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The Most Expensive Richard Mille Wristwatches of All Time

The Most Expensive Richard Mille Wristwatches of All Time


With the help of a sophisticated marketing concept and innovative technologies, Richard Mille has set out to shake up the watch industry. Since the company was founded in 1999, the brand has set itself the goal of uniting top-quality craftsmanship and futuristic watch design, while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of technical innovation. It all began in 2001 with the RM 001 Tourbillon, the first sports watch with a tourbillon and a six-figure price tag, heralding the company’s success story.

RM 001 Tourbillon

Credit © Richard Mille

A Richard Mille watch, known to connoisseurs as ‘the billionaire’s handshake’, is made from carbons and metals – often suitable for racing and aviation. All this also helps to explain the price of the timepieces. The brand’s pricing policy takes costs to sometimes unimaginable heights, in a price segment where there is very little competition. This way, the company can ensure that even in the luxury watch segment, the buyer can feel that he belongs to an even more elite group of collectors. Since price is such an essential part of the brand’s concept of success, let’s take a look at the Top 15 most expensive Richard Mille watches.

15. RM 022 AM CA

The RM022 with manual winding has a case made of carbon nanotubes, into which a black polymer has been injected. This material is 200 times stronger than steel and yet amazingly light, allowing the watch to effortlessly absorb shocks. The case of this limited-edition model measures 50 mm x 40 mm x 16.15 mm, making it slightly larger and more presentable than the standard RM022 model. The futuristic-looking dial is made of titanium aluminides that have been tested by NASA for use in supersonic aircraft and formed into a honeycomb structure. The material is particularly resistant to temperature and corrosion. Produced in a series comprising only five pieces, the RM022 is an elegant timepiece that combines contemporary aesthetics with innovative materials. At auction, this timepiece achieved a price of CHF 1,094,850.

RM 022 AM CA

Credit © Phillips

14. RM 027 AK-CA Prototype

In 2008, Richard Mille approached Rafael Nadal with the intention of developing a watch that the tennis champion could wear during his matches. He wore – and consequently broke – five prototypes before the RM027 could be presented to the world. The result of these efforts was a watch that he would later describe as his ‘second skin’. Withstanding vigorous movements and shocks, Nadal went on to wear the timepiece at the US Open where he won his first Grand Slam title. With a total weight of less than 20 grams and a highly innovative construction, the RM 027 Tourbillon marked the beginning of a long success story that would lead to numerous exceptional Richard Mille wristwatches bearing the name ‘Rafael Nadal’. One of these prototypes – which fortunately was not destroyed by Nadal – was sold in 2022 for CHF 1,108,800.

RM 027 AK-CA Prototype, circa 2010

Credit © Christies

13. RM 056 Prototype No. 2

The RM056 Prototype No. 2 is the second prototype of the first edition of the RM056, of which only five were made. The idea behind this masterpiece was to create a watch that would allow its wearer to view the RMCC1 calibre – one of the most complicated movements ever assembled in a Richard Mille – through the full sapphire crystal case. Indeed, the transparent material allows the complex mechanics to be examined from all angles. Synthetic sapphire is a laboratory-produced material that requires around 800 working hours after manufacture to transform it into a case with the typical Richard Mille curves. The result is a scratch-resistant, temperature-resistant material that counts amongst the royalty of Richard Mille materials. This prototype was auctioned in New York in 2017 for CHF 1,120,765.

RM 056 Prototype No. 2, circa 2012

Credit © Christies

12. RM 07-02 ‘Pink Lady’

The RM 07-02 Automatic Winding Sapphire bestows a feminine approach to Richard Mille’s aesthetics, while revealing its mechanics through its transparent case. Not only does the watch represent one of Richard Milles’ most exceptional creations, but it is also the first Mille watch to be made from a single block of pink crystal. The processing of the three case parts takes 40 days, followed by another 350 hours for polishing. The in-house movement, calibre CRMA5, features hand-cut rose gold plates and is set with a multitude of diamonds. The ‘Pink Lady’ is undoubtedly one of the most coveted ladies’ watches in the world, selling out long before it arrives in the boutiques. It is therefore not surprising that this timepiece was able to achieve CHF 1,237,070 at auction in 2016 and ranks 12th on our list of the most expensive Richard Mille watches.

RM 07-02 ‘Pink Lady’, circa 2016

Credit © Christies

11. RM 27-01 AN-CA, No. 8/50

In 2013, Richard Mille’s long-standing collaboration with Rafael Nadal brought new success with the RM27-01. The ultra-light tourbillon watch was produced in a limited edition of 50 pieces and was immediately almost completely sold out. It housed an extraordinary creation: a movement supported by four braided steel cables, measuring only 0.35 mm thick. As it later turned out, this construction was to lay the foundation for further technical innovations by the brand. But the RM27-01 shone just as brightly for its light weight, breaking the record at the time for the lightest mechanical watch with its weight of 18.83 grams – including the bracelet, which tends to be the heaviest element of the watch. The RM27-01 [No. 8] was able to achieve an auction price of CHF 1,254,000 in 2022.

