Let’s face it, there aren’t many brands like Richard Mille. They are effectively the Pagani cars of the horological world, as they are always pushing the limits and interplay of materials, technology and design. Richard Mille is known for his use of numerous complex skeleton movements, curved tonneau cases and exotic materials. Some readers will remember the RM056 model, which was launched at Baselworld this year, in sapphire crystal.
No matter what you think of their watches, you have to admire their drive to make incredible products at truly stratospheric prices. Take the RM027, for example, which features a tourbillon movement and a case made of high-carbon composite material, weighs only 13 grams (without the strap), and actually floats when placed in water. Perhaps the most famous is the watch worn by tennis star Rafael Nadal. I love Richard Mille watches for the same reasons I love the many iterations of the Pagani Zonda, they are crazy, dramatic, and an interesting point of overlap between technical and design passions.
For those who don’t have $500,000 (or more), maybe a limited edition RM032 Dive Chronograph will do? The new Richard Mille 032 Dark Diver Chronograph features a large 50 x 17.8 mm case, so only those with a wrist that matches a wallet can apply. The case is made of titanium with a black DLC finish that perfectly matches the skeleton view of the RMAC2 chronograph movement. The RMAC2 is a self-winding chronograph movement with a flyback function, an annual calendar and a pinwheel running indicator that rotates when the chronograph is started. In typical Richard Mille fashion, the movement is visible from both the front and back of the watch through the sapphire crystal, and the movement itself makes up the majority of the dial.
Featuring the same pushrod locking system as the original RM032 dive chronograph we show here, turning the inner bezel around the crown locks the crown and the pushrod from use and secures the watch for dives of up to 300 meters. Similar to most locking systems in the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor series, the Richard Mille system provides a simple and visually verifiable locking control that not only protects against water, but also ensures that the measures the watch takes cannot be interrupted while diving. As cool as this system is, and even the entire RM032 Dark Diver, I doubt many buyers will take a dive, let alone deep dive, with a watch like this.
The Richard Mille 032 Dark Diver Chronograph is cool and almost completely impractical. Pricing aside, the Dark Diver is pretty big and has a fairly boisterous tone, but I guess that’s the point of a watch like this. Whether I will never own one, I love Richard Mille cheap watches because they represent the cutting edge, a product of one of the dynamic elements of modern watchmaking. Surprisingly, there is a lot of competition at the six-figure price point, but Richard Mille is free to go, and the RM032 is certainly not to be confused with similarly priced Patek Philippe, Lange or Opus.