Sotheby’s Hong Kong, October 2 2017
Sold for HK$14.5m (£1.4m)
Richard Mille caused something of a sensation when he pulled the wraps of the RM56-02 at the Hong Kong Watches and Wonders exhibition in 2015, its remarkable “USP” being that it featured an entirely transparent case made from sapphire crystal. Each case is said to have taken 40 days to cut, grind and mill from blocks of solid sapphire, with the sapphire bridge holding the tourbillon movement taking an additional 400 hours to make.
The baseplate, meanwhile, was hewn from titanium and suspended within the case by a remarkable system of 10 micro pulleys that tension the mechanism with a length of braided cable measuring just 0.35mm thick.
Due to the complexity involved in making the watch – which uses the same, highly shockproof movement found in the RM27-01 Rafael Nadal model – a mere 10 examples were created, each one being supplied on a strap that appears to be a Swatch-like plastic affair but which is actually made from a material called Aerospace Nano which is elastic, soft, waterproof and, importantly, transparent.
All of the above, combined with the fact that we’re talking about a Richard Mille watch, will have by now lead you to conclude that this is not a cheap watch to buy new. In fact, it currently retails at £1,773,000. Which makes the £1.4m paid for this pristine example seem like rather good value.
Although everything is, as they say, relative.
Simon de Burton