Luxury Watchmaker Richard Mille Says He’s Not Threatened By Apple Watches
People nowadays are very particular with their choice of wearable technology such as watches. Apple Watch is currently the top-selling smartwatch today because it is just simply like having a phone and a watch at the same time, that can also be used for working out. Which is why some companies who are actually making watches for decades consider Apple Watch as a major threat to them. However, the famous luxury watch king, Richard Mille, is not worried at all.
SMARTWATCHES VS LUXURY WATCHES
Richard Mille is known to be the founder of the Richard Mille SA, who collaborated with Audermars Piguet, which is a Swiss manufacturer of watches. They released their first product in 2001 and since they are known to be the makers of the world’s most luxurious watches. His average sales are around $185,000, however, what makes his watches so unique and absolutely posh, is that they only make limited batches and even if customers want more, he simply refuses. “I’m not really worried, it’s under that segment and I don’t work in their segment of price,” he explained.
Their brand’s top-selling models are the Tourbillion RM 008, which is a chronograph tourbillon, as well as the RM 056, that is also a chronograph tourbillon, but it has sapphire split seconds. They are claimed to be the most advanced wristwatches in the world because of their tourbillon movement that has manual winding, chronograph split seconds, a power reserve indicator, and a torque indicator. They are actually worth more than half a million dollar. The rise of smartwatches, most especially the Apple Watch, may actually really hurt some companies in the Swiss Watch market, however, Richard Mille, and some others are seeing record sales and continued growth despite all of this.
Their companies’ biggest challenge is not its competitors, but it’s customers since they demand more but they simply couldn’t make a lot and is always sold out.
THE $1 MILLION MCLAREN WATCH
They actually just released their $1 million McLaren-Honda watch, which is considered as today’s lightest mechanical chronograph that as has ever been made in history. Unfortunately, all 70 pieces that have been released are already sold out upon its release. Aside from the $1 million McLaren-Honda watch, they also launched a new $750,000 tennis watch that is made for the great Rafael Nadal. He actually wore this when he won the French Open as well as the U. S. Open just this year, which makes it the no. 1 in the world but is also currently sold out. Mille even joked that “Unfortunately, I make some enemies. But I have no choice because the watch is complex. It’s a long development. Each niche I enter with a watch, I want to be the best.”
TECHNOLOGY AND TIME
According to their company, they will produce around 4,000 watches this year, which is considered to be a lot since it is more than how much they produced last year which is only 3,600. However, Mille’s goal is to produce 4,600 next year. The retail value for this year for the watches that they will export will be around $700 million. This is considered to be a good sign for them because switch watches have been going down since 2015, one of their major reasons is the slow demand from China.
Experts reveal that it is no longer a surprise especially with how tech companies are getting better and better with their products. The decline may be more secular than cynical because consumers are now from the modern generation and they would prefer something high-tech such as smartwatches over wrist watches.
However, Mille mentioned that his company is actually considered as the favorite “Dream Watch” of millennials because of how he revolutionized their mechanical watches. The value of the watch no longer comes from the fact that it is made of gold or silver, instead, they use space-age materials such as TPT carbon, TPT titanium, and graphene, which makes the watch even lighter and beautiful.
“My clients want very light pieces, easy to wear, you can play gold, you can do anything. I hate the idea that you put it in a safe waiting for the next generation,” Mille explained. Unlike smartwatches, their watches are perfect for any activities and even while playing different sports.
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