As watch lovers, watch nerds or whatever you want to call the readers of the The Collectors Circle blog; we have been in love with Richard Mille watches since day one. The brand was only established in 1999 but it competes well against the fine watch making houses of the 19th century such as Patek Philippe (1839), Audemars Piguet (1875) and Rolex (1905).
The Swiss watch company, located in Les Breuleux, has produced quite a few stunning timepieces in the past. In this post we would like to show you the Richard Mille RM 56 series in detail. In 2011 the watch manufacturer introduced a watchmaking technical milestone to the world - the RM56 (limited edition of 5 timepieces). The entire case (front bezel, caseband and back bezel), as well as the complex movement, has been manufactured completely by pure sapphire crystal (see picture below).
Two years later in 2013, Richard Mille introduced the RM 56-01 which was limited to 5 pieces as well. In addition to the stunning sapphire movement and case, the brand added a sapphire crystal baseplate and sapphire crystal for the central bridge and third wheel – and, viola, the RM 56-01 was born. According to Richard Mille, it takes 40 full days for the machinery to produce only the sapphire crystal case of one single watch.
Driven by its mindset to shoot for the stars, Richard Mille introduced the latest model of the RM 56 series in 2014, the RM 56- 02. The high-end brand added a new movement to the watch and some of the parts within the movement have been optimized to gain an even higher transparency (see pictures below). Also, the limitation has been increased for the RM 56-02 model as 10 units have been manufactured. The sapphire used for the RM 56 watches is created from subjecting aluminum oxide crystals (Al2O3) to high pressure and temperature environment. Did you know that the sapphire used has a hardness of 1800 Vickers (9 Mohs) making it virtually scratch resistant by materials other than diamond?
It’s crazy to think of the kind of effort and passion Richard Mille has contributed to the watch industry. The innovations that have been presented by Richard Mille over the course of the years are just mind blowing (take a look at our previous blog post on the Richard Mille RM 50-03 McLaren F1). Technical innovation and the continuous pursuit of perfection and progress are the common denominators that link McLaren and Richard Mille, which is why the two companies joined forces to create the lightest mechanical chronograph ever made, the RM 50-03. While the brand has been often criticized for its high prices, it seems to only be said by those who don’t see how much work the brand is putting into their pieces. The R&D alone for the materials used is much higher than for other brands (with almost same prices per piece to the customer).
The Collectors Circle loves the experimental mindset of Richard Mille and the innovations they share with us year after year. We can’t wait to see what materials are used in the future and what a possible successor to the RM56 could look like.
Well done, Richard Mille. Keep shooting for the stars.
RM 56 / RM 56-01 / RM 56-02
retail price for the RM 56 USD 1,700,000 / RM 56-01 USD 1,650,000 / RM 56-02 USD 2,000,000 (Please note the prices are not officially confirmed by Richard Mille)
RM 56 5 five units / RM 56-01 five units / RM 56-02 ten units
length 50.50 mm; width 42.70 mm; height 16.75 mm
We asked one of our clients and he said “NEVER! – Keep the watch in your safe”.
Sapphire, the material used for the case of the RM 56 series as well as partly for the movement of the watch, is one of the hardest materials on Earth. Furthermore, the material is transparent thanks to its molecular structure and is known to be extremely scratch-resistant.
Images: Richard Mille, https://www.richardmille.com