Richard Mille RM 59-01 Tourbillon Yohan Blake Watch Hands-On

Richard Mille RM 59-01 Tourbillon Yohan Blake Watch Hands-On

Richard Mille RM 59 01 Tourbillon Yohan Blake Watch Hands On   hands on

The nickname of this highly exclusive Richard Mille watch is “Mark of the Beast.” It refers to Olympic runner Yohan Blake’s track name which is “The Beast,” given to him as he sprints with his fists open as though brandishing claws. Blake is also a Richard Mille brand ambassador, the latest in a line of athletes that Richard Mille has forced to wear delicate expensive watches while they perform. This was little bit of marketing genius was popularized when people noticed Spanish tennis champion Rafael Nadal wearing a Richard Mille while playing (and winning). At about a half million dollars in retail value, this little court accessory was a bit of a shocker to many people.

The RM 59-01 Tourbillon Yohan Blake isn’t the first Yohan Blake watch. During the 2012 London Olympics Blake wore a prototype that looked like a Jamaican flag-colored version of the Nadal watch. That piece is actually being auctioned off for charity at the OnlyWatch 2013 event in September. It was not until after the Olympics did Richard Mille eventually release the limited edition RM 59-01 watch, and it sure looks different than the prototype. I hope Yohan loves green this much.

Richard Mille RM 59 01 Tourbillon Yohan Blake Watch Hands On   hands on

Richard Mille RM 59 01 Tourbillon Yohan Blake Watch Hands On   hands on

I ran into Yohan wearing his Mark of the Beast watch and a smile. He and Usain Bolt are sort of friendly competitors, coming from the same place and two very fast runners. I believe that Usain Bolt still has the speed edge. Bolt happens to be a Hublot brand ambassador (who created a watch for him). Though Yohan’s watch beats Usain’s in terms of price (for sure). The most noticeable element of the RM 59-01 watch is of course the four bridges on the front and rear of the movement. Richard Mille claims these are meant to look like claw marks. But with their little bulbous ends and green and yellow hue, they remind me a lot more of a frog’s foot. Perhaps a Red-Eyed Tree Frog, the tips of the hands would match the little amphibian’s eyes. I mean let’s be frank, this watch is frog themed. And every frog out there is probably proud, though they did have that cool MB&F HM3 Frog watch to honor them.

After you check out the unique bridge design you no doubt notice the case material. Richard Mille once again seeks to offer something new with the translucent green case on the Tourbillon Yohan Blake. To me it looks like crystallized green tea, complete with leaf particles. No, in fact those little particles are “carbon nanotubes,” and apparently suspended in the injection molded polymer, they give the case 200 times more “resistance” than steel. Though Richard Mille isn’t totally clear on what it is more resistant to. I’d guess shock maybe?

Richard Mille RM 59 01 Tourbillon Yohan Blake Watch Hands On   hands on

19 comments
armenta
armenta

I'm going to quote F.P. Journe from the "Grail Article" also just posted, becasue he says what I intended to say, just more succinctly.

"I am totally against watch creations that have nothing to do with time anymore but which are purely marketing realizations, without any soul or fundamental respect of the horological ethic."

-F.P Journe

armenta
armenta

It would be easy to hop on the hate wagon and totally diss this thing as it lacks in almost every aspect, other than ostentation. For the price tag I would invest in a timepiece with a "real" complication, say a minute repeater.

Richard Mille is just another competent timepiece manufacture buying into the Sean-Claude Biver business model. Yes, you might grab the interest of a new market segment, but you are most certainly ostracizing your old tried-and-true customers. To me it seems narrow minded. Ballers, Rap Artists and the like are always up on the latest fashion, so when the season changes and your Big Bangs and Royal Oak Offshores loose their luster, are they going to sell the overstock to the base of their pyramid, no no. I look at all these tacky one-offs for what they are, an evolutionary dead end for a customer base with an attention span of  a year or so. Every year I feel the timepiece industry keeps kicking sand in the eyes of the people who love them most, I do believe in comeuppance.

Also, totally aside from my previous rant: I think you should have taken a wrist shot with Blake's signature hand gesture. Kitsch I know, but then again so is this watch.

wstephens1
wstephens1

looks like a watch I had in the 70's. Think I paid $12.00 for it . Man I was so cool at 16 years old . Johan can't make a sow's ear turn into a silk purse.

