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Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive

Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive Featured Articles

Richard Mille watches start at around $80,000 USD and go up to several million dollars in price for some of their more exotic timepieces. Richard Mille releases at least a few different $1,000,00+ watches per a year, and the average price of one of their tourbillon watches ranges from about $500,000–$800,000. These are enormous numbers even by luxury watch standards – so a very common question by consumers as well as others in the watch industry is “why are Richard Mille watches so expensive?”

Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive Featured Articles

Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive Featured Articles

Is it that Richard Mille products have that much inherent value and need to be priced that high? Or are there are other factors which allow the brand to (quite successfully) charge that much money for a single timepiece? I (and much of the aBlogtoWatch team members) have studied the Richard Mille brand for a while, spent time with their products, and also had the pleasure of getting to know a range of people at the company, including Mr. Richard Mille himself. It is with admiration that we attempt to unravel some of the branding secrets that have allowed Richard Mille to continue wowing its roster of elite customers with extremely expensive timepieces that they keep buying one after another.

Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive Featured Articles

Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive Featured Articles

Richard Mille himself is a key part of the brand’s special success. In may ways, without him the brand would not continue to be what it is today. I’ll spend a bit more time talking about how the Richard Mille man bolsters the efforts of the Richard Mille watch brand, but first a little of context. Richard Mille began his professional career in the watch industry during the beginning of the quartz crisis – a time when the traditional Swiss mechanical watch industry was heavily under threat from less expensive electronic quartz watches produced in Asia.

Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive Featured Articles

Richard Mille even worked for a company that was eventually sold to Seiko, one of the Japanese watch companies that not only was seen as a major enemy to the Swiss during this era (the Swiss have only recently begun to forgive the Japanese watchmakers), but was also one of a handful of companies aggressively trying to “buy up” many of the traditional watch brands. This time during the 1980s (especially the first half of the ’80s) was complicated and extremely transformational for the surviving traditional watch brands. For instance, at the time Switzerland had only 3% of the total share of watch sales around the globe. That 3% included almost entirely the top echelon of timepieces in terms of price. The implication was that the only watches the Swiss sold were luxury timepieces akin to jewelry (as opposed to tools) that were purchased by the very wealthy.

Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive Featured Articles

Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive Featured Articles

It was in this environment that Richard Mille not only learned the watch industry, but also gained his entrepreneurial spirit. In the early 1990s, he joined the French jewelry company Mauboussin as their head of watchmaking. Less than a decade later, the first Richard Mille-branded timepiece was released in 2001. Richard Mille quickly learned the importance of image, exclusivity, and lifestyle. He understood that while a high quality timepiece always has inherent value, most customers in the luxury sphere simply did not buy products because they were of a high quality. A special formula designed to create both demand and desire needed to be employed in order to ensure not only that customers purchased your luxury timepieces, but also that they kept coming back for more (despite becoming increasingly familiar with your brand).

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Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive Featured Articles

Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive Featured Articles

I mention this last part about returning customers for a very specific reason. When the luxury image of a company is only skin deep (meaning they are selling mostly image and little substance) consumers have the tendency to wise up very quickly. High-end watch consumers tend to be very sophisticated people and strictly seek out value. Brands that are deemed to offer little value tend to not benefit from a lot of return business. Thus, Richard Mille was likely able to identify those brands who got lucky and sold one watch to people, as well as other brands who were able to maintain long-term relationships with customers who kept coming back.

Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive Featured Articles

Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive Featured Articles

Richard Mille is and was a major fan of motorsports. He even collects 1970s-era racing cars. I recall an amusing conversation with him a few years ago when he said that race cars produced after the 1970s were too difficult to collect (and drive) because merely starting the engine usually required custom-made electronics that in many instances were not available after a few years. Mille’s fascination with motorsports such as Formula 1 was integral to his development and growth of the Richard Mille brand.

Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive Featured Articles

Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive Featured Articles

In the late 1990s when he was forming the idea of the Richard Mille brand and developing its first product (the RM001) with partner Audemars Piguet (more specifically the movement designer and maker APRP), Mille made his first important strategic decision – that his company would produce modern versus classic-style timepieces. The plan apparently was for Richard Mille to produce timepieces in the same way teams produced racing cars – with total neglect of production cost and focusing on the use of modern production techniques and materials for maximum performance. It is true that “performance” for a car versus a watch is slightly different, but the concept was more than enough to propel Richard Mille to where it is today – a company that more or less maintains the same direction with their product development philosophy. If anything, what Richard Mille was able to add to the initial formula was the importance of wowing and awing its elite customers – something the work of luxury products (of all forms) has needed to do for centuries.

Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive Featured Articles

Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive Featured Articles

So far I haven’t discussed why Richard Mille watches are so expensive, but my goal has been to properly frame the brand in its appropriate form so that the rest of the discussion below is clear for seasoned watch enthusiasts as well as other consumers who are intrigued by this uncommonly successful luxury watchmaker. In short, I will explain how one of the main value propositions of buying a Richard Mille watch is that it grants you access to an exclusive club, and that despite the price, no one offers more.

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Comments

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  • Good Gene 42K18

    My favorite part was when he told us how much these watches actually cost to make. Jump to page 4 for that juicy info.

    • Tea Hound

      You had me! I actually scrolled up to find the mythical page 4…

      • Good Gene 42K18

        Page 4 is a picture of Ariel riding a unicorn whilst doing the Mutombo finger.
        “No no no. Not today.”

    • Kuroji

      Yeah, that’s really the only detail I give a shit about.

  • Sam Soul

    Why so ugly would be a more appropriate question.

  • JLG

    “Wrong clients”??????
    So for Richard Mille, anyone who’s not an arab dictator, Russian oligarch, super nouveau riche prick, bling bling rapper with a one-digit iq or someone desperately wanting to show he has money is a wrong client? I’m so proud to be a wrong wrong wrong client for Richard mille. the ugliest Glashutte original or ALS is infinitely better, classier that the best Richard mille (if best can be used).

  • PollyO

    Oh, fuck off.

    • Tea Hound

      Comment of the year. Probably next year too.

  • IanE

    ‘Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive’ – because there are enough rich idiots around to keep Richard Mille in champagne and caviare! There you are, I could have saved you a lot of work in writing the article!

  • Titus

    Horologically speaking these watches are not my cup of tea. I really like how they come up with new materials, but all too often I find Richard Mille to be the embodiment of poor legibility and pointless complications/features paired with unappealing colors. But I don’t have to like Richard Mille. Nobody needs such a watch and nobody is forced to have such a watch. And that’s fine. It’s a luxury product and it’s a matter of personal preference. There seems to be plenty of people who crave these products and can afford them. For having figured out a business model of successfully catering to this crowd or at least making money off it, Richard Mille has my respect. While I can see how the actual watches could be seen as lacking in class and ownership be perceived as a proof of poor taste, I think that I never got to know a Richard Mille owner and therefore try to reserve judgment.

    • proudAmerican702

      +1. I have respect for Mille’s ability to tap into the super rich, and make himself super rich in the process. But his watches for the most part remind me of a kaleidoscope–looking inside I see a bunch of nifty colors, but I have no idea what the he!! I’m actually looking at.

  • Ulysses31

    I find these fawning, toadying rambles quite bizarre. The way Adams talks about these elites like they are royalty turns the stomach. I only read the article to confirm what i’d already predicted i’d see, but the audacity of the overriding point of this article (if you could even call it that) is staggering. Insecure ultra-wealthy elites want to be part of a rich club that gives them the comfort of feeling exclusive about something.

    First of all, it’s obvious that the ultra wealthy who can afford anything extremely expensive are part of a vanishingly small group (or club) of people. Purchasing anything of sufficient value would put them in that category, which essentially makes owning an RM meaningless, since the primary intent is to differentiate oneself by the amount of disposable income one possesses. I’ve seen what the ultra wealthy buy, and it’s mostly garbage with a jewel placed inside it. Christmas-tree toppers that are jewel-encrusted for half a million dollars, cup-cakes with diamond decorations for hundreds of dollars per cake (of course you remove the jewels before eating). My point being, most of these elites buy expensive things for the sake of their expensiveness, regardless of whether or not the item being purchased is completely ridiculous. If anything by pandering to this group it undermines the true skill and meticulousness that goes into an RM watch.

    I very much doubt the majority of buyers go over RM watches with a loupe. They want these things to underline the fact that the majority cannot have them. I would suggest that such people are actually very insecure and lacking in much real appreciation in the art of watch-making. As such I don’t suppose they represent the true watch lovers who regularly read ABTW and for whom, quite sensibly, value remains an important factor.

    The strongest do not need or require defining themselves by their membership of any group. As Ibsen said, the strongest man in the world is he who stands alone.

    • JLG

      I agree with everything you said. If someone can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars on a watch and GENUINELY prefers a Richard Mille over a Lange, Patek, Vacheron or JLC, he/she has ZERO taste.

    • ProJ

      Well said

    • Agree. However the man who sharts his pants also stands alone.

      • smoothsweeper

        Not if you market sharting as an expensive privilege.

        • “That was a caviar shart” – is that what you meant?

    • cluedog12

      Standing alone is very lonely.

      In any case, ABTW readers with their value-seeking behaviour form part of a community. Richard Mille owners value being a part of community too, one that is externally branded as elite.

      Those who could buy a Richard Mille have the choice to value seek instead. Those who cannot buy a Richard Mille have the choice to not desire buying one.

      Don’t understand why people shit on Richard Mille so much, even though I also prefer the traditional elites, the independents and Greubel Forsey.

      The brand has deep success at this point, the emperor has clothes.

      • Ulysses31

        I’m not shitting on RM at all, actually. I figured a lot of people would miss that, and they have. I even said already that his watches are very well-made. The point I was making was that the type of demographics he courts probably don’t care very much about his watches except for the exclusivity they represent due to their high prices, something which Ariel was basically alluding to for the whole article. They want to be “in the club” but it’s a club any idiot can get in to by spending on any high-priced item that most people can’t afford – it doesn’t have to be a watch. While there are surely many genuine watch-lovers who do appreciate RM for various reasons, i’d be willing to bet the average RM owner hardly knows much about it other than what they’ve picked up from marketing materials. Where Ariel and I seem to differ is that I don’t admire those sorts of people, while I think Ariel is consistently impressed by such customers and the people who part them from their money successfully. Financial success is not the most important metric by which to measure something’s worth though. There are a great number of products out there that are financially successful and yet aren’t the “best”.

        • cluedog12

          Fair enough. Many of us have felt down on ourselves at one point or another, but few of us can temporarily shut off those voices by walking into a store and buying a Richard Mille. More power to them if they eat up all the marketing material and develop a sophisticated taste for watches. Have you seen the prices for some of those hardcover watch collectors books?

          There is one former ABTW contributor who takes photographs of fancy cars, suits, condos and astronomical watches and I hated his contributions. Eventually I gave up the hate and found the Instagram like button.

          As a business owner, Ariel is probably quite impressed with Richard Mille’s profit margins.

  • BrJean

    This looks like a great start of another series of feature articles on ABTW:

    “Why [insert brand name here] Watches Are So Expensive”

    • Good Gene 42K18

      “Why Chr. Ward Watches Are So Expensive” — 19 pages

      • Tea Hound

        “Why Bremont Watches Are So Expensive” — one sentence: “because Bremont are taking the piss.”

        • Good Gene 42K18

          “Someone’s gotta pay that Henley-on-Thames rent. And that someone is you.” + 5 more pages

          • Thomas

            I regret having but one upvote to give this comment

          • The rent on the South Audley Street (London) boutique may be more.

          • MeaCulpa

            Surely you mean Jaywick rent. It’s firmly established in the ABTW comments that BrahMount is located is Jaywick and that Jaywick is decidedly “Londonish”.

  • JosephWelke

    “Trust me when I say that we find embarrassing things all the time that watch brands do not want consumers to see or know about.“

    We shouldn’t have to trust you. You should be willing and able to tell us. Is the watch industry so fragile it can not tolerate criticism? If so, surely THAT is worth an article.

    • Tea Hound

      I’d like a live conversation between the actual Daniel Wellington and the actual Jean Claude Bremont (or whatever ‘he’ was called). That’d be good.

    • WolverBilly

      “Trust me.” Whenever somebody says that, they cannot be trusted.

  • Good Gene 42K18

    Saudi “royals” buy RMs, keep them for 2 months, get bored, and resell them to whichever hedge fund managers or money launderers (or both) are closest to their yachts. Saudi “royals” buy new RMs.
    That’s the real perpetual calendar.

    • JosephWelke

      So you’re saying an RM is the world’s most expensive “fashion” watch?

      • Good Gene 42K18

        All I’m sure of is that this website is really hitting its stride lately. Good Lord, what content!

  • Yan Fin

    Is Richard Mille the guy in green shorts? Picture on p. 3 looks like he is selling ugly watches on the street.

    • Marius

      Indeed, that is him. In fact, Richard Mille started his career selling fake watches in Pattaya, Thailand. I can confirm that. I initially thought he was a bold Thai ladyboy, so I immediately approached him, but I was soon bitterly dissapointed when I discovered that all he had in mind was selling fake Rolexes. “Look, Rolex, I give you good price” he said. The rest, as they say, is history.

    • TheChuphta

      How dare you. Didn’t you finish reading the entire hagiography? He has fun shoes and tells amusing anecdotes about why he collects 1970’s race cars! Haha! Fascinating!!! He is irreplaceable! He lives such an amazing lifestyle! Where will they ever find another creepy geezer who likes to travel around in private jets going to boat races and partying with celebrities? Truly one of a kind.

      • Where is Thierry Nataf when you need him? (a creepy looking party animal).

        • Good Gene 42K18

          Harry Potter killed him in the eighth movie.

        • IG

          THE NATAF eats Richard Mille for breakfast.

      • BobHoover Tiangco

        Correction. Thats “high end private jets” to you, pal.

  • Bozzor

    I think Ariel has nailed it: in a world where even cheap ass punks like me can afford Gucci, Prada and Givenchy clothing with some smart shopping online, where you can drive a still new looking S class Mercedes for the cost of a Chevy Impala, where mainstream luxury is an everyday attainment for many, there is room for the Paganis and Bugattis. There is a way for the guy making $20 million a year to distinguish himself from the guy making $200K, and it ain’t with no Rolex GMT2 Master. Richard Mille is arguably no better a watch than any Rolex, but it offers one thing Rolex cannot: real exclusivity that the truly rich crave.

    • Thomas

      You mean RM does what F.P Journe does except RM makes loud and tasteless watches

      • Daniel Harper

        I think the guy that makes 200k could easily get a beautiful FP Journe. I know plenty of people that could save a few years to really rock out with their grail Lange, VC, AP or Journe, but I have never met anyone on earth that could afford an RM. If I were to save $100 a week for the rest of my life I would have enough for a half dozen of my ultimate grail, a zeitwerk, but I would only be 1/3 of the way to a mid-range RM tourby

        • Thomas

          Or any high-end tourbillion for that matter. You’re still talking about a non-heritage brand of watchmaking weirdness. Any «limited edition» offering from any of the brands you mentioned could easily cross into «never ever» territory for all but the 0,1%, and don’t even get me started on vintage famous watch models.

          Also lol at the idea of buying one of their “entry level” models for fifty grand with a waiting list of the time it takes to drive to their store until the sales clerk is done kissing your hand for making the worst investment of your life.

        • Jon Snow

          Unless you buy used, in which case you can get a RM for 50-70% off retail. To coin a phrase from the Pontiff, they are soft like dog shit in the sun.

    • TheChuphta

      Don’t forget the sycophants, they want those too and articles like this show there’s no shortage of them.

  • Good Gene 42K18

    Never too late to go back to lawyering.

  • Ross Diljohn

    As far as my personal watch checklist goes RM checks none of the boxes. Also I am not a narcissist or an asshole. Unless you ask my wife.

    • Yes, most wives share that opinion of us.

      • BobHoover Tiangco

        Well it is why they married us in the first place

        • Yeah – who is the bigger glutton for punishment, ha ha.

  • John Mark Booc

    Ill better use that money for top tier haute horology watch (ALS, Vacheron,Breguet etc..)

    • Good Gene 42K18

      And you can get a half-dozen or more of them.

  • Tea Hound

    It’s snowing here. Do any other readers have any other amusing weather-related anecdotes to share with us – perhaps you fell over, drunk, on some ice and broke your back and are now in a wheelchair thus ending your professional footballing career almost before it began, or maybe your beloved dog drowned after falling through thin ice whilst your 16 year old daughter did nothing but video the action for her instagram, or possibly you were burgled by meth-heads on a rainy Christmas day, and you thought you recognised your estranged son as one of the drug-addled assailants, and the look he gave you as he stole your presents, and indeed your life, was half defiance and half soul-destroying sorrow – as I think we’re done with this article and Richard Mille?

    • #The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

      Long build-up to rather simple climax.

      RM appears to be the origins of “Euro-Trash.”
      The article is another thinly disguised ‘Sponsored Post.’

      • Thomas

        It’s kinda hard to make a comment like “eurotrash” when you speak of the swiss watch industry. I rather think RM markets to loud, brash noveau riche like real estate agents in florida with tanlines from their sunglasses.

        • Kuroji

          I thought those guys still bought two-tone Rolex.

          • Thomas

            I think they’ve switched to full gold by now

          • Kuroji

            Classy!

      • Chaz

        More like Middle East Trash…the new wave of ultra coolness…

    • Marius

      Comment of the month! Bravo!

  • Raymond Wilkie

    There’s a line, not unlike this one —-> —————- and this brand has not only crossed it but has gone to a ridiculous level.
    Jealous i can’t have it ? Noooooo. With all the money in the world i wouldn’t be seen dead with one of these on. Pretty much everything i hate about a watch.

    • I like the innovation but not the execution (or price of course).

  • TheChuphta

    Just when I thought that hodinkee had cornered the market in nauseatingly obsequious “articles” about the super rich and their obnoxious purchasing habits, ablogtowatch comes through with this love letter to the most tasteless slice of the .0001%. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, they’ll never love you back.

    • DanW94

      “Elite, exclusive club” “Chill guy” “Living the enviable lifestyle”. It reads a bit like a companion article to the John Mayer- Daytona slobber fest that was on the H last year.

      • Good Gene 42K18

        His chrome dome’s sunburnt red
        And his shorts the color mauve-a
        You wish you were like him
        He’s livin’ la vida coca
        Livin’ la vida coca
        His boat’s chock-full of coca
        Come on!

      • MeaCulpa

        Oh, the video of that tops my cringe list for this millennium.

  • Ariel Adams

    I knew this topic would ruffle feathers but I wanted to discuss it nonetheless. No, nothing like a Sponsored Post advertisement. Thanks for the feedback group.

    • Omegaboy

      This is our virtual Beer & Bitch About It room. I’ll bet RM owners never read ABTW, preferring to subscribe to A Snob To Watch.

      • Yes and “A Snob To Watch” is a paid subscription only magazine (glossy pages, not some shabby Internet blog). Sure the coverage reeks of Robb Report but the subscription price of a million bucks a year insures the only the best people will read it.

        • Omegaboy

          But at least you can wipe with ASTW.

    • Good Gene 42K18

      You knew it was dangerous but you did it anyway. Well get yourself a pleather jacket and some candy cigarettes because you a rebel.

      Please try harder. You’re flagging more than Corum.

      • Gokart Mozart

        “flagging more than Corum”

        That’s a classic lol. I must remember that

      • MeaCulpa

        Your snark is world class!

    • Ross Diljohn

      They make watches,this is a watch based site. My feathers were not ruffled since I and I’m sure damn near everyone here knew about RM watches and their prices beforehand. They are watches not designed Or priced for the mass market or even the every day millionaire,that we all understand. The issue is at what point does a watch manufacturer/brand exit the region of the sublime and enter into the realm of the ridiculous. Indeed RM has the realm of the ridiculous somewhere at a great distance in its rear view mirror in my opinion.

    • palettj

      Ariel,
      What is ruffling the feathers of the comment section is your content and writing abilities. The article reads like a stream of conscious thought. It offers no specific details about RM, or what differentiates them from their competitors. Talk about the factory, design, materials, etc.

      • Good Gene 42K18

        No! I feel like I got some theories and stuff so Im gonna just go with that also thinking about how much Im loving sushi right now like so much but also social value vs social perceived value combined to make inherent value but not really so whats on netflix??

  • SuperStrapper

    With so many experts in the comments section it’s a wonder there aren’t more halo-tier watch bloggers out there with their own vehicles. Literally a busload of armchair professionals happily eating their own shit for enjoyment down here, what a waste of talent.

  • Marius

    I rather liked the article but it could have been much better if Ariel had asked some of his other contacts in the watch world to estimate the build cost of one or two RM watches so we could get an idea of the margins and the size of that Veblen effect.

    • Peter Ford

      I’d say 1/3 is the cost of the abominable watch. The rest is profit.

      • Good Gene 42K18

        So a $150K watch costs him $50K to make? I’d be surprised if it costs him more than $10K.

        • Peter Ford

          You could be right. Whatever they are crap

      • MeaCulpa

        Oh, I’d imagine that a pedestrian brand like Omega or Rolex has a production cost well below a third of MSRP, the biggest expenditure is probably advertising, sponsoring and general marketing. For a brand like RM selling watches ten times the Price of Rolex, albeit in smaller numbers, without much in the way of finishing or decoration I’d bet that the production cost isn’t even one tenth of MSPR.

      • Even for pedestrian/affordable/reasonably priced watches the “Rule of 4” applies. Cost to manufacture (on a fully amortized unit basis), double that to get whole price and double again for retail price. But 7x cost modeling is not uncommon for some watch brands and when you get to brands like RM, I would expect that 10x or more makes sense because the unit volume is very low and your development and marketing costs skyrocket. I’m not defending the multipliers, but you have to know that they exist. BTW – the “fully amortized unit basis” is key as manufactures don’t sell 100% of the parts they produce for any production run. And the smaller your run, the worse it gets. I recall always hearing that the box costs more than the cereal in it. I suspect highly promoted brands such as Rolex spend about as much on marketing as they do on watch production (but I have no data to back this statement up). Cheers.

    • Marius

      Modest Ariel Adams explains that: “At various times over the years I’ve had conversations with people in the watch industry who feel as though they are presenting me with a hot news scoop after they learn Richard Mille timepieces have a hefty profit margin. Not only is this information not surprising, but it doesn’t really matter for the success of the brand.”

    • pingrava

      …And what’s the resale value on this thing?

  • SuperStrapper

    I won’t deny that some good point are made here, and have been made on this blog about RM, why they are who they are, their contributions to horology and their place in the industry. To be very honest it is a brand I’ve always really wished I liked: they seem to embody everything I love about this hobby and gravitate to with many other brands in the traditional-techniques-meet-contemporary-aesthetics-and-materials category. For whatever reason RM always misses the mark with me and so many of their pieces, despite excellence in engineering and execution, just end up looking like mechanical abortions that never got cleaned up. A busy week in the clinic on Cybertron, if you will.

    • Exactly as you said: “despite excellence in engineering and execution, just end up looking like mechanical abortions that never got cleaned up”.

      Forgetting the price, they simply are not attractive or classy to my eye. And the essence of the pricing seems to be, “You may be rich, but I’m far richer than you. I’m in the club of douche bags who need to put simply rich guys in their place – not with any accomplishments or taste, but with a F*ck You priced watch that anyone with stupid amounts of money can buy.”

        • But that one is almost legible – so it’s not really a RM.

          • Yup and does not have the height of a M1 Abrahams, which is unheard of.

          • Reminds me that while I don’t like many You-Blows, there are a Classic Fusion or two that I would wear (but never buy of course).

          • I concur.

          • Gokart Mozart

            There are also a couple of Crown ? watches that I would wear but not buy. They are all older than me as well.

          • Speaking of things older than oneself, I have resolved not to fly on airplanes older than I am anymore. Too many nights in radial engine piston aircraft flying over water – no more.

          • It took a bit of hunting, but I think I’ve found your Crown Watch Company:
            https://sites.google.com/site/crownwatchcoltd/

      • Peter Ford

        Totally agree with you and well l put. Give Me an A. LANGE over this garbage

        • Ross Diljohn

          Exactly

      • Kuroji

        Easier to carry around than a box containing two large metal balls.

    • Gokart Mozart

      I first heard about RM about 15 years ago and liked it and what they stood for. The whole extreme accuracy and a movement that can take serious abuse.

      The relative purity of design has given way to fussiness and headline and sunglasses grabbing looks rather than design cohesiveness and too many illegible dials.

      Also do we have Renaud and Papi rather than RM to thank for the substance behind the design.

      Expensive yes and partly justifiable, but in effect people are buying the watches are also buying the 1970’s race car that he collects.

    • Kuroji

      That’s a hell of an image you paint there.

      • SuperStrapper

        I was holding back

  • Jon Heinz

    I admit, I would if I could; I have always dug the sporty, irreverent and quirky as far as watches go. The article makes sense for the most part; however I think that if there’s a will there’s a way to affording things. How many out there are driving cars that cost as much as or more than their house? Oh, many, trust me. I would also venture that not everyone who owns a Mille also owns a million-dollar home. Priorities. Wouldn’t be surprised if there were more than a few inheritances blown on a single watch as well.

    • Omegaboy

      Buy an Invicta and a coupla cans of fluorescent paint . . . voila!

      • Jon Heinz

        Then I would have a Bamford Invicta 😀

    • kramdrallim

      Yeah I gotta admit I like them as well.Trying to read the time would never get old with an RM. As much as everyone likes to heap shit on the wealthy, if you got the money and you like it, why not? I wonder how many people who have put shit on the people who wear these watches, wear some form of jewelry, or have a tattoo. Even if the item means something personal to a person,wearing it in position where it may be seen, i.e., a necklace, earring or stud or tattoo or whatever, is probably really just that, to be seen. Otherwise you would be more likely to leave it at home because simply owning it would be enough. For what it is worth to others who read this, I don’t wear jewelry of any kind or sport any tattoos or drive flash cars. If I owned an RM I would be hiding it under a sleeve most of the time for fear of someone following me and ripping it off. The only people I would deliberately show it to would be others like me that are into watches .

  • I respect the brand for its business model. But I’ve never seen a product from the brand that I had any interest in owning (or wearing); even if I could afford one. My tastes dictate that a quality product should be somewhat understated. Well made, reflecting high quality materials and workmanship, but understated. So, in my mind, wearing something obviously ostentatious, no matter what the price, dictates the wearer has little-to-no taste. The rapper adorned with multiple gold chains comes to mind. So I can’t help but feel that this is were the target demographic for RM lies. Congratulations Mr. Mille on finding the sweet spot..

    • BNABOD

      honestly all one can really do, is congratulate the guy. Whether one does or does not like the watches it is up to you. I am in your boat, not a huge fan of what they produce.

  • BNABOD

    Could have been a one liner article:”why do RMs cost so much?”….. because they can charge crazy amounts and people for whatever reason (reason is irrelevant) will pay up.
    nothing crazy, no conspiracy , just that way.

    and like my famous grandma would say “il faut de tout pour faire un monde”……..

    • Omegaboy

      Exactly what I was thinking – “Because they can.” Who was it, little Benny Franklin, who said, “A fool and his money are soon parted.”?

    • Kuroji

      But they are MAGIC beans.

  • hoodoo1966

    They are so expensive because of the number of jewels. One model pictured has 71, which is even more than Invicta.

    • smoothsweeper

      To anyone new to this money-pit we call a hobby – hoodoo is joking around.

  • R Ramki

    I agree that the sports personality marketing move is really great, I can’t think of many other luxury sports watches that major ambassadors actually wear “during” said sports. Playing soccer with a hublot on? Or are they driving an f1 car wearing a Tag? Swimming competitively with a Chunky planet ocean on the wrist? I think not

    PS: Sorry but Golf doesn’t count

    Atleast with RM you actually see the watch taking it, dealing with said conditions on the wrists, gotta respect that especially for wildly complicated mechanical watches.

  • palettj

    IMHO this was a poorly written, highly repetitive piece.

  • BobHoover Tiangco

    Three long pages and all I got was something about polishing and turds.

  • smoothsweeper

    That’s a lot of words to explain this: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exclusive.

    But seriously, a lot can be said about brand equity, market segmentation and product differentiation. As many words as there are on this site. But I was expecting an article about RM specifically. I would’ve really liked ABTW to dig into the weeds and investigate the company’s manufacturing prowess and really try to pin down the labor and material cost of their products. I don’t necessarily mean a full-on BOM (like we often see for Apple products) but something more concrete would’ve been great. A lost opportunity, in my humble opinion.

  • WINKS

    Why? GREED.

  • Jason Mirabello

    the URWERK’s are a relative bargain compared to these with cooler tech in my opinion and better looking. ( but also overpriced)

    • Peter Ford

      They look terrible also

  • Peter Ford

    If they cost 100USD, or I could afford one at 1 million I’d never have one. They are crass, vulgar and the most ugly watches I have ever seen. The Emperor’s new clothes springs to mind. God I just HATE the look of the garbage!

  • Peter Ford

    There’s a lot of very, very rich people who wear cheap watches. I geuss they have confidence in themselves and don’t have to wave a million pound turd on their wrist. The late Steve Jobs, Bernie Sanders, etal. One thing money can’t buy is taste and they are the most tasteless brand out there.

    • Omegaboy

      Some peoples’ taste is all in their mouths.

    • Yan Fin

      Yeah, talking about success, class and good taste, particularly Bernie Sanders comes to mind.

      • Good Gene 42K18

        I preferred Berndty Slanders, Denmark’s favorite former cartoonist, peace be upon him.

    • smoothsweeper

      Amen.

      If you really earned your money (and didn’t fall into it) then your accomplishments probably speak for themselves. Also, you’re brain is probably too busy to waste time finding ways to differentiate yourself from other bourgois.

  • Yes I was referring to the tank and yes I spelt that out of my derriere. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • I’ve finally figured it out – they have to be expensive or else no one would buy such ugly watches. Reminds me of the short story “Cruel Shoes” by Steve Martin.

    • TrevorXM

      It’s a good theory. When I look around the Greater Vancouver area with the massive concentration of purposely ugly supercars ordered to clown car specs by all those satellite kids from China and the Middle East, it makes even more sense.

      • Kuroji

        I lived in the GVRD (or GVDR as I liked to call it) in the 90’s. The first thing I noticed when I moved there was the tremendous quantity of terrible cars with fancy aftermarket mags. I just could not fathom the psychology at work.

        • On a related note, one definition of a “ricer” car (at least where I live) is that the wheels are worth more than the car, ha ha.

          Ricer being the country of origin of the car and has nothing to do with the driver/owner.

          • Kuroji

            I thought it only needed a wing and stickers to be a ricer.

          • And a single after-market exhaust pipe the size of a coffee can.

          • Kuroji

            Ooh, you’re right. I forgot about those.

    • Chaz

      SUCH a good book!!!

    • Kuroji

      +1 for Cruel Shoes.

  • TrevorXM

    “Thus, for Richard Mille, high prices act as an exclusionary tactic to
    prevent “the wrong type of consumer” from owning one of the products.”

    Yo, Swizz Beatz is in the house, styling with his RM-10.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4ae3ee0a04492fbb27369d7d68d4fa2ee0d5120c25ec5048ed536506f3ad4363.jpg

    High prices do nothing to assure that the “right” type of customer buy your watches. In fact unjustifiably high prices often do exactly the opposite. Another bogus suck-up article. At least this one was amusing.

    • smoothsweeper

      Swizz is pretty cool. Why isn’t he the “right” type of customer?

  • Chaz

    The douchebaggery runs deep with this one.

    But then again, I’m too po’ to mix in the same circles as Arab sheiks and assorted Armenian Bilzerian types. Or any other “ian” types.

    • It’s s visible sign of being in the club (good from across the room), so members don’t have to open their mouths to prove that they are “bags”.

      • Dr Bodo von Falternfels

        When I’m ‘in da club’ I pays just 50 cent

        • Good Gene 42K18

          It’s your’re Berndtday!

    • Good Gene 42K18

      Like Ian john horwood? All you need to hang with him is a Seiko SNXS75.

      • Gokart Mozart

        I bet he reckons if Rafa had worn that Seiko he would have beaten Federer every time they played together in a final;)

  • Marius

    Ariel Adams, who is tough but fair, starts this sponsored posts in a highly critical manner: “It is with admiration that we attempt to unravel some of the branding secrets…” Well, I would also like to point out a few aspects.

    1. Richard Mille is successful (that’s what he claims; his brand is privately-owned, so we have no idea how successful he really is) mainly thanks to one factor — luck. Richard Mille`s modus operandi, i.e. make the exorbitant price the main characteristic of his brand, was quickly adopted by a plethora of rather dubious socialites. Sure, his watches are not bad, but a hugely important aspect was the fact that celebrities started wearing his watches. If you look back at history, you will see that in the early 2000`s, Franck Müller, who also used tonneau-shaped cases was also extremely popular amongst celebrities. Rappers, athletes, and actors were all spending serious sums for Franck Müller watches which were decent, but not impressive. Where is Franck Müller today? Considering that most RM watches basically look the same, I’m not sure for how long Dan Bildzerian and co. will continue to find them cool before switching to another cooler brand.

    2. This sponsored post talks about how Richard Mille owners are part of an “…elite, exclusive club” and that RM has to keep prices high so as to “select” its customers. Well, really wealthy individuals don’t need a watch to signal their apartenance to “the club” because they ARE part of “the club.” For instance, people such as Bill Gates, Buffet, Jobs, Zuckerberg, Luca di Montezemolo, etc, dress in a very unpretentious manner, and wear a Rolex at best (most don’t even wear an expensive watch) because they don’t care about “signaling” their wealth. If you have to wear a $150,000 RM to “communicate your status” then you are not really part of the club. As a friend of mine who works for Deutsche Bank pointed out, RM and Lamborghini are two brands loved mainly by individuals who want to appear much richer than they actually are.

    3. This sponsored post talks about Richard Mille`s innovative technical approach. Well, I can’t really see this “innovation.” RM movements (they are actually manufactured by Renaud & Papi) are not modern or innovative. They are simply made to LOOK & APPEAR high-tech by using skeletonized bridges and blacked-out parts. Technically, the calibers used by RM use the standard Swiss lever/tourbillon escapement, and are quite traditional. For instance, the annual calendar chronograph movement from a RM 011 is technically very similar to an annual calendar chronograph used by Patek Philippe. The only difference is that the RM caliber looks more modern, and ironically, finishing & decorating it is less time-intensive than on a Patek or Lange. And, if you want to talk about innovative materials, let me point out that IWC developed ceramic cases at the end of the 1980`s (1986), whereas Audemars Piguet developed forged carbon fibre cases since 2003.

    • Sheez Gagoo

      Fritz Müller came to my mind as well. And Jacob. Fritz Müller kicked out half of their staff some years ago. And do you remember all the other brands they owned, usually independents? Is there still one in business?

    • Dr Bodo von Falternfels

      Lèse-majesté!

      • Good Gene 42K18

        Force Manure

        • Kuroji

          This is the second time I’ve blacked out laughing today. I should probably get a CT scan.

    • MeaCulpa

      Excellent post.

      Let’s be real; RM is, for all intents and purposes, the watch world equivalent of the “I Am Rich” app. It’s sole purpose is to communicate that the owner is, well, rich.

      • You saying that R-I-C-H-A-R-D-M-I-L-L-E is an anagram for V-E-B-L-E-N-G-O-O-D-S ??

        • MeaCulpa

          Well yes! Rolex on the other hand is an inferior good.

          Anyways, if you’re really made it you don’t wear a watch, or a phone or a wallet, your PA takes care of all those pesky details in your life.

    • Gokart Mozart

      Agree it is APRP to thank for the movement.

      I think now themain USP for RM is it has to be ultra light and the movement can handle a g force beating an hence the suspended movement.

      I suppose technically this is more useful than a 300m diver which to all intents and purposes is pointless. Other than the sports stars who,probably ironically , the only people who get a discount (of 100%), the will not feel the benefit of the technical ability of the watch.

    • Kuroji

      I bet it helps with the affinity fraud.

    • spiceballs

      Took (some of) my words right out of my fingers.

    • Larry Holmack

      ” For instance, people such as Bill Gates, Buffet, Jobs, Zuckerberg, Luca di Montezemolo, etc, dress in a very unpretentious manner, and wear a Rolex at best (most don’t even wear an expensive watch) because they don’t care about “signaling” their wealth.”
      Totally agree with you! My great uncle was quite wealthy…his money coming from being in upper management of two different international firearms manufacturers….and if you looked at the house he lived in, the car he drove, and the watch he wore….you would have never guessed it. In fact, he left me his watch when he passed along with around 30 vintage ties ( in my suit and tie years, I loved late 1950’s and early 1960’s ties)…the watch…just a normal looking Timex. Nothing fancy. He knew about my love for watches…and he told me in a letter he enclosed with the watch that an expensive watch does not make the man…the man makes the man.

    • JLG

      Excellent and true on all levels sir!

    • Swipster

      By far the best constructive criticism on this post, I do agree with all your points. Much better read than most of the other commenters who base their arguments on: “Wearing a watch like an RM is really a public service, to warn the herd to avoid this toxic dung beetle.”

  • BRIAN

    People like to flaunt their wealth. Like them or hate them these are well made intricate pieces that are very unique. In a room full of Rolex and AP’s you stick out and get to show the room what you worked for.

    Not a common car to be found on Rodeo Drive where the entire reason you go there is to be seen. Do I agree with this? No, but what the sense of having it if people don’t know you have it. Then we get into the ultra billionaire wealthy were they start going backwards and drive a Prius and wear a Timex. Im so rich I don’t care.

    • smoothsweeper

      “you stick out and get to show the room what you worked for”
      “but what the sense of having it if people don’t know you have it”

      lol

  • Now I see it (how to be cool). Wear one pair of glasses while hanging another pair on your t-shirt. Ah ha, I’ve cracked the “cool code”. I already wear v-neck t-shirts and shorts so the glasses thing must be the secret sauce.

    • Yan Fin

      You also need to lose the hair.

  • Steve Loader

    Fascinating article Arial, from an ethnographic perspective.

    Although I’ll never be able to relate to the lives and motivations of the ultra rich (any more than they’d be able to relate to mine), articles like these give me a glimpse of their world.

    BTW I think there’s a missing zero in ‘…releases at least a few different $1,000,00+ watches per a year’.

    Thanks, Steve.

  • Thomas

    “Buying a Richard Mille isn’t just like buying a Mercedes-Benz, but it is like buying a Mercedes-Benz and a house with a garage to put it in”

    Some housing market you buy them in too. Real estate that loses half it’s value when you’re handed the keys is generally bad business.

  • Thomas

    I’d be very surprised if RM doesn’t give A-list celebs watches for free in order to “promote the brand”

    • Oddly, he doesn’t seem to need to. Overpaid celebs buy them, so why give them away to the same crowd might be the thinking.

    • Jon Snow

      Indeed, that’s why he has such a large number of (b list “sportsmen”, like Felipe Massa and Bubbles Watson) ambassadors for such a small brand.

    • IG

      Like that Spanish ape Nadal?

  • Mark Goodson

    These watches are ugly beyond belief. Lego watches. I assume the idea is that everyone can see at a glance you have money to burn.

  • Framlucasse

    “Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive?”

    Because excl. tax, 90% of the price is margin. It’s simple as that.

  • Jon Snow

    The high school newspaper called. They want their prose back.

    • Didn’t William Shakespeare also write for his high school newspaper? Maybe I’m thinking of someone else 🙂

      • MeaCulpa

        You’re thinking of “Wild Bill” Shakespeare, who wrote engaging short stories in the Jaywick Vocation School Herald, I presume?

        • Good Gene 42K18

          I can’t see too good, Dad. Tell me, is that Bill Shakespeare over there? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/08ba35b18327f031338daa5364fd31f21966f161f2a4b0632f0f1df954f8abb9.gif

        • Jon Snow

          Actually, Willy ShakeSpear (his screen name) wears a Bremont for all of his most important performances at the Jaywick live peep show theatre. Graham is the theatre’s founding patron and there will soon be a giveaway to take in a performance of the newest show “Mr Porter does Jaywick” and to design your own Undone to commemorate the happy occasion on ablogtowatch, the world’s most popular watch blog!

          • Good Gene 42K18

            I wonder if abtw would still be the world’s most popular watch blog if you took away the monthly giveaways when half of India dutifully shows up.

      • Jon Snow

        I think that was Lois Lane.

      • IG

        Raymond was writing a regular column titled “The Garden of Earthly Delights” for his high school newspaper about lawn mowing.

  • dhdol

    The emperor has no clothes.

  • Kuroji

    “costed”
    Srlsly?

  • Kuroji

    Minor side note regarding this:
    “It also acts to keep the brand releasing new products that further
    galvanize its customers to take interest in new watches (further helping
    the business sell timepieces)”
    I think it would be a great service to humanity if each and every RM customer were to be galvanized. Probably twice to make sure the zinc coating doesn’t have any holes.

  • WolverBilly

    The Super Rich are just like everybody else, only more so. The really cool people who become megawealthy often remain cool, a la Paul Newman. But the douchebags that get megawealthy show you in every way imaginable that they’re still douchebags. They just have much more grandious methods of displaying it, like really expensive POS timepieces. The syncophants love this stuff, and if really dedicated (to their craft of sucking up), find ways to praise it. The thing is, if you’re actually paying attention they are like a bird displaying mating plumage when you’re really not interested, not in heat, and/or the wrong gender entirely to produce offspring. Wearing a watch like an RM is really a public service, to warn the herd to avoid this toxic dung beetle.

    • Swipster

      Not sure why You’re making such random ass psychological statements, it just makes you seem salty of the fact you can’t afford them. Total ignorance of the fact that it’s taste we’re talking about here, and saying they are ugly is your SUBJECTIVE opinion, my friend. There are rich/wealthy people who CAN afford them but are not necessarily douchebags, you’re just generalizing; saying something like: “Wearing a watch like an RM is really a public service, to warn the herd to avoid this toxic dung beetle.” is damn stupid.

      • WolverBilly

        Turns out I CAN afford my random-ass psychological statements. I’m giving you a C- on your essay and that’s a generous-ass grade, considering it’s such a mess. FWIW, the fact that I COULD afford one of these POS watches means your premise hit its head on the door on the way in. Damn stupid thing to do, and painful.

        • Swipster

          You confirm my premise, if nothing else. First of all, you’re being ignorant and cocky, just the way you profess these customers of the above mentioned brand are. Your premise is as follows: You see me driving an S-class or a Bentley or a Porsche, and you’re automatically going to assume I’m a douche bag? LMFAO, don’t make me laugh. I don’t like RM at all, would I buy one if I had enough money to throw around? – Yes, because I love watches and horology in general. I’d most likely not even wear it, I would still NOT go around and trash talk the product and the people wearing it because of my own insecurities. To sum up, you maybe do have obscene amount of $$ on your bank account but 0 manners or class. #endrant

          P.S. – you are entitled to trash talk the product, by all means do so, because bad products should be trash talked, but your premise: “OMFG, who buys this, only douchebags” is retarded.

          • WolverBilly

            Funny, you decided to trash talk me because of your own insecurites. If ONLY I had the right timepiece, I would be granted immunity! You misunderstand my talk of the RM owner. I’m not assaulting their character, oh no. Good God man, I’m trying to HELP these people! They’re letting the douchebag cat out of the bag with their $200K Casio (and I mean no disrespect for Casio. I have a G-shock somewhere. It was one of the originals. It has a dignity of purpose that is the antithesis of the Mille mess).

            Anyway, thank you for granting me entitlements. I shall trash talk away. You are not entitled to use the term “retarded” unless you are 12 or younger, are seriously thick, or wear a RM watch. At least two of these three are true, methinks. I review cars for a living, by the way. The aformentioned autos can actually justify their price tags, although I get to trash them too, per my entitlement. I don’t trash anybody for the car they drive, unless they cut me off in traffic or turn left in front of me when I’m on a motorcycle. I don’t call them retarded, either. I use the term “Swipster.” Out of non-curiosity, how may non-douchbags do you know that wear one of these Richard “Dick” Mille wrist watches? Paid contract wearers don’t count, although many of them, too, are douchebags. I’ve never met a non-paid one myself, although I never, ever notice what watch really wealthy people are wearing. I really don’t care. I’m more interested in their hair products. THAT’s wear the real money goes.

          • Erik Pendleton

            If you review cars for a living you most certainly can not afford one of the watches.

  • Good Gene 42K18

    Makes you almost long for a Blancpain L-Evolution.

  • Tempvs Mortvvs

    Sponpo…. Sponpo…. Sponpo….no, far from it. Actually, i think that RM is idolized so much that this post may have really been a freebie. A love letter even?

    • Good Gene 42K18

      You can nearly feel the single tear running down Ariel’s cheek as he was writing, “Even though Richard Mille likely can offer sweetheart deals to “friends of the brand” they typically don’t do so.”

      • BobHoover Tiangco

        Perhaps this post will elevate him to more than just a “friend” of the brand. I sincerely hope we see a proper review of his new RM soon!

      • Ariel Adams

        Thank you for that visual. I am amused. No, I’ve not ever asked Richard Mille for a sweetheart deal and I don’t expect to earn one by writing flattering remarks about the brand. Honestly, if I brand ever wanted to reward me for something I did, I would want that to be something unrelated to arguably flattering comments I made about them.

        • Good Gene 42K18

          OK, we’ll meet in the middle and agree that you were softly sobbing (in a masculine way) but nothing was coming out. Possibly due to some tear duct issue. 🙂

          • I think it is inevitable that one forms friendships with some they cross paths with in their professional lives. I consider a few people from watch brands I’ve met at BaselWorld over the years to be my friends. Does that mean I can’t be critical of their watches? No, but it also does not prevent me from highlighting the positive aspects of what they might do.

            I think brands such as RM are naturally polarizing (and I’ve had plenty negative to say about their watches and prices), but I’m glad they are part of the wide, wild and sometimes crazy world of watches. And honestly, 99.9% of us here aren’t their target market, so our very vocal opinions likely have zero effect on their bottom line. So articles like this are a peek into a world most of us will never inhabit (and perhaps are glad not to be part of).

            So we all have fun ripping RM up, but we should also remember not to take ourselves too seriously (and I know you were being humorous with Ariel).

            Happy new year to all.

  • Yanko

    His green shorts are the major contributor to these prices.

  • JF Schnell

    Ever since I started the whatmaking hobby I was lured into the greatest of the trade. Top watches made me dream and want them. With time my way of thinking mature in a way that why on earth I want to show off something so expensive that in most cases it can’t show time without effort. Also why am I lusting over something made of gold, silver and whatever if I can pay much much less and enjoy a great watch. RM never did to the category “my dream watches”. This article goes really in for the rich and famous with loads of money to spend. Even if I had that to spend I would do so not on a watch but on something else (not even luxury/vanity related).

  • wejpasadena

    Thanks for explaining that. Now can you write a separate article explaining why they are so ugly? Then the only thing to be explained is why anyone buys them.

  • Steve_Macklevore

    Amazing how such shrewd, tough, brilliantly successful people can be suckers for an ugly obscenely over-priced piece of tack.

    • TrevorXM

      Because most of the buyers are not “shrewd, tough, brilliantly successful people” — they had their fortunes given to them or secured through dumb luck and they didn’t really earn anything. Most of the ones shown who are not so, the sports figures for example, were given RM watches for publicity purposes. They aren’t suckers because they didn’t pay anything.

      • Steve_Macklevore

        Good point!

    • socrates35
  • 24810

    Is it possible to jump straight to the comments section? Asking for a friend.

  • Swipster

    “Trust me when I say that we find embarrassing things all the time that watch brands do not want consumers to see or know about.” – One would expect for you to publish these embarrassing things that consumers should know about as this is a watch review blog.

    • Steve_Macklevore

      I agree 100%

    • kramdrallim

      And the side on view macro photo just below that statement shows the facia coming away from the case material ,look closely…

  • JLG

    It is interesting to see how negative the perception on RM watches is across the board. What is extremely cynical though is that pro RM would automatically accuse you of bashing the brand because you cant afford it, while the truth is most people are furious as to how such an ugly unclassy vulgar monstrosity of a watch could be so expensive. RM watches are really a celebration of vulgarity, bad taste, nouveau riche bling bling and vanity.

  • Good Gene 42K18

    Since we cannot know how much it costs Richard Mille to make one of his watches, can we know how many watches he makes per year? Is that allowed?

    • Marius

      As far as I know, Richard Mille produces around 2,000 watches per year.

      • Good Gene 42K18

        So if they sold only their lowest-priced model and gave every buyer a 20% discount, that would still be $128 million. Not bad for a 2,000-watch microbrand. That’ll get you a big house in France.

        • Marius

          My main problem with Richard Mille is the destination of the proceeds.

          It is interesting to notice that although RM is a relatively small independent brand, it has sponsorship and marketing contracts with two Formula 1 teams (McLaren and Haas), as well as with internationally-renowned athletes such as Nadal and co. As you can imagine, these athletes don’t wear & promote RM watches for free. For instance, I doubt that the McLaren Formula 1 team sports the RM logo just out of pure friendship. Similarly, I doubt that Nadal shows up at various RM launch partys for free. You can be certain that a large part of the price of a RM watch goes towards these sponsorship contracts.

          What’s more, Richard Mille himself has a very lavish lifestyle (multiple mansions, an impressive collection of vintage Formula 1 cars, private jet, etc.) although his brand is only ten years old. Sure, Swiss and German high end watches also have high margins, but the problem with RM is that his margins are so high that he is essentially taking the piss.

          When you are buying a RM watch, you are essentially a) financing the lavish lifestyle of Mr. Mille, and b) putting money in the bank accounts of Nadal, McLaren, and the rest. Personally, I’d rather used the €150,000 to improve my own lifestyle rather than giving them away to Richie Mille.

          • John B

            While you are absolutely correct Marius, if you buy any luxury item from any company or brand you are lining the pockets of someone. I do understand with Richard Mille you are lining their pockets with platinum threads. The fact of the matter is you can’t get anything remotely close to a RM unless you buy an RM.

  • Pete L

    I guess these are worth what the mega rich are willing to pay. Love reading about them and the technology involved but would I want one? Probably not. Same reason I don’t really like Rolex as too conspicuous and ‘look at me and what I can afford’. For the price of an RM tourbillon you could have a great and varied collection (plus a property to keep it in and a Ferrari ffs!)
    Also Martin Brundle wears them and that is not an association I would want to be part of. (love Massa though)

  • Alex

    Great article

  • Good Gene 42K18

    I don’t know why but Richard Mille watches give me a Charlie Rose vibe. Like ol’ Chuck is the kind of guy who has one. Commencing google image search…

  • Good Gene 42K18

    I’m not completely anti-RM, but if I were starting a high-end collection, RM wouldn’t be in my first 20 acquisitions. Just wondering, if $ was unlimited, would RM be in anyone’s Top 10?

  • Matthew Rowe

    His designs take courage to make, and the ultra wealthy who buy and wear them need designs like this to justify the coin they’re dropping on something of dubious actual value. And maybe, just maybe, the wearer actually likes the piece.
    Even though I do find them ugly myself I can’t help but admire what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. At least they’re not talking the usual conservative Swiss approach to this craft…

    • Tea Hound

      Running into a burning building to rescue trapped folk takes courage. Being in the armed forces or in the Police, or working in a hospital takes courage. Making an expensive, ugly watch just takes confidence.

      • Matthew Rowe

        Point taken, Mr. Hound.

  • Spangles

    This was awful.

  • Bruce Wang

    Hope you can “not” meet many people around you asking what time is it now because you’ll take time to answer (or not) due the difficult to see the “dial”…..

