Richard Mille RM 65-01

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The Richard Mille RM 65-01 Split Seconds Chronograph is the Swiss brand’s “most complex” timepiece. So complex the dial only has room for four Arabic indices. It’s a bit confusing sure, but fans of Dexter’s Laboratory are ecstatic. Oooooh! What does THIS button do? . . .

The Richard Mille RM 65-01 keeps track of hours, minutes and seconds; the date and a timed event. Is that it? A G-SHOCK owner wouldn’t get out of bed for a function set that small.

RM 65-01 winder and chrono pushers

The Richard Mille RM 65-01 may look like a modern version of the Breitling Slide Rule, but it’s a stopwatch with a push-button for rapid winding. Let’s all say it together: we don’t need no stinkin’ push-button winder! Especially one that requires 125 presses to go from zero to 60 (hours of power reserve).

When it comes to justifying spending six or seven-figures on a Richard Mille watch, it’s not about functionality per se. It’s about showing the world that you have more mad money than a rapper (unless you are a rapper). I mean, showing your appreciation for a watch thicker than a ham sandwich that’s made of high-tech materials; a timepiece that turns its back on the Zac Brown’s assertion that life’s too short to be so damn complicated.

Richard Mille RM 65-01 function indicator

Ironically (hilariously?), the Richard Mille RM 65-01 defies legibility by trying to simplify legibility, complete with a function indicator (above).

All those colors splashed around here, there and everywhere aren’t meant to ape unicorn vomit. Everything painted orange is chronograph-related. Blue elements relate to your split seconds functions. Green bits are date window related. Red elements are for winding.

Red/green color blind billionaires are SOL.

Richard Mille RM 65-01 caseback

The Richard Mille RM 65-01 calms the f*ck down on the reverse of its 44mm by 49.9mm tonneau-shaped case. The caseback is a something of a disappointment. I reckon the movement cries out for some Tron-like lume. And a little Lightcycle zipping around its bridges.

Oh well. At least it’s expensive.

Richard Mille Boutique Crystals Las Vegas

You can only buy the Richard Mille RM 65-01 Automatic Split Seconds Chronograph at an RM boutique in London, Las Vegas, NYC, Geneva, Beverly Hills, Istanbul, Geneva, Paris, Boston, Singapore, Aspen, Dubai – wherever Russian oligarchs roam. The RM 65-01 retails for $310k.

The last time I checked, Chrono.24 had 774 mostly pre-owned RM’s for sale (Richard Mille Watches Are Ridiculous). As of this writing, the number’s down to 509. Assuming a $250K average price, that’s $127,250,000 worth of RM’s waiting for a new home. Chrono24’s current online inventory represents a tenth of the brand’s annual output.

Margot Robbie Richard Mille ambassador

All things considered, the Swiss watchmaker’s high-tech handiwork is still popular – and not just amongst RM’s long list of freebie-loving celebs. I guess mega-rich horophiles are buying into the misbegotten idea that a horrifically expensive watch is an investment. Either that or they’re waving their Mille in the air like they just don’t care.

I still maintain there’s an RM glut. But then I consider one unsold Richard Mille a glut (if you know what I mean). I also reckon RM prices will crater if and when the world economy suddenly realizes it’s being propped-up by funny money – and a lot more dramatically than high end brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet.

Tacky watches - Richard Mille RM 25-01

Although it’s not good old-fashioned high horology, the Richard Mille RM 65-01 is a relatively restrained timepiece – for a brand that doesn’t know the meaning of the word restraint. A Swiss watchmaker that specializes in the worst kind of visual excess this side of the $360k Jacob & Co. Opera Scarface Watch.

Parmigiani Tonda Chronor Anniversaire

That said, the RMAC4 movement powering Richard Mille’s “most complex” watch is surprisingly traditional: a rejigged Vaucher VMF 6710. The six-years-in-the-making temporal engine was first modded by Parmigiani Fleurier in 2017 for their $135k Tonda Chronor Anniversaire. (A model that won the the GPHG chronograph gong.)

The two Swiss timepieces couldn’t look more different (unless one was digital). Neither floats my boat. If you gave me a Richard Mille RM 65-01 I’d sell it, buy a $30k Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse and donate $300k to the Veterans Watchmaker Initiative. You?

10 COMMENTS

  1. I wonder why no one has done “bust-down” RM yet. Maybe I’ve been watching too many TraxNYC videos out of hate recently (they’re rip offs, not frauds) since they’re overcharging everyone.

  2. Pushbutton winding sounds like a total joke. What’s worse that spinning a wheel? Pushing the same button over and over! I normally want to decipher unintuitive dials, but why should I bother if they don’t?

    Were there a gun to my head and I had to wear either a Richie Millie or some Jacob & Co. wrist terrarium, I’d choose the Mille box. Any other situation, I’d liquidate it ASAP, which might require an actual ambassador, not a brand ambassador.

  3. If they’re having trouble moving them, they should just rebrand them “Podinkee.” And, then target all the folks that bought that travel clock.

  4. Mille is currently one of the largest Swiss watch producers by revenue. Only Rolex, Omega, Cartier, Longines, Patek, AP, and Tissot are larger, in that order (with Omega, Longines, and Tissot rolling up to Swatch Group). But unlike those established, and broadly purchased brands (even Patek and AP are broadly purchased compared to similar price watches) Mille is playing a fickle game. Franck Muller used to be the hot brand making tonneau shaped complicated watches. But they quickly fell out of fashion. Nobody put it better than Jay-Z:

    “had a Muller but I switched it for a Mille ’cause I’m richer”

    • The point is that just like Muller, Mille is one insightful, crisp rap lyric away from switching from hot to not. A big threat is that the advanced materials that Mille bases its identity on keep getting commoditized. I would argue the Zenith Defy does the RM shtick much better than RM, and the prices are significantly less (although if you are in it for the status, not the advanced technology, that may be a bug).

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