Richard Mille has announced a collection of six new ultra-light women’s sports watches that weigh just 36 grams including strap.
In a world of ‘unisex’, one-size-fits-all watches, it is always refreshing to see a watchmaker launch a timepiece, or in this case a collection, specifically designed for women. Although, RM’s androgynous vibe and a wider acceptance of dial colour means that the pieces could be equally suited to men’s wrists.
The RM 07-04 Automatic Sport is the first women’s sports watch from Richard Mille, but doesn’t come as a huge surprise. It was around five years after founding his eponymous brand in 1999 that Mille made his first women’s collection.
In a 2017 interview for Revolution discussing women’s appetite for complex mechanical watches, Mille told me: “To suggest that watchmaking is beyond a woman’s realm of understanding or outside her field of interest is just ignorant and insulting. What I always find stupid is when people say: ‘Quartz watches are perfect for women because they don’t want to worry about winding timepieces.’ That’s the point of automatic movements for goodness sake – and not just for women.”
“At first there was little brand awareness among women, so it took time to develop an interest,” he recalls. “But I was sure that there was a market and, for me – and the label – it was a kind of security to be strong in the women’s universe, to be substantial and have a good set-up.
“Strategically it was a real objective from the start. I never doubted that the demand was there for technical watches made for women and I knew the potential was huge.”
Richard Mille has a history of working with end users to ensure that its watches are exactly right for their lifestyles – from Roger Federer to Fernando Alonso, Bubba Watson and Pablo Mac Donough. So, naturally, the brand consulted with athletes from motorsport, golf, athletics and winter sports, including Aurora Straus, Margot Laffite, Nelly Korda, Nafi Thiam, Yuliya Levchenko and Ester Ledecká on the development of the watch.
The watch itself, while as robust and fit-for-purpose as any other RM, is compact and openworked. Requiring three years of development, technical director Salvador Arbona explains: “We had to resolve a threefold technical challenge: extreme skeletonisation, integration of the case with the movement and inclusion of an inverted function selector.”
The new CRMA8 calibre has hours, minutes and a function selector (neutral, winding or setting, indicated via a hand at 5 o’clock) to protect the winding stem from stress. The baseplate and bridges are in black PVD-coated titanium, and the movement is resistant to 5,000 g’s of acceleration. The 30.50 x 44.95 x 10.35mm cases are made in Quartz TPT or Carbon TPT depending on which of the six models is chosen.
So it seems that Mille has not deviated from the mission that he was on six years ago when he said: “My objective was to only be involved with technical watches and I was not going to redefine my philosophy because I was making pieces for women. I have always been equally interested in aesthetics and mechanics, and a well-fitting watch creates a real challenge because you have to adapt the movement.
“I believe that we have the best women’s collection in the world – the categories, the colours and the shape. In fact, I am certain that this is the case because we can’t keep up with demand, and when I see our success, I think I can’t be wrong.”