Shawnnny
Shawnnny

That would be 200 times more resistant to being liked and purchased. Especially at that price. I'd rather buy another house.

DG Cayse
DG Cayse

Excellent back-story info in the review. Well done Mr. Adams. Your review of this piece has helped me to "get" what the Mille gist is about. The manner of your review illustrated the combination of technical experimentation and advance combined with the whimsy Mille instills in his work.

If nothing else, we are seeing new materials being added to the creative palate.

And the fact that he is able to command such big money is all the more fun!

I do echo much of Mr.(?) Zeitblom regarding the ridiculous level to which these "celebrity brand Ambassadors" has risen to. I would venture that very few, if any, of these "Brand Ambassadors (horological pimps)" actually 'pay' for their watches. To them, the price of the bling is completely irrelevant. They are nothing more than models for brand exposure. I do like the charity auction follow-through. Nice touch....(tax break there?)


bichondaddy
bichondaddy

Huummmmm...seems to me when I was a kid back in the late 1960's...we use to get Hot Wheels, and then take some paint that my brother used to paint his model cars with...and we would put our Hot Wheels, that we had tied some string around, in a small aluminum loaf pan, cover it with water, and then put several different bright paints in the water, and then pull our car up thru the paint so we could have some wildly colored Hot Wheels to show off to our friends in elementary school.  I'll bet you could remove the movement from a G-Shock, and do the same thing with the case and get yourself a really "groovy" colored G-Shock...and save that $599,900 for something useful!!!  

MKRoma
MKRoma

This reminds me of a "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle" plastic watch I once pulled from a box of cereal.  To each their own though, I'm sure there will be those who enjoy this piece.  Not my cup of tea though.

DangerussArt
DangerussArt

I like how the nose hairs are evenly distributed throughout the booger matrix.

Zeitblom
Zeitblom

Mr Adams, I sincerely appreciate learning, on this blog, about many watches that I would otherwise have remained unaware of. Another thing I have learned from this blog is that celebrity athletes and hip-hop people have very large incomes and very small brains. And that certain brands are willing to prostitute themselves. I guess that is educational too in a painful sort of way....

mcv1973a
mcv1973a

If I were 10 years old, I'd think this watch was awesome.

I'm 42. It's not awesome. As Ulysses pointed out, it's basically a green Hublot. And there is not enough weed in the tri-state area to make me forget I saw this thing.

Work with me for a moment... $600K for this, or $60 for a green G-Shock.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

When did technical prowess and aesthetics get a divorce in the Swiss watch industry?  Sometimes I can't tell RM and Hublot apart.  Solidified green chunky vomit for your wrist.  Are those bridges meant to look like claws?  Looks as luxurious as electrical tape.  

In the zoo, a chimp might be drawn to the bright colours and snatch it from you before realising what it is and throwing it back in disgust.  In the Amazon a lost tribe might steal it and try to smoke it, what with the case looking like it is made of weed.  Speaking of, I wonder how much you'd have to smoke before you forgot you ever saw this thing?

CHANGSUB
CHANGSUB

I think at least 45 watches of limited 50 will be in the store forever. 

Grinnie Jax
Grinnie Jax

620,000.00$ dollars plastic Swatch? Okay...

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

And the really cool thing is how subtle is it. By that I mean, if no one knew what it cost, they would just glance at it and think - "cool Swatch with a plastic case".

mcv1973a
mcv1973a

Such as a home. Or financing your children's education... You know. The little things.

aBlogtoWatch
aBlogtoWatch moderator

@Zeitblom Well ignorance is bliss... but I'd rather we all be dutifully informed.

mcv1973a
mcv1973a

You make a very good point, and I agree with you... but in the last week, there have been articles that still give me hope. The Autodromo Prototipo, the GP Traveller and 1966 models, the IWC "Little Prince" commemoratives. All wonderful examples of the horologist's art.

I could see this watch built as a one-off. Something to showcase new technologies or materials... but selling 50?

I want to tell them good luck, but there will be 50 people in line with more money than sense. And if I ever see one being worn in public, I'm going to point at that person and laugh.

Rick D
Rick D

@MarkCarson I couldn't agree more.  I adore timepieces like this, cutting edge materials science in an unassuming case (to those not in the know).  Wonderful.

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