Richard Mille watches are hideous. I’m constantly amazed that I don’t turn into a block of stone after seeing one. Ugly and and tacky may seem like genetically challenged cousins, in a “can you squeal like a pig?” kinda way. But tacky is exuberant. It shouts a joyful TA-DA! If that TA-DA is truly demented, a watch enters the Tacky Watch Hall of Fame. I nominate the 2018 Richard Mille RM 25-01 . . .
Even a quick glance at the dial tells you the RM 25-01’s designers held nothing back. While the chapter rings aren’t as intimidating as a Breitling “A Slide Rule on Your Wrist” Navitimer, Mr. Mille’s collaboration with Sylvester Stallone has more numbers than a lottery ticket, more arrows than a junior archery competition.
It’s the titanium-cased addendum that put the RM 25-01 over the top. The first Porsche Design watch had an onboard compass too, but the RM 25-01’s spirit level is batshit crazy. “It makes it possible to hold the watch exactly horizontal to improve accuracy when sighting with the compass needle.” Well thank God for that.
There’s a lot of “that kinda makes sense but wait what?” to the RM 25-01. See that silver thing sticking out from the grade 5 titanium case at the 2 o’clock? That contains water purification tablets. I can imagine Sly opening the compartment, popping a couple of tabs into some brackish water, turning to the camera and saying “RM 25-01 – don’t leave home without it.”
The more you read about the watch’s features, the more you can hear the cackling of a mad scientist proudly revealing his insane creation. Here’s the deceptively simple description of the RM 25-01’s engine:
Manual winding tourbillon movement with 24-hour display, minutes, seconds, chronograph, 30-minute totaliser, power-reserve, torque and function indicators.
Behold! The RM 25-01 chronograph-tourbillon comes complete with 65 to 72-hour power reserve (depending on how often you time boiled eggs), free-sprung balance with variable inertia (increases reliability), KIF ELASTOR KE 160 B28 shock protection, free-rotating barrel (down from 7.5 rpm to 6 rpm) and other high-tech stuff.
Just keep in mind there’s a reason your average real world soldier and adventurer wears a relatively simple quartz-powered G-SHOCK. (Note: anything short of a lunar rover is simple compared to the RM 25-10.) But what up with a torque indicator in a watch with a torque limiting crown?
Below 53 Nmm, the spring is considered too slack, while above 65 Nmm, excess tension in the spring can adversely affect the mechanism’s operation, or actually endanger it.
As you navigate through the jungle – avoiding invisible aliens, bad guys with big guns and strange accents and crotch rot – at least you’ll know for sure you won’t blast past the torque limiting crown to overwind your manual wound tourbillon. As long as you pay attention to the torque indicator as you wind the watch, that is.
Mssr. Mille only made six RM 25-01’s, exclusively available at his boutiques for $983k. Who knows? The Swiss watchmaker who applies The Emperor’s New Clothes strategy to watch pricing may have sold them all.
Someone somewhere – other than a billionaire’s eight-year-old son and Sylvester Stallone (who paid precisely zilch for his RM 25-01) – may have even have worn one in public. If so, bravo!
It’s easy to slip on a Rolex or Patek (or Timex for that matter) and enter the world of men with a smile. Slap the RM 25-01 on your wrist and you’re telling some people – but not all – that you’ve got way more money than sense. Or taste. That makes you bizarre. Dangerous. Unpredictable. And, ultimately, an unabashed patron of the gloriously, furiously tacky.
As Queer Eye for the Straight Guy interior design guy Tom Filicia observed “being dull and boring is far more tragic than being tacky.” What a sad world it would be if we didn’t have people like Richard Mille putting the tacky into a “tactical” watch without even a hint restraint, irony or embarrassment – and getting someone else to pay for it.