After studying marketing in Besançon, Richard Mille (born 13 February 1951, Draguignan, France) started work at Finhor, a local watchmaking company in 1974. The company was bought by Matra in 1981 and Richard Mille rose to manage Matra's watchmaking business, which then included the brands Yema and Cupillard Rième. Matra's watchmaking activities were sold to Seiko, who Mille left in 1992 to start a watchmaking business for jewellery firm Mauboussin. In 1999 he founded the company Richard Mille SA in collaboration with Audemars Piguet. Its first product, the RM001 went on sale in 2001.
The brand's most famous models are the Tourbillon RM 008 (chronograph tourbillon) and the sapphire split seconds (chronograph tourbillon) RM 056. The RM 008 combines a tourbillon movement with manual winding, a chronograph split-seconds, a torque indicator, and a power reserve indicator. Claimed to be one of the most advanced watches in the world, it is priced from 500,000 Euro.
The RM 056 split seconds (chronograph tourbillon) is distinguished by its three-part all-sapphire skeletal case. The RM 056 is completely see-through and is the first watch case to be completely built from sapphire, with a limited edition 5 pieces of the Richard Mille RM 056 Felipe Massa Sapphire priced at US$1.7 million. The RM 056 was declared best watch of 2012 at the Salon Internacional de Alta Relojería watchmakers' exhibition in Mexico City in October 2012.
Sponsorship and endorsements
The brand sponsors various sports persons, including:
- Bubba Watson, American Golfer: Watson won the 2012 Masters Tournament wearing a Richard Mille watch.
- Romain Grosjean French Formula One driver
- Felipe Massa, Brazilian Formula One driver: Richard Mille has developed three special-edition Tourbillon watches with Massa, including the RM 006, RM 009 and RM 056.
- McLaren Formula One drivers Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, and Stoffel Vandoorne as part of a 2016 official team sponsorship agreement.
- Rally driver Sébastien Loeb
- President of the FIA, Formula One's governing body Jean Todt
- Rafael Nadal, Spanish tennis player: Following the 2012 French Open, Nadal was reported to have had a €300,000 watch stolen from his room that had been loaned to him by Mille.
- Yohan Blake, Jamaican sprinter: Blake wore a customised Tourbillon in Jamaica's national colours during the 2012 Olympic games in London.
- Wayde van Niekerk, South African sprinter: van Niekerk won the gold medal and broke the world record in the 400m in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro while wearing a Richard Mille RM 27-02.
Celebrity endorsements of Richard Mille watches include:
- Michelle Yeoh, Malaysian actress: Richard Mille developed the Richard Mille RM 051 Phoenix-Michelle Yeoh.
- Jackie Chan, Hong Kong action star: RM 057 Dragon-Jackie Chan Tourbillon
- Actress Natalie Portman (RM19-01 Natalie Portman)
- Actor Sylvester Stallone
- Music producer and singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams
- Russian government spokesperson Dmitry Peskov
- Tom Perkins, a billionaire and a venture capitalist, compared his Richard Mille watch to a "six-pack of Rolexes" during a television interview.
- "Richard Mille : une carrière courte exceptionnelle". Watch World Guide. Watch World Guide. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Nuber, Karl Heinz (Autumn 2011). Tourbillon Magazine. TIES Ltd. p. 126.
- Levine, Joshua. "The Edge of Time". Forbes. Forbes.com LLC. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Cattaneo, Marco (January 2012). Richard Mille Un épicurien harponné par l'horlogerie. Geneva: Tribune des Arts.
- "Richard Mille". Argus des Montres. Horlo Premium SAS. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- "Interview : Richard Mille". Forum à montres. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- "Best Watches of 2012: Richard Mille RM 056 Felipe Massa Sapphire", R.G. Holland, November 27, 2012
- "Nadal Luxury Watch Missing in Paris", Reuters, June 12, 2012
- Adams, Ariel. "Richard Mille RM 59-01 Tourbillon Yohan Blake Watch Hands-On". A Blog to Watch. aBlogtoWatch. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- Clymer, Benjamin. "SPOTTED: Olympic Silver Medalist Yohan Blake Wearing A Richard Mille Tourbillon, During The 100M Finals". Hodinkee. BOTH Media LLC. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- Cara Barrett, Watch Spotting: Wayde van Niekerk Wins The Men's 400m (And Sets A New World Record) With A Richard Mille On His Wrist hodinkee.com August 15, 2016
- "Best Watches of 2012: Richard Mille 051 Phoenix-Michelle Yeoh", R.G. Holland, November, 2012
- Oliphant, Ronald (3 August 2015). "Vladimir Putin's spokesman in luxury watch scandal". The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- Kelley, Michael. "Here's the $380,000 Watch Investor Tom Perkins Bragged About On TV". Business Insider. Business Insider Inc. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- Weissman, Jordan. "Millionaire Apologizes for Comparing Progressives to Nazis, Says His Watch Is Worth a '6-Pack of Rolexes'". The Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly Group. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- History of the Richard Mille brand, Time and Watches