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.
ISO 9001 certifications are one of Richard Mille foundations. Certified since 2005 and constantly up-to-date, the ISO norm (International Organization for Standardization) has all its meaning in terms of mastery and preservation of our savoir-faire.
From development to the final product via our supply chain, ISO 9001:2015 is a standard that sets out the requirements for the best quality management system. It helps our production and organisation to be more efficient and improve our customers satisfaction. This organisation creates documents that provide requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose. It enhances drive for innovation and quality controls, two key objectives of the brand.
At Richard Mille, the ISO norm can be verified for instance through the relation between the watchmaker and the engineers. Any number of details regarding the assembly process may come up in discussion with the watchmaker responsible for assembly, such as suggestions about possible future changes in the production process. This conversation can include anything that might bring possible advancements and is part of a healthy professional environment that promotes continuous improvement.
The primary focus of this norm is to meet clients requirements and exceed their expectations. Every aspect of customer interaction provides an opportunity to create more value for them.
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.