For 2015, Swiss Richard Mille further develops their collection of ultra-luxury timepieces for women with a new timepiece model produced from a case almost entirely crafted from synthetic pink-colored sapphire crystal.
The new RM 07-02, nicknamed the Pink Lady Sapphire, is actually a giant gem. The watch housing is carved from a large pink sapphire studded in diamonds and trimmed in 18-karat rose gold. The piece is one of the most detailed and complicated designs the company has ever created and is priced at £678,571 (approx. USD $1.03 million).
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Richard Mille has been producing a select number of men’s watches in clear sapphire crystal since 2012 when they debuted their first sapphire-cased watch. Since then, sapphire crystal-cased watches from Richard Mille have commanded prices in excess of one million dollars, going up to over two million dollars.
According to Richard Mille, the machining of sapphire crystal cases has been their “toughest challenge yet,” which is a lot coming from a company whose unstated mission is to push the limits of modern luxury watch technology and performance to new levels no matter the price or effort required. Richard Mille states that the case for this new Richard Mille RM 07-02 Pink Lady Sapphire Automatic watch required over 40 days and almost 800 hours to machine properly. The hardness of sapphire crystal (which is pretty much only second to diamond) is so tough that properly machining the necessary angles, curves, and shape of the distinct tonneau-style Richard Mille case is treacherously complicated (and actually wasteful, as so many machine parts need to be constantly replaced).
Once Richard Mille has a finished sapphire crystal case, it is quite an accomplishment because enough of them don’t even survive the milling processes. While sapphire is extremely hard, it is also totally inflexible, meaning that the right pressure can cause it to crack – so the failure rate when machining is probably quite high. Other than the o-rings used to ensure water resistance, the case of the pink sapphire Richard Mille 07-02 watch is held together with grade 5 titanium spline screws.
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At 32.9mm wide and 46.75mm long, the elongated barrel-shape of the Richard Mille RM 07-02 Pink Lady watch case is eminently feminine, despite the presence of what might normally be considered masculine touches with Richard Mille’s signature high-tech industrial look that relishes exposing as much of the mechanical construction as possible. In pink, this sapphire crystal case offers a much more distinctive look than the majority of luxury watches out there in materials such as gold or platinum. At least for now, there is a built-in degree of exclusivity, as no one else out there has a competitive product. Of course, given the retail price and theme of the RM 07-02 Pink Lady Sapphire, Richard Mille has imbued the design with diamonds.