Richard Mille Watch Prices: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

A Satire of Tulip Mania by Jan Brueghel the Younger (ca. 1640) depicts speculators as brainless monkeys in contemporary upper-class dress. In a commentary on the economic folly, one monkey urinates on the previously valuable plants, others appear in debtor’s court and one is carried to the grave.

For the uninitiated, Richard Mille watches, or RMs as they are affectionately called by grey market watch dealers, are goofy-looking clown-like watches peddled by one smart marketing cat named Richard Mille for extraordinarily high prices.

On a side note: I highly recommend NOT using the RM website as it is an EU + French product which means it loads slow and is prone to spouting ultra-rich solidarity slogans behind one’s back.

Richard Mille and business partner Dominique Guenat, veteran French watch industry gurus, launched their brand in 2001 and priced their original RM002 watches on what was thought to be on the high end of the luxury watch market pricing spectrum at the time for around $30,000.00 per watch.

Seeing how well they sold they doubled the price the next year, cut production to create scarcity and wa-la, the $60,000.00 watch was born.  Limited Editions followed and the prices soared.  How does $1,250,000.00 plus grab ya?

The first production model watches now trade among greater fools at silly prices.

Our estimation for what the RM buyer is actually getting is a watch costing about $3-5,000.00 to manufacture, with $50,000.00 plus worth of marketing hype priced in which is required to enable Richard Mille team members the necessary funds to jet-set around the world schmoozing with high-profile sports champions.

Richard Mille et Dominique Guenat au Le Mans Classic 20018

History and Demystification of the Richard Mille brand:

Richard Mille’s business partner Dominique Guenat managed Montres Valgine, a company set up by his grandfather during the early 20th Century.  Montres Valgine assembled the Valjoux 7750 mechanical movements for Longines.  Guenat grew the company into a private label manufacturer.

The Vlajoux 7750 movement and derivatives thereof are used in dozens of famous watch brands. The Rolex Daytona 6232 used the movement.   Valjoux is the Swiss company behind this movement and are a subsidiary of ETA and the Swatch Watch Group.  ETA wields monopoly power in the world of Swiss watch movements.

The mainstay of the Swiss watch industry, the Valjoux7750 mechanical movement.

Richard Mille met Guenat in Paris in the early 1990s when he was heading up Mauboussin’s watch division.  Mille eventually became CEO of the Mauboussin group.  Mauboussin engaged the private label manufacturing services of Guenat’s Montres Valgine to produce its own line of watches.  Click on the link above to see what is on offer today.

Mille and Guenat set up their RM watch making operations in Les Breuleux, a municipality in the district of Franches-Montagnes in the canton of Jura in Switzerland.  Guenat’s company Montres Valgine assembles Richard Milles watches.   Components for the watches are manufactured by ProART.  VMDH SA contributes the design and Horométrie distributes the brand.  ProART directors Marie-France Aubry-Baume and Yves Mathy serve on the board of directors of the Richard Mille Group.  The companies are closely linked.  both Marie-France Aubry-Baumena dn Yves Mathy also serve as board members of VMDH.   Hormétrie is run by Mille and Guenat family members to include Cécile Guenat, and Alexandre Mille. Dominique Guenat serves as Managing Director.  Cécile is Dominique’s daughter.  Alexandre Mille is the son of Richard Mille.  Hormétrie SA’s  website is listed on Dunn & Bradstreet as RichardMille.com.

So basically, the Richard Mille group has pulled off the ultimate coupe when it comes to private label watch production.   The key elements to their success thus far is a combination of design, intentional scarcity of product, and marketing strategy which includes recruiting sports figures from around the world to serve as brand representatives.

According to an article in Horbiter.com in April of 2020:

Beyond pure and uninteresting figures that include microns and other technical details I think it is more important to emphasize that a Richard Mille watch is not a Swiss Made timepiece in the common sense of the word (a term that is often clichéd, been emptied of its original meaning as some larger groups have unfortunately accustomed us to), but it is 99.6% Swiss Made instead. The remaining 0.4% (the crown and, in some cases, the chrono buttons too) comes from nearby suppliers located on the French border. This is the measure of the authentic Swiss Made and of what we could define as a “zero km” watch-making factory.

In fact, most parts for the watches are made on CNC machines, the same process used for the manufacture of thousands of other brands.  Of course, I am quite certain they would tell you their machines are far superior than those owned by other watch manufacturers.  Mythology is often borne from the braying mule, what?

