Watch enthusiasts have come to expect only the utmost in artistic and technical know-how from the Richard Mille universe. Especially since Cécile Guenat took over the design reins, the launch of the brand’s feminine collection annually is now a highly anticipated affair.
On the back of the debut of the monochromatic RM 71-01 Talisman two years ago and followed by the delectable Bonbon Collection last year, the creative and development director proves her creative mettle by upping the ante and repertoire for the ladies collection in each subsequent year.
Call it good timing as Guenat’s latest blockbuster for Richard Mille is just what we need in a year that has been devoid of celebration and cheer. In a nod to the current obsession with electronic dance music, she intuitively references the heady and liberated age of disco and Studio 54 in a throwback to ’70s quintessence.
“It was established very early on in the process; I was in a Studio 54 state of mind—listening to disco, funk and R&B,” she says. "This collection is so different from anything we’d done before, even if we had used some coloured stones in previous watches. The Bonbon collection helped us introduce this colourful and fun aesthetic to our audiences, and we decided to explore this vein even further.”
Infused with a profusion of light and prismatic colours, the ten models of the RM 71-02 Automatic Tourbillon Talisman collection are each presented in a 7-piece limited edition. They are a vision of resplendence being rendered in a burst of coloured stones combined in sensational sequences never seen before at Richard Mille. Case in point: tsavorites, spessartites, amethysts, diamonds, spinels, rubies and sapphires—exuding magnetism and magic.
Furthermore, the ornamented dials evoke a talismanic energy and spirit that allow one to reap the curative benefits from the stones, such as to gain strength from hematite, find inner balance from malachite, achieve clarity from lapis lazuli, seek protection from sugilite and receive healing from pink opal.
The settings of the precious stones are wonderfully configured to display eye-catching geometric motifs over the entire case as well as the dial.
“The intense glamour of the disco era resided in a multiplication of colours and textures,” Guenat explains. “I had to find a way to make this idea tangible. Working with the stones themselves proved to be a considerable challenge. Because stones of very similar hues can end up looking completely different depending on their size and the type of setting.”
Understandably, more than six months were required to ascertain the positioning of the stones to achieve the optimum effect—the epitome of supreme craftsmanship.
Though distinguished by the different arrangements of stones, setting pattern, engraving and the central decoration of the 0.90 mm-thick dial, all the watches share the same CRMT1 calibre.
First introduced in 2018 as the beating heart of the RM 71-01 Automatic Tourbillon Talisman collection, this is Richard Mille’s first automatic tourbillon calibre as well as the eighth in its line of in-house movements. Taking 1,000 hours of development, the technical marvel of the tourbillon mechanism is integrated into the core of the movement, weighing 8 g and measuring 6.2 mm.
And if that does not set the bar high enough, bringing the RM 71-02 to a whole new level is a series of unique bracelets for each model. Imagine embossed discreet vegetal motifs at 12 o’clock and geometric lines at 6 o’clock divvied into two distinct shades, replete with metallic-treated patent leather that works to amplify the visual pull of the stones.
And finally, the time has now come for the revelation of Richard Mille’s ten “dancing queens” with inimitable characters: Bianca, Carmen, Jessica, Grace, Gloria, Jane, Liz, Donna, Diana and Paloma. Each of these singular horological gems of the nightlife embodies the essence of the women they are named after—whose strength, glamour and beauty have been set free for the wearer of each RM 71-02 timepiece to channel, enjoy and luxuriate in.