The first Richard Mille timepiece is introduced, the RM 001 Tourbillon, in an initial series of 17 watches. This is followed by the tourbillon RM 002, an evolution of the RM 001, enhanced with two features making their world debut: a movement baseplate in titanium, and a function indicator with winding, neutral and hand-setting positions.
'For a long time, I wished to launch my own brand. I wanted to create a new business model, far removed from traditional marketing strategies, something totally original.
My goal was to create a new, ultra-high-end luxury segment within the high-end watch business, and I was very eager to know what could come of it.'
For Richard Mille, this was not an impulsive decision quickly taken; it was the direct fruition of decades of experience gained by guiding diverse wristwatch and elite jewelry brands in the creation, management and development of a myriad of high profile projects. This deep fascination for technology, his expertise and personal passion for racing cars combined with his extreme sensitivity to design and ergonomics, meant that no watch in existence at the time could ever really meet his expectations.
At the age of fifty, Richard Mille decided to create his own brand, with the idea of pushing watchmaking beyond anything that existed at the time, with a new contemporary approach to horology. He was planning to develop one product: the watch of his dreams, an approach that involved operating with little regard for production costs, which were excessive.
When released in 2001, this extraordinary timepiece with its ergonomic tonneau case design punctuated with distinctive torque screws and a compelling six-digit price tag, immediately placed the fledgling brand at the highest summit of the entire luxury watch market.
'With Dominique Guenat and the best experts of Swiss watchmaking who were not frightened by the challenging ideas to introduce to the world, we set to work in the realisation of the very first design, the RM 001.'
Richard Mille joined forces with his good friend Dominique Guenat, owner of Guenat SA Montres Valgine, to make his dream comes true. It was in 1988 that Dominique Guenat and Richard Mille first met, while the latter was Head of Watchmaking and CEO of Jewellery at Mauboussin, in relation to making watches. Although based on a professional relationship, the two men quickly struck up a great friendship that was strengthened by their shared passion for automobiles, aeronautics and all things mechanical.
Those clients who understood the uncompromising quality of such a visionary product, predestined this first creation to become an unequivocal success. Today, 20 years later, the Richard Mille watch collection now comprises more than eighty models, each designed and produced with the same passion and uncompromising principles that guided Richard Mille’s first creation.