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Hands-On With The Richard Mille Bonbon Collection RM 07-03 Cupcake, RM 07-03 Marshmallow, And RM 16-01 Fraise Watches

Hands-On With The Richard Mille Bonbon Collection RM 07-03 Cupcake, RM 07-03 Marshmallow, And RM 16-01 Fraise Watches Hands-On

It might sound creepy and all, but I sometimes wish I were a fly on the wall. Like when the idea for the Richard Mille Bonbon Collection was first raised and presented at the brand’s HQ, or when fellow exhibiting brands at SIHH saw Richard Mille’s swan song at its last SIHH this year. In other words, the Richard Mille RM 07-03 Cupcake, Richard Mille RM 07-03 Marshmallow, and Richard Mille RM 16-01 Fraise are basically destined, and perhaps programmed, to upset people — even though I am sure we would all agree to a watch industry in which such cheeky creativity is the be-all and end-all.

Hands-On With The Richard Mille Bonbon Collection RM 07-03 Cupcake, RM 07-03 Marshmallow, And RM 16-01 Fraise Watches Hands-On

I don’t know. Maybe you think you do, but in reality, you cannot know for sure, either. What I mean is that I still don’t know if the Bonbon Collection is meant as a practical (and ridiculously expensive) joke, or if it is a genuine product created after careful consideration of market research and a deep understanding of a dedicated customer base. It would be tempting to go for the practical joke aspect, especially since Richard Mille is among that handful of brands that could actually pull off such a bonkers move. Just look at that wilfully wonky “SWISS MADE” text in a place where nobody asked for it or the actual cupcake-shaped crown, both on a $130,000 watch.

Hands-On With The Richard Mille Bonbon Collection RM 07-03 Cupcake, RM 07-03 Marshmallow, And RM 16-01 Fraise Watches Hands-On

Or just look at this diabetes-inducing dial, with lollipops and other types of sweets I don’t even know the names of, all crafted by hand and laid over an elaborately machined, high-tech titanium movement that few in the luxury watch industry could even describe how to make — let alone actually make it. For the record, Richard Mille has been relying on Manufacture Vaucher’s expertise for its less complex automatic movements and on APR&P for its complicated calibers. The bipolarity between a child’s dream-diet and ultra-high-end watchmaking is enforced by those thick hands, which are so shockingly massive and elaborate they could give a seasoned hand-manufacturer sleepless nights over the prospect of a wasted life.

Hands-On With The Richard Mille Bonbon Collection RM 07-03 Cupcake, RM 07-03 Marshmallow, And RM 16-01 Fraise Watches Hands-On

Forcing the prospect of an elaborate joke aside, could this be a product that has come to be after Richard Mille has taken a good look at the ultra-high-end luxury accessories market, its current trends and hot-sellers, as well as the heartfelt wishes of its established customer base? Maybe all it wanted to do is design a funky, colorful, and cheerful watch that would cater exactly to them? Ariel said it best when he referred to these as jewelry items in our hands-on video from when we saw the Richard Mille Bonbon collection at SIHH 2019.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe luxury jewelry, in general, not only gets a pass for being this playful and creative but is also by and large encouraged to be exactly that. By contrast, according to some, creativity in watchmaking should be limited to shaping the plates in a hand-wound chronograph movement a bit differently… Maybe a red chronograph seconds hand is acceptable.

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Hands-On With The Richard Mille Bonbon Collection RM 07-03 Cupcake, RM 07-03 Marshmallow, And RM 16-01 Fraise Watches Hands-On

This has set the foundations of an environment that is often hostile and extremely critical of watches of arguably weird and unusual bursts of creativity. As such, over the years we have seen hot-selling brands get severely criticized by those so insistent on a, ahem, more traditional taste. Some historic brands, as well as quick-to-the-top ones, had been motivated by their success to release increasingly bolder new watches that they thought their brands were strong enough to take. Franck Muller and Audemars Piguet immediately come to mind with different versions of their own mistakes — and having suffered for them big time. The difference between them and Richard Mille is that, apparently, the Richard Mille brand is robust enough to bear such a cheeky twist on its core designs — though it is notable that RM has left the famed RM-11 well clear of this adventure.

Hands-On With The Richard Mille Bonbon Collection RM 07-03 Cupcake, RM 07-03 Marshmallow, And RM 16-01 Fraise Watches Hands-On

Just look at where the world’s leading high-end fashion houses are taking women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories and you will see how basically none of the established ultra-high-end watch brands are offering anything that would even loosely fit into the world of bold proportions and crazy colors dictated by fashion companies and followed with immediate effect the world over.

