SIHH 2019: Richard Mille's Candy Land, The New Avant-Garde Bonbon Collection
Mille's new candy-hued Bonbon collection with inventive complications is good enough to eat.
Last September, when Richard Mille announced that he would no longer be exhibiting at SIHH after the 2019 fair, it sent a shockwave throughout the watch industry. The landscape of watch shows had already been shaken by the news, released in late July, that the Swatch group was withdrawing from Baselworld.
In his withdrawl statement, Mr. Mille said that the trade fair model no longer worked for his company. And that makes sense. There is such a high demand for the brand's technologically advanced timepieces that the company doesn’t particularly need to court watch retailers and press. The company deemed that there are more effective ways to introduce its latest innovations to the world.
Richard Mille's inventive collections, including the new Bonbon, have always drawn a lot of attention, whether or not they've been introduced at a watch show.
On the opening day of SIHH, Richard Mille unveiled a joyous new 10-piece series of watches: The Bonbon Collection. He's certainly going out with a bang.
The line is pure wrist candy (pun intended). Each model is meant to resemble something sugary-sweet and to revive childhood memories.
The line also draws from Richard Mille's nostalgia for his boyhood. We didn't know he had such a sweet tooth. The new watches are based on three of the brand’s iconic models, the RM 07-03, RM 16-01 and RM 37-01, and are taking them over the rainbow.
“The idea was to revisit the existing collections while playing with color,” says Cécile Guenat, jewelry designer and the artistic director for the collection. “This allowed me to bring out a pop-inspired sense of fun.”
LOVE IS THE SECRET INGREDIENT
Richard Mille has a well-earned reputation as a disrupter in the watch world, and marches to the beat of his own drummer when it comes to design. As whimsical and fancy-free as the Bonbon collection looks, its fanciful decoration is as technologically advanced as its mechanics. Cécile Guenat was the first woman to design a watch for Richard Mille, the RM 71-01 Automatic Tourbillon Talisman. And her ideas for the Bonbon collection allowed the whole RM team to unleash its creativity.
“In all, we developed a palette of 60 colors for this collection,” says Guenat.
The brand’s vast experience with tinted ceramics and layering materials helped realize Guenat’s vision. The brand incorporated Carbon TPT, Quartz TPT and 3D finishes that look like real sugar glazing and miniature lollipop-shaped hour markers, to name a few.
SUGAR AND SPICE
While its colors are unabashedly vibrant, Guenat designed the Bonbon collection to be unisex. The younger male attendees at SIHH seemed to have no problem with wanting to wear one of Richard Mille’s candy-colored confections.
The collection is broken into two groups. The six-piece Fruits series consists of the RM 16-01 in Lemon and Strawberry, the RM 07-03 in Blueberry and Litchi, and the RM 37-01 in Kiwi and Cerise. The Sweets line has the mouth-watering RM 07-03 Cupcake, RM 07-03 Marshmallow, RM 37-01 Lollipop, and RM 16-01 Liquorice.
A couple of fun facts (because everything about this collection is fun): the RM 16-01's liquorice shape is achieved by stamping out the form, then coating it with black chrome. And the colour of the Fruits collection comes from a special, painstakingly applied acrylic paint to lend the miniature candies a realistic texture.
I WANT CANDY
As one of my colleagues declared, this collection sparks a lot of joy, and desire. Only 30 examples of each model will be produced. And although prices range from $122,500 to $158,000, rumor has it that the waiting lists for all of these sugar babies are already full.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell & Pierre Vogel)