Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 8 April 2014
Sold for HK$3,880,000 (£299,217)
High-end Asian collectors adore Richard Mille watches because they represent the new order of haute horlogerie, which came about just as the Far East was establishing itself as the centre of the luxury goods universe. As a result, buyers at Hong Kong sales such as this understand the history and meaning of such pieces better than most – and are often willing to pay whatever it takes to own them.
Although only seven years old at the time of sale, this RM012 is relatively historic in RM terms, since the firm was still in its infancy. Production was considerably more limited, making watches of the era extremely rare.
A mere 30 examples of the RM012 were produced, all with platinum cases. The hand-wound movement featured an aluminium alloy winding barrel, going train and tourbillon cage, with the stabilising tubing and bridge structures made from a combination of Inox alloy and titanium – materials which, at the time, were utterly ground-breaking in the field of horology.
But perhaps the best evidence of the RM012 being a true modern classic is that this example sold for a full US$50,000 more than it retailed for in 2007.