Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR
Established in 1999, the Swiss luxury watchmaking business was founded by Richard Mille and Dominique Guenat. Almost immediately, the brand quickly rose in popularity in the extremely niche market and has been followed by success ever since.
One of the founders of the brand, Richard Mille himself, decided to launch a range of watches in 1998, after leaving his position at the Place Vendome jeweler, and presented his plans to Dominique Guenat. Furthermore, Mille wanted to create his own brand, which, in turn, would create a brand new business model that would be removed from traditional marketing strategies.
The two ended up creating the brand, after growing their friendship fueled by their shared interests in mechanics and cars. They decided to combine their interests of mechanics and cars with innovation and technology when creating their new brand of watches.
The first watch was presented at Baselworld, the world watch and jewelry show in 2001, and had a manually-wound mechanism fitted with a tonneau-shaped case, which revealed the mechanism on the inside. Today, this remains the main feature of the brand’s identity. Additionally, the strap of the watch was made from the crystal from mineral glass as well as leather. Just four years later, the brand launched its first ladies’ watch in its collection, and soon after, managed to make a name for itself in the ultra-luxury watch sector.
All due to the technology and the innovative materials that the brand decided to use, Richard Mille quickly became a popular and very sought-after item with the top one percent of the one-percent in society.
A big part of the inspiration behind the watches comes from the study of shock-resistance as well as racing cars. Both of these things, when applied together, made it possible for the brand to improve the overall rigidity of the watch baseplate, give high shock-resistance and reduce friction for the timepieces.
Richard Mille watches have also set several records, including one of the most accurate wristwatches ever created, one of the lightest watches, and the watch watch with the most amount of shock-resistance.
The reason behind the popularity of the watches from this brand is fairly simple: the brand decided to forego the traditional marketing strategies and focus instead on a very niche segment of a market, and create timepieces that would all be available as limited editions. The brand only makes several thousand timepieces every year, and the entry-level price starts at around $80,000 USD, while the rest go up to approximately several million dollars.
The timepieces by Richard Mille are only worn within the most exclusive circles of society, and the brand reinforces this message by partnering with ambassadors in those circles. The brand only targets markets within very developed countries and, in its short lifespan, has become a symbol of luxury as well as style.