Let's face it, there are not many brands like Richard Mille. They are effectively the Pagani Automobili of the watch world as they have consistently pushed the limits and interaction of materials, technology, and design. Richard Mille is famous for their use of massively complex skeleton movements, curved tonneau cases, and exotic materials. Some readers will remember the RM056 model which was launched at BaselWorld this year featuring a case made of sapphire crystal and sporting a $1.65m price tag. Regardless of your opinion of their watches, you have to admire their drive to make unbelievable products with truly stratospheric prices. Consider the RM027 which features a tourbillon movement and a case made of a high-carbon composite that weighs only 13g (without its strap) and can actually float when placed in water (read more here). The RM027 carries a price tag in excess of $550,000 and is perhaps most famously known as the watch worn by tennis star Rafael Nadal. I like Richard Mille watches for the same reason I like the many iterations of the Pagani Zonda, they're insane, dramatic, and an interesting point of overlap between the passions of technology and design.
For those that don't quite have a half million dollars (or more) just lying around, perhaps a limited edition of the RM032 Dive Chronograph will do? The new Richard Mille 032 Dark Diver Chronograph is packaged in a massive 50 x 17.8mm case so only those with a wrist to match their wallet should apply. The case is made of titanium which has been treated to a black DLC finish and matches nicely with the skeleton view of the RMAC2 chronograph movement. The RMAC2 is an automatically winding chronograph movement with flyback capability, an annual calendar, and a pinwheel-style running indicator which spins when the chronograph is active. In typical Richard Mille fashion, the movement is viewable from both the front and back of the watch via sapphire crystals and the movement itself makes up the majority of the dial.
Featuring the same pusher locking system seen in the original RM032 Dive Chronograph we showed you here, turning the inner ring around the crown locks both the crown and pushers from use and secures the watch for dives of up to 300m. Similar to the locking system seen in much of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor range, the Richard Mille system offers an easy and visually verifiable way of locking its controls, not only for water resistance but also to ensure that the measure taken by the watch cannot be interrupted while diving. As cool as this system, and indeed the entire RM032 Dark Diver is, I doubt that many buyers will take such a watch diving, let alone to great depths.
The Richard Mille 032 Dark Diver Chronograph is both undeniably cool and almost completely impractical. The original RM032 carried a price tag of $125,000 and the Dark Diver, being limited to just 30 pieces, will cost only $140,000 USD. Just like a top-tier supercar, a Richard Mille should be prohibitively expensive, the price is part of the attraction for a sensational product like the RM032. Pricing aside, the Dark Diver is very large and tonally quite boisterous, but I suppose that is the point of a watch like this. Regardless of the fact that I will never own one, I love Richard Mille watches as they represent the cutting edge, a product of one of the dynamic elements within modern watch making. Surprisingly, there is a lot of competition to be found at the six figure price point, but Richard Mille is doing as they please and the RM032 certainly won't be confused for a similarly priced Patek, Lange or Opus.
Written by James Stacey