“Bonbon—just saying the word is enough to make you smile,” says Cécile Guenat, artistic director for Richard Mille. And the Bonbon collection, unveiled at the 2019 edition of Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), is a sweet vision of watchmaking. “For me, it was an opportunity to let loose and have fun revisiting childhood,” she explains. It’s as though Guenat visited a county fair full of rides and lights, bought hundreds of bags of candy, and then dumped them on the table of a watchmaker who, in turn, transformed them into the flagship Richard Mille RM 16, RM 07, and RM 37 family of watches.
The 10 new references, each produced in editions of 30, are grouped into two categories: Sweets (Marshmallow, Cupcake, Sucette, Réglisse) and Fruits (Fraise, Citron, Kiwi, Cerise, Litchi, Myrtille). Richard Mille has applied its prowess in the science of colour, materials, and fabric composites to create tactile fantasies with a palette of 60 mouthwatering colours—cherry red, kiwi green, and an unprecedented brilliant turquoise—housed in Carbon TPT and Quartz TPT or a ceramic case. The generous use of colour has always been a part of the brand’s DNA. Even so, “This has been an ambitiously daring project, and entirely faithful to the spirit of Richard Mille,” says Guenat.
Each dial is a small masterpiece, with as many as 3,000 titanium candy miniatures delicately handpainted in acrylic (using brushes with only one to two hairs) and brought to life by grand feu enamelling. Gumdrops, swirling gelato, marshmallows, and 2-mm licorice rolls are machined from sheets of titanium. These decorations are then affixed to the openwork dials without compromising the mechanical components of the watch. Crowns, too, are in the shapes of confectionary delights, such as a cupcake, candy ribbon or donut.
Richard Mille has shown itself to be one of the most disruptive companies in the watchmaking world since the launch of its first timepiece, the RM 001 Tourbillon, in 2001. While the Bonbon collection may seem to skew feminine, it is intended to be a unisex collection. “These watches are 3-D dimensions of fun!” says Guenat. And while these watches fashion a child-like whimsy, “They are no less technological,” she emphasizes.
Photos by Jérôme Byron, provided by Richard Mille.
Never miss a story. Sign up for NUVO’s weekly newsletter, here.