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Richard Mille’s First In-House Chronograph Is a 30-Month Long Project

By T: The New York Times Style Magazine Singapore

The RM 72-01 watches.
 
Courtesy of Richard Mille
The RM 72-01 watches.

Technical innovation has been a constant ethos of Richard Mille for almost two decades. Richard Mille watches — complex designs, often layered with record-breaking constructions — are intriguing timepieces that have earned its niche among the world of luxury watch brands as watches that withstand an otherwise destructive environment.

While in-house chronographs are signifiers of respected, established watch brands, the Swiss watchmaking brand has always relied on external suppliers for its chronograph movements — a decidedly unconventional path set by the man behind the brand, Richard Mille. As a young player in an industry that has always put forth historical concept as the basis for legitimacy, Mille chose, instead, to be unapologetically modern. The creation of his high-performance watches follows a similar model to that of Formula 1 cars, where clinical approach takes precedence in its design language and components are sourced from specialised suppliers to meet specific performance objectives. With his insatiable curiosity for science and engineering, Mille successfully claimed its status among traditional luxury watchmakers who are reinventing the watchmaking formula in the 21st century.

Courtesy of Richard MilleA pair of dancers in Richard Mille’s campaign.
A pair of dancers in Richard Mille’s campaign.

Without losing its intended anti-classicism design codes, the brand Richard Mille has recently embraced its twenty years of know-how to launch its first in-house chronograph, the calibre CRMC1, in the RM 72-01 “Lifestyle” chronograph watch. Produced entirely in the Richard Mille workshop in Les Breuleux for over 30 months, the CRMC1 movement features a pair of oscillating pinions, a patented construction built to isolate the minute and hour display from the second wheel — a breakthrough in watchmaking that results in extreme accuracy and extended lifespan of the watch without the need for excessive winding.

 

 

Richard Mille brought its latest achievement to new dimensions by engaging two artists, choreographer Benjamin Millepied and music composer Thomas Roussel, to produce a feature film. Set in a primal desert, the film explores the territory between time and space. One after the other, a female dancer, then a male dancer, unleash their natural vitality in an unstructured and organic pas-de-deux. The piece, which Millepied calls “impressionistic and mysterious,” plays to Roussel’s “dreamy sounds that match the fantastic images,” seeking to fuse technical with pure feeling.

“Like orchestral music, haute horlogerie feeds on its own traditions, respecting very strict and precise rules. Based on this guidance, it is up to us to break down the codes and offer works that are singular,” says Roussel. The composition, performed by 50 musicians of the London Symphony Orchestra, pulsates like counting seconds and renders in a musical rhythm that takes us back when the discovery of time rocked the cradle of humanity. In its own way, the RM 72-01 embodies the genesis of the moment, a fusion of human bodies, sound and time as Richard Mille reaches into a new watchmaking territory.