Richard Mille's Intricate New Women's Watch Is A Masterpiece
Many still have the misconception that women have no interest in haute horology, but since the dawn of modern watchmaking, women have been among the most passionate consumers of intricate mechanical timepieces.
Fun fact: A little company called Patek Philippe got its first real boost when Britain’s Queen Victoria purchased a couple of their exquisitely crafted watches in 1851, thrusting the nascent brand into the limelight.
Less than two decades later, the same house was responsible for creating the world’s first wristwatch when they set a minuscule timepiece into a gold bangle at the behest of a horology-hungry Hungarian countess.
Fast-forward to present day, and the success of 21st-century innovator Richard Mille’s feminine watches provides ample proof of women’s enduring appreciation for authentic mechanical timekeeping—not to mention their attraction to the inventive materials and adventurous designs for which the brand is renowned.
Women’s watches reportedly account for a quarter of the company’s sales volume, with that number expected to grow to a third in the near future. Helping nudge those figures along is Mille’s latest ladies’ model, the RM 71-01 Automatic Tourbillon Talisman.
Produced in 10 variations, each of which is limited to just five pieces, the watch’s design is inspired by the sleek retro-futurism of art deco and the curvaceous shapes of tribal masks and motifs.
Its creation was overseen by Cécile Guenat, the daughter of Mille’s friend and business partner, Dominique.
“Women’s watches have represented a considerable percentage of our sales for several years now,” Mille notes. “That said, we needed a modern, creative and talented young woman to inject new energy into our status quo and take the women’s collection to new heights.”
Guenat, he says, “met this challenge by overcoming technical obstacles, freeing herself from consensus and establishing a unique and resolutely contemporary style.”
See also: Shot For Tatler: Richard Mille's New Range Of Ladies Automatic Timepieces
The watchmaker went to extraordinary lengths to develop its first in-house automatic tourbillon movement (the Calibre CRMT1), which needed to be both compact, in order to fit within the restricted confines of a women’s watch, as well as tough and light—signature qualities common to all of Mille’s creations.
A work of incredible complexity, the case, movement, dial and various jewellery elements (including diamonds, mother-of-pearl, onyx and black sapphires) are entirely integrated, operating as a cohesive whole. The 71-01 required the various experts and artisans involved in its development to collaborate at the most extraordinary level.
That these drawn-out, painstaking efforts resulted in a series of watches created in such limited numbers only makes this Talisman all the more evocative—and attractive to the ever-growing group of women hunting horological grails.
Find out more at richardmille.com
See also: 10 Watches That Changed The World Of Watchmaking