchmaker Montres Valgine, while working in Besançon for Compagnie Générale Horlogère. When he left Mauboussin after a disagreement regarding commercial strategy, Mille presented his idea for a range of watches to Guenat. In 1999, the pair partnered with Montres Valgine and Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet and drew up their plans for the Richard Mille brand.

Two years later, they exhibited their first watch, a manually-wound RM 001 Tourbillon, at the 2001 watch and jewellery exhibition Baselworld in Basel, Switzerland. The watch had a tourbillon calibre, a power-reserve indicator, and a torque indicator, and also featured an exhibition caseback and visible parts.

Richard Mille watches use materials such as titanium and graphene, and are designed to be highly accurate as well as shock-resistant and lightweight. The RM-031 escapement – limited to just ten pieces – is accurate to within 30 seconds per month. Since the brand’s inception, all Richard Mille watches have been developed and produced in Switzerland by the Guenat SA – Montres Valgine (GMV) Manufacture in Les Breuleux, while the watch cases and some movement components, such as baseplates, bridges, screws, and some wheels, are produced by ProArt, which belongs to the Richard Mille group.

Tennis Racket and Tennis Ball on Court

Richard Mille at Wimbledon

Top-of-the-line watches are a staple sight at Wimbledon, with many players either sponsored by watch brands or paying for their own luxury timepieces. In 2023, American tennis player Sebastian Korda wore a Richard Mille RM67-02 watch worth £259,000 – a model first released in 2018 in a collection of three variants.

But perhaps best known for his taste in Richard Mille watches is Spanish tennis player Rafael “Rafa” Nadal, also known as the “King of Clay”, who first partnered with the brand in 2008. When Rafael first met Richard Mille, he did not want to wear a watch and it had never occurred to him to wear one during his matches – it took Richard a long time to convince him. But eventually they developed the world’s lightest tourbillon at the time of its release: the RM 027 – the first watch to bear Nadal’s name.

Richard came to my house and showed me a model saying : ‘this is the watch that we made for you’. The watch was in platinum, so very heavy – I was very confused and didn’t realise that he was joking. As soon as I tried the real watch on, I loved it. We were on the same wave length. The watch is now like a second skin for me

Rafael Nadal

Since their partnership began, the brand has released a varied collection of timepieces, from the first RM 027 to the latest automatic model: the RM 35-03 with its butterfly rotor, which was unveiled in 2022.

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Sources

https://www.watchesandculture.org/forum/en/richard-milles-production-quartet/

https://revolutionwatch.com/watch-changed-world-richard-mille-rm-001-tourbillon/

https://www.my-watchsite.com/rm-031/3418-rm-031-haute-performance.html

https://www.richardmille.com/page/history

https://www.richardmille.com/friends-and-partners/rafael-nadal

Written by William Cooper

I started insurance broking in 2009. I followed my great-grandfather, grandfather, and father into the world of insurance. In 2019, I decided I wanted to do things differently. I formed Stanhope in 2019 with Matthew Ashton and Rachel Living. We want to shake up the industry! Let's make insurance cool and useful for our customers. Let's improve the customer journey and get them to trust us as their insurance company. Let's pay claims quickly; let's be excellent and honest in all that we do!

William Cooper

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