Richard Mille creations have always been easy to spot in a crowd. Thanks to their avant-garde styling, generous use of color, and overall level of technical sophistication, it isn’t difficult to comprehend how the firm has evolved into one of the most recognizable brands in contemporary horology. The new Bonbon collection, released this week at SIHH, continues this trend with a spotlight on sweetness. That’s right, the lineup of 10 watches, each a limited edition of 30 pieces, borrows liberally from the candy of our youths and transforms the face of each timepiece into a scene straight from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
The entirety of the new collection uses the construction of previous Richard Mille timepieces as their base. Recognizable models such as the RM 07-03, the RM 16-01, and the RM 37-01 have been completely transformed and sport a refreshed aesthetic. Cécile Guenat, the daughter of Richard Mille’s founding partner Dominique Guenat, served as the artistic director for the series and injected each model with an extra dosage of joie de vivre.
The 10 releases are further divided into either the Sweets collection (four watches) or the Fruits line (six total). The watches in the “Fruits” grouping all use Carbon TPT® or Quartz TPT®, the same layering materials found in popular models like Rafael Nadal’s RM 27-03 Tourbillon. The watches in the “Sweets” line are encased in two-tone ceramic. All the new watches include various details that help them stand out. Some models have miniature fruits and candies sprawled across the dial, while the crowns and case bands on other models take the shape of cupcakes and bowls of gelato.
Development for the collection began 18 months ago and over 60 colors were workshopped and finalized throughout that time. Guenat and her team leaned on the expertise the brand gained during their work with the street artist Cyril Kongo for the RM 68-01 to complete the project. The miniature sculptures seen on the dials of the Fruit collection are painted in acrylics before being lacquered by hand. Finally, a ‘sugar coating’ effect is achieved through powdered enamel and then covered in the fine sand used in hourglasses.
Richard Mille has proven time and time again that his unorthodox methods and unanticipated releases are a major reason for his continued growth. At first glance, it might be hard to comprehend the value of such whimsical creations, but there’s no doubt that they provoke a response. Guenat and her team did an excellent job of refreshing previous generations of RMs with their bright colors and fantastical confectionary-based miniatures. The Richard Mille Bonbon collection is full of vitality and is a reminder that, even during one of the busiest weeks of the year for the watch industry, collecting doesn’t have to be such a sober and serious endeavor and can instead be light-hearted and full of joy.
Prices for the Richard Mille Bonbon collection range from $122,500 to $158,000 with delivery expected this summer.