Richard Mille, The Strategy of Reinventing the Luxury World

When someone thinks about Richard Millewhat comes to mind is a person who is considered the father of modern watchmaking. Greatest innovator of watches in the last century, he has reinvented the sports watch market. His watches are favored by leading athletes like Nadal, who wore one during his intense match at the Roland Garros final.


RICHARD MILLE RM067-01 Extra Flat in Oro Bianco

A racing machine on the wrist” is the quote that best defines Richard Mille watches. The road was not easy for the entrepreneur, who spent decades driving diverse wristwatches and elite jewelry brands in his creation. All that experience combined with his fascination for technology and passion for racing cars led him to creating a watch that could meet his expectations. Mr. Mille had in mind a new business model, far from that of traditional marketing strategies, developing something that could be utterly original. Overall, he set his goal in the creation of an ultra-high-end luxury segment within the high-end watch business, even when he had no idea what the result would be.

In 1999, Richard Mille decided to create his own brand along with Dominique Guenat, owner of Guenat SA Montres Valgine, and since they shared the same passion, they were able to set the bases of the brand. His first watch, the RM 001 tourbillon, presented in 2001, was made of titanium and carbon nano-fiber. It had a distinctive tonneau-shaped (or barrel-shaped) dial, a design that became his trademark. At a price of $135,000, the watch was produced in an edition of 80 – a watch that was sufficiently incredible to get the brand noticed.

RICHARD MILLE RM011-03 Rose Gold 

With reference to the success of the brand, we shall consider Richard Mille’s philosophy “I do what I like” that has led the company since day one. He bases his designs on everything that is related to extreme mechanical devices– that’s his religion and starting point

“I didn’t know if there would be a public. I imagined that there could be a public so as I am down to earth, I was hoping that this brand would be welcomed by few tenths of collectors in the world and it happened that they were quickly hundreds, thousands and now I don’t know the limit because I am in the segment where I am the only one. This market where the Price point is over 180 000€, I have no competition, so I don’t know the limit of this segment.” Richard Mille

According to his own words, the high-end watch business could be very boring. He has recently created a new market in which he is the rule maker, but he firmly states that they have never stopped creating. There are new models, a wide range of watches so their main customers never get bored. His main focus has been sports and women’s watches, categories that were not delved into by many brands.

RICHARD MILLE RM011-02 Titanium

The last crises have not affected the growth of the company because Richard Mille created his brand to escape from the volume business. He considers that many companies have been drastically going into volume, and that’s something he doesn’t like. Growth exists, and this is consistent, but Mr. Miller loves to limit over-growth.

He is aware that if he made a commercial move, he would sell tens of thousands of watches and knows clearly that he would NEVER do that. He explains the reason for this: “Because then I will have to stop everything that I love, that is to say: crazy developments, huge developments, heavy developments to do something commercial so I’m not interested in that at all. Even though I have grown each year, I want to control my growth.”

Another aspect Richard Mille wishes to enhance is the fact that the brand is very successful even during a crisis, and demand is incredible. They have created a lot and that has given the brand a real legitimacy, and people recognize that all the models they create make the market more dynamic.

We all know that a Richard Mille can easily exceed 200 000 €, and the reason for this according to the creator is because of all the huge development that has taken years of work and is subdivided into a limited number of pieces; this makes the price surge. The price is not a marketing philosophy; it is linked to Richard Miller’s philosophy instead. He simply loves extreme techniques and about 50% of his spare goes to garbage because they are wasted. The fact that most of his movements must be assembled in 6 to 8 weeks raises the price.

RICHARD MILLE RM023 Diamanti e Oro Bianco.

Those clients that understood the uncompromising quality of such a visionary product predestined this first creation to become unequivocally successful. Today, 20 years later, the Richard Mille watch collection comprises over eighty models, each designed and produced with the same passion and uncompromising principles that guided Richard Mille’s first creation.

All the Richard Mille models presented in this article are available in our boutique. Feel free to visit our website or schedule an in-store appointment to see our extensive watch catalogue. Gioielleria Bonanno wishes you a pleasant shopping.

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