Page 28 - SilverKris September 2014

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Time
traveller
Luxury watchmaker Richard
Mille spares a minute from
zipping around the world
to chat with
CHARMIAN
LEONG
about his approach to travel.
A
hundred thousand
isn’t an amount
you would want to
throw around. Yet French
businessman RichardMille does
so with some regularity, flinging
his eponymous brand’s watches
– some costing half a million
dollars – against a wall or on the
floor to prove their durability.
The timepieces – worn by the
likes of F1 racer FelipeMassa
and tennis player Rafael Nadal
whom the brand sponsors –
are indeed hardy. Plus, they
sport high-tech materials and
incredibly complicated dials and
case designs. Mille, who has a
passion for high-performance
machines, has applied
techniques and materials used
in engineering race cars to
watchmaking. His philosophy
is: Never take “it’s impossible”
as an acceptable answer to
any challenge.
This avant-garde approach
to watchmaking has won fans,
enabling the relatively young
brand – only 15 years – to
establish over 60 points of
distribution globally. Which
means Mille no longer has
the luxury of staying in one
place for long. “I have to admit
I travel a lot for business,” he
says. “Sixty flights a year is par
for the course.” But he laughs
in the face of jet lag. “I ignore
it,” he declares, claiming to
be able to “change sleep and
work rhythms immediately”.
He also drinks lots of water
and eschews alcohol during
flights. “Even one or two
glasses of wine can make the
time difference work against
you,” he says.
Ironically for a man
surrounded by timepieces, he
travels with only one. “I am
always wearing the newest
watch – for testing purposes
and also because my favourite
is always the newest creation I
amworking on.”
Travel has also proved
to be an inspiration for his
work. “I remember a moment
when I looked at an aircraft
engine and found the optical
effect of the turbine’s fine
structure fascinating. This
found its way into some design
elements of my RM021 and
RM022 Aerodyne Tourbillon
wristwatches.”
And for the rare times he
travels for pleasure, his ideal
vacation is “one without
Internet, Wi-Fi connection or
a mobile phone”. But, he adds,
“I must have a book.”
PHOTO
THOMAS LAVELLE