At the crossroads of cutting-edge research, hallowed artisanal jewellery practices, fine art, and, of course, the most sophisticated watchmaking in existence, Richard Mille is proud to resolutely step further into the world of fine jewellery watchmaking with the RM HJ-01, a scintillating collection imbued with the architectural and artistic references dear to Cécile Guenat, Director of Creation and Development at Richard Mille.
The vision was presented by Cécile Guenat, who chose to explore a specific facet of the distinctive Richard Mille identity—the brand’s signature tonneau case—through the unique lens of her background in fine jewellery and her interest in Art Déco. Her creative journey led her to draw on the sumptuous cigarette cases that combined functionality with luxury and on the fascination with architecture that are characteristic of this artistic period.
The result is four extraordinary watches notable for their striking visual lines and their breath-taking workmanship of precious materials. Three pieces are in white gold and one in red gold. Cécile worked around 4 stones to define the main colour for each of these 4 stunningly crafted ‘jewels’: ruby, blue sapphire, purple sapphire and emerald. Each one deconstructs the tonneau form, exploring concepts of volume, depth, curve and line in architectural ways. Cécile decided to counterbalance the curves of the case with complex patterns of geometrical shapes and lines. Meanwhile, the choice to use precious stones in three distinct settings, snow, closed and grain-set, lends a modern touch to the decoration and emphasises the play of contrasts. It takes more than a year to build the case.
As for the dial, its diagonal lines are curved inward, suffusing the piece with energy and rhythm. The diamond-shaped flange just below the crystal meticulously extends the lines of the bezel, providing structure and elegance. This graceful flourish was not chosen lightly, as it added a layer of technical complexity in terms of fitting the hands and movement into the limited space. But as always, for the brand, complexity is not an accepted obstacle when visual coherence is at stake.
The black ceramic of the caseback was chosen for a combination of functional and aesthetic reasons. In addition to its characteristic lightness and resistance, this material has an extraordinary fine grain that takes a superb finish as timeless as Egyptian statuary. The result is a watch whose silken texture is a soothing embrace, never too hot or cold, thanks to the heat-sink properties of the specialty ceramic. The majestic ebony colour, meanwhile, discreetly sets off the jewelled mechanism as though atop a pedestal.
The case and bezel exhibit a resolutely modern asymmetry through the interplay of precious stones in different colours and sizes. The platinium and gold rotor, also set with ornamental stones, drives the automatic movement of these Haute Joaillerie timepieces. In a new and subtle ‘twist’ for this collection, the brand’s famous spline screws have been redesigned for the first time ever, here taking on a floral cast. The lines of the buckle have also been reworked to breath-taking effect, gracefully set with precious stones. These many details provide visual contrast and heighten the striking lines of these pieces.
These four exceptional timepieces bring together the sophisticated watchmaking of Haute Horlogerie and the artistic craftsmanship of fine jewellery.