Richard Mille has always placed immeasurable effort into the production of high-end watches. The brand is committed to exquisite technicity, exemplary finishing and exceptional materials. Constantly pushing the boundaries of technique, the brand is always as innovative as possible.
This is not without risk, however, and requires a great deal of development and the design of new manufacturing processes as well as draconian quality controls. It is a huge investment for a very limited number of watches.
Beyond the technical challenge our calibres represent, the cases protecting them meet some of the strictest standards in existence and provide the same satisfaction today as the day they were purchased.
Whatever material it may be crafted of—titanium, gold, carbon composite, Carbon TPT®, sapphire or more—the Richard Mille case carries inherent production difficulties due to its shape and form.
The curved profile of each Richard Mille timepiece makes these watches exceptionally ergonomic and comfortable on all wrist sizes. However, this intentional curvature is very time-consuming at every stage of creation: pre-production, production and finishing, in addition to placing exceptionally high demands on final quality control.
The process of machining a case may take as much as several months and requires hundreds of operations. Our cases are sealed with grade 5 titanium spline screws. Because of this complexity and stringency, Richard Mille watchcases are considered by Swiss case making experts to be the most complicated watchcase in the industry.
The production of a sapphire case structure took us years of research and testing in order to ensure its adequate response to the demands of strength and comfort. Only Richard Mille has to date achieved such a complex case design in sapphire.
The bezel, caseband and caseback are 100% crafted from a single block of sapphire crystal. No polymers are used to machine its complex, difficult lines or angles.
With a staggering growth time of more than 4 weeks, each block of sapphire then requires more than 1,000 hours of machining to emerge as a Richard Mille case. The difficulty is exacerbated by the fact that our case design curves in all directions, which requires that we use a multi-axis machine throughout the production process.
The hardness and lack of flexibility sapphire exhibits calls for extreme accuracy right down to microns in the fit between the two bezels and the caseband, as well as for the pushers. Indeed, anything connected to and part of the case must be flawless to function as it should.
Anti-glare treated and water resistant to 30 metres, it is the most difficult case to perfectly produce perfectly amongst all the offerings in the entire Swiss casemaking industry, bar none.
More and more third-party individuals are now offering to modify Richard Mille watches, by setting the case and/or dial with precious stones or by replacing the existing case with poorly made sapphire cases. They offer their own interpretation of the Mille watch without any respect for the actual product, the quality of the workmanship and the intellectual capital invested.
Theses individuals are illegitimately appropriating and defacing Richard Mille’s know-how.
Disassembling the bezel or even the dial will cause irreversible damage to the movement, its reliability and the water resistance of your watch if conducted by a non-authorised watchmaker. Simply replacing a Richard Mille strap is a real challenge; A specific screwdriver—wielded exclusively by our watchmakers— a specific level of torque and specific water-resistance checks are required in order to guarantee the durability of the watch.
We would especially warn you of the risks attendant to complete replacement of the case with exotic variations, such as low-quality sapphire or the ‘off market’ gem-setting of cases.
The way we perform setting on our cases is highly specific, both aesthetically and technically. In keeping with the features of the case, our high-quality diamonds come from suppliers offering clear traceability. We cannot guarantee the ethics, the credibility or the know-how of an external jeweller.
Sapphire imitations proposed as replacements for the original case will never meet the extremely strict aesthetic and mechanical specifications that make our watches valuable. Produced abroad, such cases typically exhibit a rough finish and total lack of water-resistance. Furthermore, serious damage is likely to ensue from assembling a movement inside it, and you will very likely reduce the value of your timepiece.
Recasing the calibre back into its original case for after-sales service and interventions will not mask the transformation. Our watchmakers will immediately discover traces of the watch’s prior disassembly, forcing us to void the warranty.
Such transformations are a danger for your watch and its authenticity. Any intervention on a Richard Mille watch must be carried out by one of our specialised watchmakers, who are fully trained in our manufacturing facilities in Switzerland. Meticulous recordkeeping at Richard Mille After Sales Service ensures each watch’s service record accurately describes the entire service history of the timepiece. This attention to detail protects owners and also each watch.
Any intervention or service performed outside our network will completely void the warranty.