A Symphony of Engineering & Design
THE HISTORY BEHIND THE BRAND
The Richard Mille brand has been a transformative force in the luxury watch industry. With compelling aesthetics and innovative functions they have, without a doubt, broken the mould of what we know Swiss Watches to be. Richard Mille was founded in 1999, by his namesake Richard Mille and watchmaker Dominique Guenat. The creative focus was on building avant-garde watches instead of classically inspired timepieces to manufacture modern, high-tech materials and processes, like those used in the automotive and aeronautical industries, for which the owners had a shared passion.
What makes Richard Mille so special?
It is not often that watches can be tried and tested to withstand up to 10,000 G’s of force, to weigh a mere 32 grams, or be as thin as 1.75 millimetres thick, and Richard Mille has pioneered all such things to make the impossible, possible.
Mille had once revealed in an early interview, “many watchmakers were giving themselves limits. Their only dream was to do replicas of 18th or 19th-century watches” and this is where he saw a disruptive opportunity to change those norms.
Their horological excellence is also down to their use of innovative materials, such as the NTPT carbon (North Thin Ply Technology), typically used in aeronautics and f1 engineering, which Richard Mille uses for their watch cases.
These attributes make the brand highly desirable, and due to limited productions of only approximately 5,000 pieces, there is an incredible amount of exclusivity around the brand by the most discerning watch collectors and enthusiasts.
Richard Mille is known for having a high entry-level price point, justified by limited supply and extremely high demand. In 2022, Richard Mille had sold around 5,400 watches and completed $487 million in sales.
According to Morgan Stanley in their 2023 analysis of the Swiss watch market, this makes Richard Mille the sixth largest Swiss watch brand in the world by sales, right behind horological powerhouses such as Rolex, Cartier, Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe. To be competing and surpassing some of the oldest Swiss watch brands in a short 24 years since its establishment is an incredible feat and an industry first.
The secondary market is no exception to the extraordinary growth of the brand, but it was not always like this. Richard Mille, long before their success would participate in industry closeouts, sending cheap merchandise to watch dealers to sell their product for pennies on the pound.
This is why their rise to fame has been so compelling, with waitlists for some of their models spanning ten years or more, and brand ambassadors from Charles Leclerc, Golf Champion Bubba Watson, to even celebrities such as Pharrell Williams.
This has led to some of their watches boasting significant market returns. The Richard Mille RM 030 Titanium, for example, was around the £90,000 mark on the secondary market in 2018. The same watch today has increased 178% to around £250,000.
Another example is the Richard Mille RM 35-02, commissioned for legendary tennis player Rafael Nadal, which has appreciated 260% from 2017 to 2023.
So, if you are looking to consider a Richard Mille watch, consider that it may be an excellent investment vehicle with returns of over 100% to even 200% if you buy the right model.
Moreover, a substantial amount of the Richard Mille models are limited to 50 or fewer in production, adding to its rarity, and subsequently its value on the secondary market. Therefore, Richard Mille can serve as an excellent investment to garner significant returns in both the short and long term.
As a brand that continues to challenge conventions and redefine the boundaries of watchmaking, Richard Mille’s journey is a testament to the power of innovation and a commitment to excellence. For those who appreciate craftsmanship, innovation and the allure of exclusivity, a Richard Mille watch represents not just a timepiece but a symbol of daring creativity and engineering prowess. With the brand’s rise to popularity and fame, there is no doubt that the Richard Mille brand will continue to grow at the exceptional rate it has showcased in the past two decades.