Richard Mille has become the latest luxury watch manufacturer to take a decisive step toward becoming a full-fledged manufacture, announcing the opening of its new case and component factory in Les Breuleux in the Swiss Jura.
The new facility, called Proart, is an ultra-contemporary 3,000 square-meter (32,000-square-foot) building designed by the Chavanne architectural firm. It will make Richard Mille watch cases as well as certain movement components, including baseplates and bridges. Until recently, Richard Mille has been largely dependent on outside manufacturers with which it has developed good relationships, such as Vaucher and Audemars Piguet Renaud et Papi , for much of its movements, and on nearby Donze-Baume, purchased by Richemont in 2008, for its cases.
In a press release, the company stated that the opening of the new factory is “very much in keeping with the brand’s strategy” and “enables the company to further consolidate its position in a market segment for which it is perfectly suited in terms of both staff and logistics. The technical quality of Richard Mille watches manufactured in limited numbers has progressed in recent years, as demonstrated by the RM 039 Aviation E6-B Flyback Chronograph, an extremely technically complex and high-performance timepiece of which just 30 pieces will be produced. The development of these kinds of products in such small volumes and to such high standards is only possible through in-house production.”
Completion of the Proart factory has taken more than two years, and the materials used in its construction were chosen with environmental concerns in mind. The factory, which is managed by Alain Varrin, already has its machinery up and running and the company has hired 30 CNC programmers, inspectors and polishers, who are already working on-site.