In line with the painful absence of actually trendy women’s watches, I have trouble imagining these pieces spending too long on the shelves. As far as women’s watches are concerned, none of the established brands come close to such borderline ridiculous levels of creativity. These days, Cartier and Bulgari are playing it too much within the confinements of their own DNA, while Patek Philippe and Jaeger-LeCoultre are limited to mixing neatly executed craft with vaguely emotional inspirations, mostly cheesy stuff such as the fish of the seas, or the aurora borealis. The world’s fashion-conscious rich simply can’t fit those into their daily rotation of expensive clothing — and so those watches, with very few exceptions, only really pass muster within the dimension of horology but don’t make enough of an impact outside. Sad, but true. Richard Mille goes all the way, into and through the wall, and gives its peers what they apparently want/need these days.

Hands-On With The Richard Mille Bonbon Collection RM 07-03 Cupcake, RM 07-03 Marshmallow, And RM 16-01 Fraise Watches Hands-On

Hands-On With The Richard Mille Bonbon Collection RM 07-03 Cupcake, RM 07-03 Marshmallow, And RM 16-01 Fraise Watches Hands-On

The Richard Mille Bonbon Collection actually consists of 10 different references, split into four pieces in the “Sweets” and six pieces in the “Fruits” line. Each reference is limited to just 30 pieces, so a grand total of 300 Bonbon Collection watches will be made. For this hands-on article, we sampled three pieces: the Richard Mille RM 07-03 Cupcake, Richard Mille RM 07-03 Marshmallow, and Richard Mille RM 16-01 Fraise, with the latter essentially being the men’s model of the three. To me, none of the names or collections makes any sense. My favorite of the bunch, the RM 16-01 Fraise, the blocky-colorful thing above, is named the strawberry and, hence, belongs to the Fruits line, while essentially only having candy and fruit-shaped candy all over it.

Hands-On With The Richard Mille Bonbon Collection RM 07-03 Cupcake, RM 07-03 Marshmallow, And RM 16-01 Fraise Watches Hands-On

Hands-On With The Richard Mille Bonbon Collection RM 07-03 Cupcake, RM 07-03 Marshmallow, And RM 16-01 Fraise Watches Hands-On

These being Richard Mille watches, they are of course chock full of high-tech and also highly refined details. Countless layers of variable thickness of Carbon TPT make up the bi-color cases of the Fruits collection, while TZP Ceramic is used to create the creamy-soft cases of the Sweets collection. To make the dials, a total of 3,000 hand-painted and hand-lacquered miniature sculptures were made and a new “sugar coating” effect was developed using powdered enamel and the fine sand from hourglasses — apparently. It’s old-school artisanship wrapped inside Carbon TPT.

Hands-On With The Richard Mille Bonbon Collection RM 07-03 Cupcake, RM 07-03 Marshmallow, And RM 16-01 Fraise Watches Hands-On

So, why should we watch lovers care about this weird collection of outrageously expensive candy watches? Because they shock us into remembering that haute horlogerie and delicate crafts need not only be used to create derivative watches that somehow, I suspect, get a pass and these won’t. But something is telling me that the small workshop that made the 3,000 colorful dial components had a field day meeting this challenge, as opposed to painting the gazillionth cheesy enamel image onto a round dial. Just guessing.

Hands-On With The Richard Mille Bonbon Collection RM 07-03 Cupcake, RM 07-03 Marshmallow, And RM 16-01 Fraise Watches Hands-On

To answer the original question, I think the solution is that the Richard Mille Bonbon Collection is a mix of both: It is a practical joke crafted after carefully gauging the number of established and tentative Richard Mille customers who have their black Centurions erect and ready for a swipe to be part of an elaborate joke like this. It’s horological entertainment performed at unrivaled levels of quality in execution, topped off with the showoff power of the Richard Mille name. Give me a reason why that wouldn’t work.

Prices for the Richard Mille Bonbon Collection range between $122,500 to $158,000 USD, and you can see the entire collection at richardmille.com.

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  • Swiss_Cheese

    You would have to steal a convoy of trucks, all carrying fully laden porta-potties to get anywhere near this level of piss-take. That being said, despite the fact these are the visual equivalent of a cavity (coincidence?) it’s good to see a few more ‘higher end’ hands on reviews alongside the usual $250 – $4k lot.

    Also, while I won’t say I feel particularly ‘sorry’ for someone having to review a $150k candy watch, I will say it takes a certain level of writing skill to do a serious article discussing the material and movement of a watch when it, well, looks the way it does.

