“I brought you candy because flowers is perishable…” It is singing the famous chorus of Jacques Brel and Richard Mille, 67 years old, welcomes visitors on a booth, seeming to come out of Three Seats for the 26th, the film of Jacques Demy (1988). Sweets roses, lollipops, green, marshmallow, lilac, orangettes fluorescent suspended from the ceiling and displayed on the walls, along with shelves filled with real candy placed in glass jars. For aficionados of high watchmaking, bodied like a Formula 1 car and inflated to the talent testostéroné of the former director of export at Matra, the immersion in this universe sweet does not lack surprise. But the French, a master of surprise, since the creation of its brand in 2001, remains consistent. Explanations.
the model of The “Softness” of Richard Mille, published in thirty copies. Richard Mille
LE FIGARO. – A collection of watches under the theme of candy… You wanted to mark a large blow for your last SIHH?
Richard MILLE. – Yes, I wanted to go with a fireworks display! And against the foot of the land where it was waiting for us. For the past eighteen years, the axiom of my mark has not changed one iota: to find out the haute horlogerie of his ivory tower, his Olympus hushed opening to the art of living and other fields of exploration. Everyone loves candy, which refer to the sweetness, to childhood, but also in the feminine. Today, the women’s line that we launched in 2005 a cardboard box, it weighs more than 20 % of our turnover.
Our ambition is to achieve 30 % to 35% in the watches for women. This vintage, 2019, placed under the sign of the treats, is unisex. It is a theme charming. It is not obliged to make watches superagressives all the time! On our departure the SIHH, it is motivated by the evolution of our distribution. With the development of our stores single make, we do not take orders on the show. We are going to introduce another format for the presentation of our creations. With our friends and distributors, we just buy a country house and a vineyard of 35 hectares in the south of France near Draguignan where I was born. And this is where we will receive our guests, the next year, when the field will be in the past in organic farming.
These ten designs “Fruit” and “Sweetness”, published, each in thirty copies and the most expensive exceed 160.000 euros, have a new complication movements?
No, we used several of our templates existing that give the hour, minute, and if you’re lucky, the date… The technical prowess lies in the aesthetics of the pieces. You have to get up early to reproduce in enamel and affix miniature of sweets and lollipops on the inner workings of the caliber. Ditto with this dial Marshmallow we sandblasted the enamel to regain the texture and the softness of the marshmallow. The housings are made of carbon and quartz to obtain a polychrome degraded way cupcakes! The reception of these sweets, which give the time is incredible: 300 pieces are already sold.
“If you’re in the extreme luxury, it is necessary to offer him an extreme luxury. If, tomorrow, the brand began to produce 300,000 pieces per year, it will sell but it will be in the wrong”
Would this mean that you transform everything you touch into gold?
let’s Say that, since 2001, the brand grew to a growth rate of 15 % per year. And the demand continues to explode so well that we are out of stock everywhere. This is a problem: several of our shops (forty in the world) are empty. In 2017, we produced 4000 watches, 4600 last year and we expect to make 5200 in 2019. Our turnover amounted to 260 million swiss francs (approximately € 231 million) in 2017, 314 million (approximately € 279 million) in 2018 and we should reach 360 million (approximately 320 million euros) this year. The average price of our watches follows this upward movement, exceeding the 200,000 swiss francs (approximately 178.000 euros). Not to mention that in public price, we will break through the one billion swiss francs (approximately € 888 million) in 2019.
How do you explain this success ?
By the coherence between the discourse that we are holding, manufacturing, limited of our timepieces and our exclusive distribution. The customer has evolved, no longer supports the hiatus between the image and the watch. If you’re in the extreme luxury, it is necessary to offer him an extreme luxury. And if, tomorrow, the brand Richard Mille will produce 300,000 pieces per year, it will sell but it will be in the wrong. In haute horlogerie, the concept of the series short and limited volume has become a major element in the expectations of the customers. This may not be a product overused, or an industrial product. This clientele fond of innovations demand to be constantly surprised.
What will be the next surprise that you their book?
watch a very special designed with the singer Pharrell Williams. It will be released this year.