It’s probably fair to say that Richard Mille watches are something of an acquired taste. Indeed, when non-horophiles see one for the first time they invariably respond with a look of bemusement. And that’s usually before they’ve been told the price.
But when you look at a Richard Mille closely – or better still, start to make a habit of wearing one – you gradually ‘get it’. It’s only then that you begin to appreciate the fact that these are serious bits of engineering in which every component has been created without compromise.
When the first RMs went on sale 20 years ago, the ebullient Mr Mille used to like showing people a watch, telling them why it cost so much, how long it took to make each titanium screw and how technically advanced the movement was. And then he’d swing it by the strap and chuck it across the room with a throaty laugh. That was his way of showing people that he believed in what he was doing, and that it had some substance. As the firm grew, he was able to demonstrate the quality and resilience of his products more widely by recruiting brand ambassadors, the automobile-related roster of which now includes F1 driver Romain Grosjean, IndyCar legend Scott Dixon and rally stars Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier.