A lot of the time I receive press material from brands informing me of new boutiques or partnerships with celebrities. Even though I can appreciate this is an effective way of marketing it isn’t the most important factor. My main focus has always been to concentrate on innovative design and experimental materials. Sometimes these two things don’t go hand in hand as smaller more experimental watchmakers don’t have vast budgets. However luxury brand Richard Mille seems somehow to be able to combine both of these elements effortlessly.
I am always exceedingly impressed by the power of self-promotion within the watch industry. Personalities like Maximilian Büsser and Jean-Claude Biver have sold vast amounts of high-end timepieces over the years by employing expert marketing techniques. However arguably Richard Mille has created an even more luxurious and exclusive product. He has also accomplished this staggering achievement in a relatively short space of time. Probably this is because he comes from a target-oriented background and treats the business as a commercial enterprise. Ultimately I have no problem with this because I feel all his watch designs are sophisticated and revolutionary in some aspects.
Where I feel Richard Mille has triumphed over some of his competitor’s is via strategic collaborations with elite sportsmen. Fortunate ambassadors include Rafael Nadal, Felippe Massa, Bubba Watson and Yohan Blake. Prior to this review I had never actually seen the RM-59-01 Tourbillon Yohan Blake, never mind had the chance to actually wear it. Dimensionally the watch measures 50.24 x 42.70 x 15.84 mm, which should appeal to the serious male collector. I also feel these proportions will make a bold statement without being too imposing. Generally I found the timepiece exceptionally lightweight and comfortable to wear. Essentially this is because the watch is constructed from high performance materials like carbon, alloy and titanium.
Visually the RM-59-01 Tourbillon Yohan Blake has got a really radical appearance that will only appeal to a very small demographic. What makes this watch so distinctive is the translucent bright green textured composite carbon tonneau shape case. The colours of the Jamaican flag inspired this unusual feature. I absolutely love the wonderful skeleton dial showcasing the brilliant mechanical elements of the watch including the tourbillon. Other intricate details include a yellow/green chapter ring, open worked hour/minute hands, bezel with 20 spline screws and trademark-oversized crown. Overall I feel the minimalistic composition has an industrial feel and the finishing is unsurpassed.
Beneath the rugged exterior lies an exceptionally complicated bespoke manual winding tourbillon movement. The Calibre RM59-01 comprises 19-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour. All of the components (bridges, baseplate, balance etc) are manufactured by hand and constructed from lightweight non-corrosive materials. This entire splendour is visible through the anti-reflective sapphire crystal exhibition case back. Although the RM-59-01 Tourbillon Yohan Blake only features hours and minutes there still is an enormous amount of detail to look at. The timepiece is also water resistant to a depth of 30 metres.
The RM-59-01 Tourbillon Yohan Blake is equipped with a vibrant green rubber strap. For similar exclusive timepieces visit Malmaison in Singapore (http://www.thehourglass.com). Priced for the discerning collector at: $620,000.