racing with time
Known for his high-profile timepieces, Richard Mille is also a force in the automotive world, with a personal collection that includes everything from a Formula One V16-powered BRM to a Porsche 917 endurance racer and a Lancia Stratos rally car. In 2014, the French watchmaker took his passion public with the launch of Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille outside Paris. Arguably the world’s most elegant and authentic concours, the Chantilly event celebrates not just the art of the automobile but fine and applied arts of every kind.
The power and beauty of the Chantilly event is that it covers fascinating cars and a myriad of other aspects that one would classify as an appreciation of fine living and luxury. Although cars are indeed my private passion, I enjoy the inclusiveness of an event that can offer everyone something to delight and interest the senses on several levels.
The end goal in collecting cars, or perhaps anything for that matter, can seem clear when you start off, but as you go along, you learn historical information that you perhaps never knew about beforehand and then your collection’s direction changes slightly, or branches out in a certain way. The sudden availability or private offering of a particular model may also influence your collection’s path. The beauty of collecting is that you are constantly learning and there are unknown factors that deepen one’s knowledge.
My historic competition cars influence my watch creations. However, there is much more that interests me, such as my fascination with the Concorde’s design and development, industrial design concepts, art and architecture, technological developments in new materials, the aerospace industry and so much else. After all, my watch collections cover a broad spectrum of design and technique, of which cars form an important yet not solitary point of interest. Think about the RM 19-02 Tourbillon Fleur or the just-presented RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon, both examples of watches not directly inspired by car sports. Having just said that, however, I have to add that there is always a lot of car-inspired technology embedded in all of our watches, even within the ladies’ collections, although many might not notice that.
By far not every client is a dedicated car lover, yet nearly all of my clients do enjoy seeing a beautiful car, much the same way they might look at a piece of art or any well-designed object. I think for that reason the appreciation of fine design coupled with excellent engineering is the real denominator of those who are attracted to my brand. I also love to bring my dear friends and clients to classic cars and contaminate them with my passion. They then discover a fantastic universe!
If you asked me this question – imagine you could grab only one set of keys (or one portable starter motor) to a car in your collection, which would it be – I would find it hard to answer because I love them all and cannot choose. Perhaps the Ferrari 250 PF would be one of the first on my list if I had to make a choice within seconds as I ran out the door.
Founder and CEO, Richard Mille
Richard Mille’s first professional foray into the watchmaking industry began in 1974, and after rising steadily in the industry, founded his own company in 1999. While many of its timepieces flaunt million-dollar price tags, the company’s most notable piece is the RM 056, carved completely from sapphire.