Each Richard Mille timepiece is subjected to the most rigorous quality controls. Our watchmakers control every spare part before it is assigned a place in inventory. Even if there is tiny marks, the piece will not be allowed through quality control, and it invariably means the loss of valuable parts and starting again from scratch. A great number of aesthetic criteria will be taken into consideration to ensure that the watch is beautifully finished.
Mechanical watches may go through up to 50 or 60 different processes before the watch is considered to be as near to perfect as humanly possible before delivery.
Between the various stages of quality control, a large number of parts are rejected, the overall rejection rate of components ranges is between 30 and 40%. The physical manipulation of a part, even if conducted with watchmaker’s tweezers and with the greatest care, always carries the risk of scratching or other damage, however microscopic.
If the assembled movement passes these rigorous quality control stages, it will then be returned to the watchmaker for casing, which also requires the assembly of the complete case and crown, in addition to where applicable in certain models, pushers, lugs, collars, protectors and rotating bezels. The calibre must then be checked again to ensure it is entirely free of dust, as are the front and back bezels and the entire watchcase interior.
After the watch is cased, the final timing tests are carried out. These can take more than two weeks because a movement keeps time differently as part of a finished product mounted within a watchcase compared to when they are tested as individual units.
This is partially due to the fact that temperature changes occur directly in the partially exposed movement during timing tests, whereas in a finished watch movement, heat and cold are first transmitted through the glass and metal of the case.
After this stage follows the final quality check of the finished timepiece.