For people that don’t wear timepiece, it is pretty hard to conceive that collectors will pay millions for rare models. Most people I meet these days own an Apple watch because of its functionality. Even Australia’s former Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull can be seen (at many public events) wearing this device. However, in the world of celebrity mechanical watches still, seem relevant because brands will pay huge amounts to secure sponsorship deals. One of the most successful partnerships to date is Richard Mille’s collaboration with tennis legend Rafael Nadal. Recently the ‘King of Clay’ secured his 12th French Open title, whilst sporting his RM 27-03.
Previously I have reviewed several watches from Richard Mille and featured them in two of my books (‘Independent Watchmakers’, ‘Limited Edition Watches). I also got the chance in Singapore to wear the $620,000 RM-59-01 Tourbillon Yohan Blake. For most people, it is incomprehensible that a watch could cost more than a decent house. However, days after my review was published this distinctive bright green timepiece was sold. This poses the question was it bought as an investment or because someone loved the aesthetic. The same analogy is applicable to Richard Milles new Bonbon collection.
A few weeks ago I had an in-depth conversation about non-conventional watches with a publisher of a renowned Singapore based magazine. He felt that most buyers still desire classical round watches rather than Avant-Garde designs. However, Richard Mille seems to defy the rules and that is illustrated in his new flamboyant Bonbon collection. If other brands experimented with candies, pastries and fruit, it could appear quite gimmicky. Certainly, these vibrant watches aren’t going to appeal to everyone’s tastes (especially if you favour more traditional pieces) but I love them. In particular, my favourite is the RM 16-01 Fraise with lightweight textured rectangular Carbon TPT case.