  • IanE

    Fun article – very enjoyable to start the day (thanks!). They will, I feel sure, never be grail watches, but I guess they could be fun to wear once in a while – if you happen to be in the super-wealthy bracket for which they are just pocket-change!

  • SuperStrapper

    Candy doesn’t have to look good to taste great, so why wouldn’t i have a lick?

    • Sheez Gagoo

      Have you ever received a chocolate bar shaped soap which smelled like chocolate? I burped chocolate flavoured bubbles for one week, so be carefull what you whish.

      • SuperStrapper

        I survived Thrills gum, so I’m sure there’s a dark beer out there to wash down chocolate soap

  • Marc D.

    David, I think your assessment is spot on. While these RMs are repulsive, they are in my opinion no more so than the traditional(ly) cheesy, hideous offerings for ladies’ watches by the established brands. And these are at least fun, kinda. (I’m pretending I didn’t read there are models RM intends for men to wear.) If I were a woman into watches not willing or able to wear men’s, I would downright despair.

  • Jaime Henderson

    These arent really any more ridiculous than those garish sporting watches that look absurdly huge on the sloppy wrists of aging, fashion illiterate white men. At least these are a sensible size and dont have faces the size of a pickel jar lid. And honestly not a fan of exotic cars or aviation, which most luxary watches take design inspiration from, but i do love candy. Call me when someone makes a $15,000 Pokemon watch with 151 complications. It better say “Kanto Made”

  • DanW94

    Next to some of the Moser offerings, these are are perhaps the best example of horological trolling I’ve seen. You can sugar coat it any way you’d like, these are absolutely dripping with toothsome irony.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Pulled off ! Seriously! Now I like a joke as much as the next man ( and Megan ) but Words fail me.

  • Berndt Norten

    Who can take a wristwatch
    Candy coat it in bling
    Charge a hundred large
    Live like El Debarge
    The Candy Man…

    • DanW94

      I know Richard his watches are sweet
      100k for a shiny treat
      The nouveau riche, it’s what they desire
      Might as well burn that cash on a funeral pyre
      I want candy…
      I want candy…

      • Berndt Norten

        Come with me Danny
        I’m your Milley sweet sugar Candyman
        Spend like the wind
        Fly with me to Bountyland
        Bite me I’m yours
        If you’re hungry please understand
        This is the end of sweet sugar Candyman!

        • DanW94

          Don’t recognize that one. How about this one…

          I smell TPT and candy here
          Are you wearing that Mille on a dare?
          Who’s that casting envious stares
          In my wrists’ direction
          Mama, this surely is a dream
          A lollipop, vanilla and cream kind of dream…

        • Raymond Wilkie

          I wish that you were my watch
          Sweet things, I will never get enough
          If you show me to the sugar watch tree
          Will you give me a Richard Mille for free?

  • H.S.M.

    I like savoury treats, so no thanks.

  • Gokart Mozart

    Just what I have been waiting for.

    A legible Richard Mille.

  • Gokart Mozart

    I think i like it but am not sure.

    If they did the marshmallow with a black case rather than the white it would be a lot cooler.

    I love the way the index are squishing the Marsh mallow.

  • Even if these 2 hand watches with not very interesting movements didn’t look ridiculous, the thing that offends me is the mark-up. I’ll be extremely generous and say they cost $10K to make (which I know they don’t). So they are priced at 10 times cost. I hear Richard Mille has a nice vintage car collection. This sort of nonsense is what pays for all what. Good for him as a business man, but I wouldn’t wear one of these dead (maybe I need to add that to my will, ha ha).

    Maybe Elton John could rock one of these. Outside of that, I’m at a loss.

  • Ulysses31

    The blue one and the white one actually look pretty good. Ignore the golden turd crown on the white one and focus on the pillowy soft marshmallowy goodness on the dial. I have such low expectations for RM nowadays that if little Richie, that specially-abled young man, can draw even a stick figure, it’s cause to celebrate. These watches are meant to look like candy – they do! That deserves a shiny gold star for little Richie – no no, don’t eat it…

  • Simonh

    The world has gone mad, when consumerist junk is worth nearly 10x the average salary in the UK.

  • hatster

    Thanks for reminding me it is Halloween this month.

  • Larry Holmack

    I really don’t know what to say…except these watches are as ridiculous looking as some Invicta’s….but almost 1000 times more expensive. SMH….

  • I’d agree if it was a $130K watch – but it isn’t – it is just priced like one. Cheers.

  • Pedro Lambareiro

    Oh… this will be popular around kids playgrounds.

  • Jon Heinz

    Why not try to end suffering in the world instead?

  • benjameshodges

    I’d wear a flump watch and I don’t care who knows it. Beautiful photography.

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