  • Beefalope

    The most vile, obsequious, vapid article I’ve ever read in ABTW. This site has officially jumped the shark.

    Fuck you for writing this trash, Ariel. Now get on with banning me so I’m not even tempted to return here again.

    • Good Gene 42K18

      Hang around for the end-of-month/year round-up. That should send you off like a raging rocket.

    • Ryan

      Hope fully you are banned ya twat¬

    • Ariel Adams

      I’m not going to ban you just because you don’t like this article. You are obvious angry about other things and are taking it out on people who have nothing against you or mean you no harm. I get that expensive watches can cause frustration, which is exactly why I wrote this article. I don’t take offense to your anger because I think it is entirely misplaced. Hopefully you can chill a bit and realize that aBlogtoWatch is intended to be a welcoming place and not one where you or anyone has the right to take out their anger on fellow watch enthusiasts.

      • Good Gene 42K18

        Why do you always assume that people you don’t know are angry about their lives and are taking it out on you for no reason? Maybe they love their lives and are simply unhappy with your writing, whether for good reason or perhaps mistakenly. Is that completely impossible? Not that I condone flipping out…
        But they’re all going through bad divorces right now…

  • Spangles

    As a counterpoint to this, here is a quote from Yoshifusa Nakazawa, of Seiko’s Micro Artist Studio, about their famed Eichi II:

    “Although this kind of simple watch is still a luxury product, it’s not ostentatious. It’s not a watch that is bought as a fashion object, but because the buyer knows its quality. The purpose of some other exclusive watches, ones that contain jewels or lavish amounts of gold, is to be seen. The quality of a simple watch is known only to a few people. It is worn to satisfy yourself and your own preferences. That is a simple watch.”

    “Another aspect of a simple watch is that the value stays constant. The quality doesn’t change over time. It retains its value even over 100 years, so you can hand it down to your children and grandchildren. I think one of its best features is that it can be cherished over a long time.”

    • socrates35

      And what exactly is its ‘quality’? I’d hazard a guess that would be the same exclusivity and exclusionary pricing as the RM / GF models the article refers to. Just that the design language differs, and consequently different marketing techniques have to be employed (language, imagery, backstory)

      • Spangles

        The quality is in the hand-work that goes into crafting the watch, not modern materials that will one day soon be cheap and luxury hype so beloved by Ariel which will also soon be worthless.

  • Ryan

    I love RM and all they stand for and anyone who misses the point should get a new hobby. I’d much rather own a RM than a Patek as RM stands for fun and not taking yourself too seriously whereas Patek has lost it’s way since TS took the helm. Bravo RM, keep doing what your doing!

    • oaguilar

      Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin are classics with over a century of craftmanship, these things are just ugly, like if made in the former Soviet Union for peasants.

  • Steven UK1

    Just my opinion, but I believe Ariel Adams is quite simply right… and why some people won’t agree, if it contradicts their own belief.

  • Geraldo123

    Actually a very nice watch that I would love to have in my collection, but I simply can’t afford them. But then again, there’s a lot of things that I and others can’t afford. I enjoy seeing the Mona Lisa and the Statue of David and the Sistine Chapel, but I can’t own them. And that’s ok with me.

    • Consistentlyinconsistent

      Thoughtful..

  • Good Gene 42K18

    great watch!

  • socrates35

    Until that trailer trash Powerball winner of the $500 million jackpot decides he/ she wants to join the club, and is shrewd enough to get some smooth-talking power broker to act on their behalf to snag a couple… Just kidding! But seriously, if we were to buy into this reasoning “A major value of many luxury products is in the communicative value to make such statements while wearing the product. Luxury isn’t just about rewarding yourself, but also in being able to effectively communicate to the right audience your status, power, and success. It doesn’t matter how many people recognize that a Richard Mille watch is expensive, but rather that the right people will recognize it and know what it means.” how would the person intent on owning a RM timepiece differ from one determined to own a be-jewelled bling-ed out Jacob & Co. number?

    • Consistentlyinconsistent

      Billionaires don’t have the same tastes as millionaires

  • AW

    And then people see El Chapo’s son Ivan Guzman flaunting his 4 Richard Milles with total value over 1 milion $, or Dimitry Peskov (V. Putin spokesman) showing his 600k $ one. Enjoy your “are you an corrupt official or drug dealer?” questions.

  • Torben Pedersen

    All very nice, but still – damn! they’re ugly! They look like overdesigned timepieces made by a teenager high on something.

    • Consistentlyinconsistent

      It’s art. As perceived by some..

      • oaguilar

        Not me

  • Hass10wong

    I understand Ariel’s points and I do think they’re valid. Unfortunately, nowadays there are just way too many rich 2nd generation kids that buy expensive luxury items like these to justify that it is about communicating success. I think it wouldn’t be too much to say that its just about showing off.

  • Consistentlyinconsistent

    Excellent article. It would have been perfect if you went more into what the watches are made of.. but then again, are we even privileged enough to know? Lol

  • robert lulek

    I think maybe I wouldn’t mind to wear one but case in point people joke about Hublot watches I was wearing a spirit a big bang with diamonds and rose gold crown someone said to me wow is that a Richard Mille I had to laugh I told them yes but that watch you could pick up brand new for 47,000 which to me is an obscene amount of money nevermind what price is Richard Mille watches are selling for just for the privilege of wearing something that is not so great looking and looks like a toy I’m a big gentleman and prefer to wear AP watches which I think I get value from and find them very beautiful I like to feel the heaviness of a watch gold or platinum I feel at least I’m getting something for my money not something that is light as a feather and feels like it came from a Cracker Jack box I will never understand the mindset of people just because something is limited and expensive they will pay the price for it people can take anything and if somehow it catches on in some way through a celebrity Etc they can make tons of money a case in point and Donald Trump’s first book The Art of the deal he had a friend who was a painter who was famous he didn’t mention names it was nearly noon time on the clock the painter said to Trump Donald with a grin do you want to see me make $5000000 before noon time Donald not quite understanding said how the artist spread out a canvas on the floor and went on to Splash paint all over it he said there I just made five million dollars the human heart is ridiculous the prerogative of people in this world has to change and value conception must change be content with what you have and value something for its true value not because you need to build yourself to a higher level of esteem then what God intended for you to be forgive the run on sentences I am using voice recognition

    • Michael

      Let me buy you some punctuation since you may have spent all your money on AP watches 🙂

      • robert lulek

        I guess you didn’t bother to pay attention as most dumbasses do not.I said pardon the punctuation I was using voice recognition as I am doing now.I did not feel I have to have punctuation on such a stupid topic anyway

  • oaguilar

    Pretty expensive and pretty ugly watches.

  • Jojodoc W.

    The thought of even thinking about spending two million dollars on a watch is just obscene.

  • Trevor Hillier

    My as well wear a G-shock, with a post-it note on your forehead showing your net-worth

  • Really interesting details I must say. Didn’t know so many things about the man behind it. I guess the brand name itself is a big enough reason for the high costing. After all, it’s one of the primary luxury watches. Well, on a slightly different note, can I get a few suggestions regarding where to head to for the best luxury watch in Singapore?

  • Ed

    Quote: when I say that we find embarrassing things all the time that watch brands do not want consumers to see or know about.
    Could you be more specific? Would love to know the kind of things that watch brands do not want consumers to see or know about.
    Thanks.

  • Ed

    Quote: when it comes to modern-design watches, no one we can think of offers this kind of high-quality experience when it comes to admiring the parts and finishing.
    Is it only for modern-design watches, or all watches?
    What about the A.Lange & Söhne watches?
    Thanks.