There was one question we really had to ask the designer: why, when his previous store was located on place Vendôme, did he open a new one on avenue Matignon? “To be honest, our old store was a hole in the wall! It was so small and dark (20 sq.m.), it was impossible to do justice to the variety of our designs. So we needed to think big and outside the box. I also wanted the new store to make people dream. I wanted people to really feel how passionate we all are, and to show what a wide range of models we offer, including our women’s watches, which are proving to be increasingly popular. Swapping our rather more masculine “grotto” on place Vendôme for 200 sq.m. of light-filled space shows how technologically-centered our brand is, of course, and sporty too, but also how open, feminine, young and varied it’s becoming – in short, suited to different lifestyles.” The store’s first visitors couldn’t agree more. On entering, there’s a real “at home” feel with a play on textures that’s artfully honed by indirect lighting. “I’m obsessed by light scenography,” explains Richard Mille. “Our watches are analyzed and perfected down to the very last detail, so you need to be able to see them in 3D, from every angle.” Next, you wander through the ground floor with its area dedicated to women’s watches with its dark leather tables and fine materials where you can get advice or have your watch fixed because there’s always a watchmaker on the premises! “I wanted to show the standards of excellence achieved by watchmakers, which is a side of things you don’t normally see,” adds Richard Mille. Also popular with customers is the lower-ground VIP lounge. According to Mille – and this was confirmed by the store’s manager – since the beginning of May, when the store opened, not a single day has passed without guests – customers or not – popping down to enjoy the space. The atmosphere, the warm welcome, and pleasant, relaxing surroundings are impossible to resist. You really feel that you’re part of something – a member of a club. “We’re not obsessed by sales because we make just under 3,000 watches a year and our order books are full for years to come, so the store is more than a store,” beams Richard Mille. “It’s a family home for those passionate about watchmaking – a genuine, friendly space where there’s always something going on, where the fact that we’re a luxury brand doesn’t mean we have an awkward relationship with our guests. It’s a naturally relaxed space and people are genuinely kind. Hence the wine and cigar cellar. Although fine timepieces are all about technique, or even techno- logy and feats of design, we especially associate them with pleasure and emotion. This is the chemistry we want people to feel, enjoy and share, more and more.” “According to research, we’re becoming the dream watch brand for some young people,” explains Richard Mille. “That’s very flattering! It’s up to us to give them the welcome they deserve and to get our enthusiasm across. That’s also what fascinates and moves me every day: we make watches which are pretty technical and specialized, clinical even, but at the same time they open up a dialogue with the people who wear or see them. They arouse emotions in everyone. It’s a wonderful paradox: to start with, I found it really hard to imagine people feeling emotional about these watches, since they were so rigorously technical, but they make their admirers feel something poetic and very private. I think our success comes down to this virtuous circle. And this sense of closeness comes from our genuine approach.” This authenticity is obvious in the brand’s latest designs. Richard Mille has teamed up with Voiles de Saint Barth 2015, a regatta attended by one thousand sailing enthusiasts every spring. Anything but a “sleeping partner” or casual sponsor, Richard Mille has designed a model specifically for the event. The RM 60-01 is an automatic flyback chronograph caliber in grade 5 titanium, which facilitates navigation thanks to its unique rotating bezel featuring a wind rose and a graduated 360-degree 24-hour disc. Also limited to 50 pieces, the RM 27-02 Rafael Nadal reveals the close ties between the famous tennis player and the watchmaker as they write a new chapter in the history of competition-standard watches. This tourbillon caliber weighs a mere 3.35 grams (yes, you read it correctly) thanks to the use of ultra-light NTPT carbon. Also produced in a limited edition of 50, the RM 011 Yellow Flash combines TZP-N ceramic with the same carbon featuring subtle yellow highlighting to ensure no variance in beauty or precision when exposed to extreme temperatures. Brilliant design, guaranteed performance.