Cécile Guenat, Richard Mille’s creative and development director, shares the thought process behind two new additions to its RM 07-01 collection

“They are all a bit unique­—watches and women both,” says Cécile Guenat, the creative and development director of Richard Mille. As if a testament to how strongly this sentiment is held in the hallowed halls of the brand’s workshop, Richard Mille’s creations for the ladies have always been in a league of their own. One may call them ostentatious, extravagant, or experimental, but one can never accuse them of being staid.

Upholding this tradition of irreverence are two of this year’s additions to the brand’s iconic RM 07-01 ladies’ collection, the RM 07-01 Automatic Starry Night, and an RM 07-01 Automatic with an open-link red gold and carbon TPT bracelet.

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The “TPT” in carbon TPT stands for thin ply technology and the material is prized for its strength, weightlessness, damascene patterned effect, and moiré sheen. Conventionally considered a sporty, high-performance material, it is boldly combined with precious gems and metals in these new watches.

“When it comes to materials, we never make a distinction between our ladies’ and men’s timepieces,” Guenat reveals. “Carbon TPT may feel more suitable for sporty watches, but these variations clearly show that it can be a perfect match for different styles of timepieces. It’s very elegant and lends a modern aesthetic with an impressive look and feel on the wrist.”

In the RM 07-01 Automatic Starry Night, carbon TPT is used in both the case and the strap, resulting in a lightweight watch with a strap that tips the scales at just 29 g. The dial and bezel are studded with 181 diamonds held in place by red gold prongs. Setting gems in the carbon is no small feat.

“Carbon TPT is a very tough material to work with, so to set stones in it, special CNC machines equipped with diamond bits are required to create the mitraillage (drill holes) for setting,” Guenat explains. The red gold prongs are then attached before the diamonds can be secured in place. “We have been setting stones in carbon TPT since 2017. This demonstrates once again our expertise and creativity in machining innovative materials.”

In the RM 07-01 Automatic with an open-link red gold and carbon TPT bracelet, the matt black of the carbon is juxtaposed beautifully against the shine of the polished red gold. Ticking away in both timepieces is the in-house calibre CRMA2, a skeletonised automatic movement.

The merging of sporty and precious materials in these new creations perfectly embodies the design philosophy held at Richard Mille. “Juxtaposition—the best of technical innovation combined with the highest level of artistry—has always been at the core of the brand,” says Guenat. “We can never rest on our laurels. I think it’s a good thing. It’s always exciting to cross certain boundaries.”

Cross boundaries, it certainly has. But although many of Richard Mille’s designs may have purists raising eyebrows and shaking their heads, the team stands firm in the path it has chosen to take. “Luxury is too complex to define in a simple way. It is multifaceted and everyone experiences and perceives it differently,” Guenat points out. “For me, irony, joy, and tongue-in-cheek playfulness also have their place in creating an experience of exclusivity and luxury. In fact, such self-awareness is essential.”

For the right customer, Richard Mille’s approach isn’t hard to appreciate. “We are really noticing that women have become open to many more contemporary materials for watch cases, such as ceramics, carbon TPT, quartz TPT, titanium, sapphire, and more. The result is that the palette of possibilities for women has become very broad in comparison to what it was like several years before,” Guenat shares.

“A typical preconceived notion is that women are only interested in the aesthetics of a timepiece. Yet, our female clients today also expect technical perfection and special mechanical features. They want the best of both worlds. They look for perfection in every aspect of a timepiece as a complete expression of watchmaking. I think that having a strong identity in each model or collection helps our watches inspire women to want to own them.”

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