Click here to read more on Montres Valgine: 

In 1999, Dominique Guenat joined forces with industrialist Richard Mille to launch their project for a new watch brand . The two men met in 1988 when Richard Mille was working for the Compagnie Générale Horlogère (CGH) in Besançon , then with whom Valgine Watches participated in the production of watches for Mauboussin where he was Managing Director of the “Joaillerie” division. Although professional, the relationship between the two men will quickly lead to a great friendship, nourished in particular by their common passion for the automobile, aeronautics and mechanics. In 2001, they founded “Horométrie SA” 5, the operating company of the Richard Mille watch brand , of which Richard Mille was appointed chairman. Since then, Montres Valgines has managed the development, design and assembly of movements for Richard Mille 6 watches .

At the Salon international de la haute horlogerie (SIHH) 2012, Richard Mille presents the RM 037 equipped with the new CRMA1 self-winding automatic caliber , the first movement manufactured in-house, which required 2,500 hours of development from Guenat SA Montres Valgines engineers.

Following the sale of case supplier Donzé-Baume to the Swiss luxury group Richemont in 2007 7 , the watch manufacturer undertook to invest in machining its own cases and some of the components of its watches. Thus in 2013, Guenat SA – Montres Valgine and Horométrie SA bought 90% of the shares of “Prototypes Artisanales SA” located in Saignelégier next to Breuleux, the founder Alain Varrin retaining 10% 6 . The group decides to build a third building of 3,000  m2 in the Breuleux industrial zone, to house its new sister company 2. The company founded by Marco Poluzzi became “ProArt” and worked as the brand’s exclusive subcontractor for the production of cases and prototypes. This strategic takeover allows Guenat SA – Montres Valgine to become more independent and better meet its needs in terms of responsiveness and productivity for its group’s brand, Richard Mille.

In 2014, Guenat SA – Montres Valgine acquired VMDH (Vital Morel Décalque Horlogère), a historical supplier based in La Chaux-de-Fonds and specializing in decals and watch decoration. VMDH produces all of the brand’s dials and flanges as well as some of the hands, and manages the application of “SuperLuminova” phosphorescent pigments 8 . VMDH is chaired by Yves Mathys 9 .

At the end of 2017, work to expand the ProArt site began with the construction of a second building to house research and development offices, a test laboratory and new machining workshops.

The mythological North Thin Ply Technology use in Richard Milles watches. 

From the North Thin Ply Technology Website we learn the following from a company incorporating NTPT into its products:

New materials, structural concepts and manufacturing using sensors for composites that resist fire, temperature and loads while providing weight and cost savings versus metals.

Cost savings?  Really?  Seems the Richard Mille group didn’t get the memo.

For fools willing to part with their money, one may buy a Girard-Perregaux Neo-Tourbillon with Three Bridges for much less than the million dollar RMs and own a watch basically made by the same watch-maker.  Jérémy Brechbühl is the man behind Girard-Perregaux’s high end Tourbillons. He now works for Richard Mille as the Constructeur mouvements – chef de projets chez Guenat S.A. Montres Valgine.

What say ye? Are you willing to shell out the price of house for a watch that looks like it was manufactured for Barnum and Bailey Circus clowns.  To read more about the madness of crowds and the watch collecting circus click here.

 

 

 

Home
Top of Pg.
Archives

Comments are closed.

Quotations

A leader is a dealer in hope.

— Napoleon

Mark Zuckerberg; Tulip Pusher

The Tulip Folly, by Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1882. A nobleman guards an exceptional bloom as soldiers trample flowerbeds in a vain attempt to stabilise the tulip market by limiting the supply.

Mark Zuckerberg has become the poster boy of modern Tulip mania. It is not clear as to whether or not he is [...] Read more →

Proof of Stake Equals Proof of Ponzi

Ponzi schemes and MLM schemes are by design corrupt. They are designed to confuse and or hoodwink the investor or participant into believing he is buying into a surefire road to riches.

When a computer programmer designs and programs a computer program, or in the case of the crypto-world, a [...] Read more →

Bitcoin Suicide: 18,000 Jumpers

Bitcoin Suicide: 18,000 Jumpers

That Crypto-Punk you bullied way back in high school Became your Central Banker making you the fool

Now he’s shutting down his servers and clearing out the bank While you sit there in your basement watching Alt-coins tank

Back last October when he sold you a pack of lies He [...] Read more →

Exploring the Language of Propaganda: What You Need to Know

Propaganda is generally what is being passed off for news these days.

It comes from all perspectives; progressive, conservative, and marginal extremes.

Understanding the language of propaganda is necessary to enable one to quickly filter out articles written with persuasive goals as their ultimate objective. Any article that [...] Read more →

President Joe Biden’s Delusional Letter to Oil Company Executives

“Energy prices are set by global commodity prices …” Federal Reserve Chairman Powell June 15th, 2022

What follows is President Joe Biden’s delusional letter to oil company executives. I have added commentary to address the delusion. My comments are highlighted in yellow and parenthesis.

