Do you know how to pronounce Richard Mille? Let me help you out: “Ri-charrr Meal.” I think most would agree it’s not the easiest of brands to pronounce (at least for an anglophone like me). Many would also say it’s not the easiest brand to appreciate, given the fact its watches start at $80k and often cost upwards of $500k.
Divisive as these watches may be, there’s a whole load of mechanical complexity inside of an RM watch; the brand is a pioneer when it comes to engineering and material innovation. Whether you think it stands as a token of obscene wealth and vulgarity, the kind that you can only find among the true 1%, we can still take a step back to appreciate what RM is creating and why so many watch heads are standing at its altar worshiping every new NTPT® carbon release.
The new RM UP-01 Ferrari — the first official release of Richard Mille’s partnership with the automotive company — is a total shake up of the traditional model’s design, which is famous for its tonneau-shaped carbon case. While some think this watch looks like a Victorinox multitool card, I spoke to an anonymous Richard Mille collector who preferred to call it “an unwearable exercise in engineering savoir faire and excellence,” i.e. a cool watch that looks crazy on the wrist. Which brings me to my next point: the arms race for a world record attempt at being the ultra thin titleholder. With Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo Ultra previously holding the world record at 1.80mm thin, RM has swooped in at 1.75 mm, a mere 0.05 mm smaller but quashed are the efforts of Bulgari at keeping first place in this highly competitive sport that is watchmaking.
RM is perhaps the most expensive, the most unattainable, and the most desirable when it comes to the luxury watch game, and also in hip-hop culture. Cosigned by Pharrell, Jay-Z, and Gunna, it’s namechecked in too many songs for me to attempt to list. 6ix9ine recently showed his RM collection strung together on a diamond cuban link chain, equating each watch to the value of one house, and while this video definitely shouldn’t be taken as factual statistical evidence (for obvious reasons) it denotes how wild the market value of these watches really are. The RM UP-01 FERRARI will retail at $1.8 million, which could definitely buy you a house.
The watch case is made of Grade 5 Titanium which is in keeping with RM’s use of extremely lightweight materials, something the brand is synonymous for especially given its ties to major sporting events as well as brand ambassadors like Rapahel Nadal (who has always sported wearing his on the court), Felipe Massa, and Alexis Pinturault. The watch has a manual-winding movement with hours, minutes, and a function selector and has a power reserve of 45 hours.
Given its size, price and limited number, it’s not really a watch in the traditional sense; we are better off calling this conceptual art.
The RM UP-01 FERRARI is limited to a run of 150 and is priced at a cool $1,888,000.