It was in 2021, that Richard Mille launched the first RM 07-01 Colored Ceramic watches. They followed the earlier RM 07-01 unveilings of slimmed down watches for women and the Bonbon collection of about five years ago. Now the innovative brand that likes to play with materials, technology and craftsmanship unveils an Endless Summer capsule collection in the RM 07-01 line. Consisting of three new watches with lightweight TZP colored ceramic bezels and case backs, the series is inspired by the famed Memphis design movement of the 1980’s – and it is evident with a single look at the watches.
At a glance, art-loving watch collectors can easily envision Italian designer Ettore Sottsass’ Memphis Design movement. Eschewing the norm and embracing bold and unique designs (much like Richard Mille), the architect and designer opted for new geometric patterns, mixed shapes and different colors all in one piece. When he founded the Memphis Design Group in the early 1980’s, he named it for the Bob Dylan song “Stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again.” Little did he know he was starting a cultural design style that became a phenomenon and is still striking a chord among artists and interior designers. The style even fell into the fashion world.
The explosive use of color and asymmetrical mixes of shapes took the world by storm. Now, Richard Mille is inspired by the Memphis movement and creates a whimsical collection that juxtaposes ceramic with patterned rubber, high-tech materials with new colors and a new design technique that is a take on the traditional guilloche dial in anything but a traditional way.
‘We play with different geometric forms, with the mix of materials, in the same way an object was designed in the Memphis movement,” says Cecile Guenat, Director of Creative and Development at Richard Mille. “The result is a collection that combines contemporary, elegant, playful, and extroverted lines into a new form.”
The Endless Summer capsule collection embraces the lightness yet intense scratch resistance of ceramic – and does so with new colors including powder blue, blush pink and lavender bezels and case backs. While the colors and materials may garner first attention, it is the unique hand-crafted dials that are the head turners.
By turning to special machines and hand craftsmanship, Richard Mille showcases artistic dials that feature hand-guilloche metal pieces in different shapes and motifs, wherein the artist carves the lines into each piece to exactly the same depth at each step. The motif is engraved on a gold dial segment and each segment is then PVD treated to accomplish different colors and brilliance.
These individual inset pieces — with different shapes and hues – are placed in different locations on each dial, depending on the model. Each color watch displays a different arrangement of these colorful insets. The lavender version, for instance features an arch aboe the center rectangular lavender piece, and is accented with pink, yellow, pale green and blue insets for an asymmetrical look. The blue ceramic version bast an arch beneath the center inset and the pink version has just a portion of an arc from 9:00 to 12:00.
Truly inspired by the Memphis movement, Richard Mille offsets each watch with a boldly colored strap in rubber (coral for the blue version, tangerine for the lavender model and teal for the pink one) – each strap also features additional colorful insets with different design motifs. Behind the expertly crafted dials, the skeletonized movement can be seen. The watches are created in limited editions of xx pieces for each colorway, and each retails for $205,000.
Naturally, it wouldn’t be Richard Mille if the watch wasn’t equipped with a powerful movement. The RM 07-01 capsule collection watches house the automatic CRMA2 in-house-made caliber. The skeletonized movement offers hours, minutes and features automatic OneWay® ceramic winding system with ball bearings and a variable-geometry rotor that adapts the rewinding of the mainspring to the user’s activity level. The watch is equipped with 50 hours of power reserve. A transparent sapphire opening on the case back allows for viewing of the colorful rotor.