Dear (executive)

Penal Methods of the Middle Ages

CHAPTER I

PENAL METHODS OF THE MIDDLE AGES

Prisons as places of detention are very ancient institutions. As soon as men had learned the way to build, in stone, as in Egypt, or with bricks, as in Mesopotamia, when kings had many-towered fortresses, and the great barons castles [...] Read more →

Country House Essays Book Now in Print

Country House Essays, the book is now in print. This is an eclectic collection of both original, and historical essays, poems, books, and articles created for our loyal reader hear at CountryHouseEssays.com. It is jam packed with reprints of articles from this website. The cost is $49.95 for this massive [...] Read more →

Clarivoyance by C.W. Leadbeater

Theosophical Society, Adyar, Madras, India, 1890

CLAIRVOYANCE

by C. W. Leadbeater

Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Pub. House

[1899]

CHAPTER IX

METHODS OF DEVELOPMENT

When a men becomes convinced of the reality of the valuable [...] Read more →

Westminster Confession of Faith – 1646

CHAPTER I. Of the Holy Scripture.

Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence, do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary [...] Read more →

Growing Muscadine Grapes in Tennessee

The University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee has a long heralded tradition of assisting farmers and growers through it’s Agricultural Extension Service. The following bulletin entitled Grape Growing in Tennessee discusses the Muscadine variety of grapes among others. Muscadine grapes are often found growing wild in Tennessee. On my grandfather’s West Tennessee [...] Read more →

Platform of the American Institute of Banking in 1919

Resolution adapted at the New Orleans Convention of the American Institute of Banking, October 9, 1919:

“Ours is an educational association organized for the benefit of the banking fraternity of the country and within our membership may be found on an equal basis both employees and employers; and in full appreciation [...] Read more →

Parting Words to Kate from The Sloop of War, Jamestown

Sloop of War Jamestown – Photo from book The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies, Series 1, Vol. 3.

Several years ago, I purchased a small memory book entitled Album of Love from the mid 1800s.

Much like scrap books of today, these books were used to keep [...] Read more →

Historic authenticity of the Spanish SAN FELIPE of 1690

Model of San Felipe

Reprinted from FineModelShips.com with the kind permission of Dr. Michael Czytko

The SAN FELIPE is one of the most favoured ships among the ship model builders. The model is elegant, very beautifully designed, and makes a decorative piece of art to be displayed at home or in [...] Read more →

The Late Rev. H.M. Scarth

H. M. Scarth, Rector of Wrington

By the death of Mr. Scarth on the 5th of April, at Tangier, where he had gone for his health’s sake, the familiar form of an old and much valued Member of the Institute has passed away. Harry Mengden Scarth was bron at Staindrop in Durham, [...] Read more →

Classic Restoration of a Spring Tied Upholstered Chair

This video by AT Restoration is the best hands on video I have run across on the basics of classic upholstery. Watch a master at work. Simply amazing.

Tools:

Round needles: https://amzn.to/2S9IhrP Double pointed hand needle: https://amzn.to/3bDmWPp Hand tools: https://amzn.to/2Rytirc Staple gun (for beginner): https://amzn.to/2JZs3x1 Compressor for pneumatic [...] Read more →

A History of the Use of Arsenicals in Man

The arsenicals (compounds which contain the heavy metal element arsenic, As) have a long history of use in man – with both benevolent and malevolent intent. The name ‘arsenic’ is derived from the Greek word ‘arsenikon’ which means ‘potent'”. As early as 2000 BC, arsenic trioxide, obtained from smelting copper, was used [...] Read more →

Books Condemned to be Burnt

BOOKS CONDEMNED TO BE BURNT.

By

JAMES ANSON FARRER,

LONDON

ELLIOT STOCK, 62, PATERNOSTER ROW

1892

———-

WHEN did books first come to be burnt in England by the common hangman, and what was [...] Read more →

U.S. Plant Variety Protection Act – Full Text

UNITED STATES PLANT VARIETY PROTECTION ACT

TITLE I – PLANT VARIETY PROTECTION OFFICE Chapter Section 1. Organization and Publications . 1 2. Legal Provisions as to the Plant Variety Protection Office . 21 3. Plant Variety Protection Fees . 31

CHAPTER 1.-ORGANIZATION AND PUBLICATIONS Section 1. Establishment.2 There is [...] Read more →

The Master of Hounds

Photo Caption: The Marquis of Zetland, KC, PC – otherwise known as Lawrence Dundas Son of: John Charles Dundas and: Margaret Matilda Talbot born: Friday 16 August 1844 died: Monday 11 March 1929 at Aske Hall Occupation: M.P. for Richmond Viceroy of Ireland Vice Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire Lord – in – Waiting [...] Read more →