RM 27-01 AN-CA, No. 8/50, circa 2013

Credit © Christies

10. RM 009 Felipe Massa Tourbillon, Prototype No. 3

The launch of the ultra-light RM009 Felipe Massa was highly significant not only for Richard Mille, but for the entire world of watchmaking, as it paved the way for the lightweight watches that have become synonymous with the brand today. In 2005, the concept of a particularly light watch was something that stirred up many contradictions. At the time, it was considered a desirable attribute for a wristwatch to have a considerable weight. Richard Mille, however, was firmly against this, with his goal being to develop a watch that would be the lightest mechanical watch at the time. The result of these efforts was the RM009 Felipe Massa tourbillon timepiece, which weighed only 29 grams without the bracelet – a world record at the time. Given this combination of lightness and horological sophistication, many collectors at the time believed that Richard Mille had launched the first true sports watch. Due to its historical significance, this timepiece was able to achieve CHF 1,434,000 at auction and thus occupies 10th place among the most expensive Richard Mille watches.

RM 009 Felipe Massa Tourbillon, Prototype No. 3, circa 2005

Credit © Christies

8-9. RM 050 CA FQ, Prototype No. 03

Richard Mille has an annual production output of fewer than 5,000 watches. This is a high number for a relatively new brand, but nevertheless, demand always exceeds production. The RM050 Prototype No. 03 is a particularly rare example and a prime example of this. The model is the third prototype used in the development of a limited series of five watches. This series was created in honour of the 50th anniversary of Jean Todt’s entry into professional motorsport. The shade of blue was chosen because it is Todt’s favourite colour. However, the focus is on the tourbillon with running seconds display and black polished bridge at 6 o’clock, while the crown position indicator at 4 o’clock adds further motorsport accents with ‘H-Hand Setting’, ‘N-Neutral’ and ‘W-Winding’ in the style of a gearstick. Finally, the gold numerals of the 30-minute chrono display at 9 o’clock and the running seconds display contrast with the brushed red-gold hands. The RM050 Prototype No. 03 managed to achieve CHF 1,494,000 at auction in 2022.

RM 050 CA FQ, Prototype No. 3, circa 2017

Credit © Christies

8-9. RM 027-02 CA-FQ

Another Rafael Nadal prototype makes it onto our list of the most expensive Richard Mille watches in the form of the RM027-02. Not only the slogan ‘A racing machine on the wrist’ under which Richard Mille watches are marketed, but also the construction of this watch conveys the brand’s connection with racing. The watch takes its inspiration from the chassis of Formula 1 cars. The timepiece features a skeletonised back plate that is firmly attached to the case, giving the watch unprecedented resistance to shocks. The construction is not the only innovative thing about this watch: the case is made of hundreds of layers of quartz and NTPT carbon, fused together at 120 degrees. This creates a solid case that nevertheless showcases a unique structure. To test the actual shock resistance of the timepiece, Rafael Nadal wore one of these RM27-02 prototypes on his wrist throughout the 2015 tennis season. The timepiece fetched a price of CHF 1,494,000 at an auction in November 2022.

RM 027-02 CA-FQ, circa 2015

Credit © Christies

7. RM 018 “Hommage a Boucheron”

When jeweller Boucheron approached Richard Mille to design a watch for its 150th anniversary in 2008, Mille replied, ‘If you want a watch with diamonds on the bezel, you don’t need me.’ Mille had a different strategy: a watch in which the gears of the movement were set with precious and semi-precious stones. Thus, the RM018 became the first wristwatch by Richard Mille to contain a movement with sapphire plates. The RM018 is a particularly good illustration of how modern watchmaking can be reconciled with the splendour of the past. The vertical grooves of the case are reminiscent of the famed Reflet watch introduced by the jeweller in 1947, while the crown of the watch is entirely in the style of Boucheron’s Haute Joaillerie. At auction in 2022, a unique variation of the RM 018 “Hommage a Boucheron” achieved a price of CHF 1,554,000, ranking it 7th among the most expensive Richard Mille watches.

RM 018 “Hommage a Boucheron”, unique piece, circa 2008

Credit © Christies

6. RM 27-04, No. 21/50

To mark the 10th anniversary of the partnership with Rafael Nadal in 2020, Richard Mille presented the RM27-04 – a timepiece that takes the original idea of a lightweight but resistant tourbillon to a whole new level. This timepiece also makes it into the list of the most expensive Richard Mille watches. Using TitaCarb for the components of the case, the RM 27-04 boasts a weight of just 30 grams including the bracelet. Meanwhile, the movement itself weighs just 3.4 grams.

RM 27-04, No. 21/50

Credit © Phillips

The skeletonised movement is based on a thread mesh, which – how could it be otherwise –is inspired by the strings of a tennis racket. The mesh, which consists of a single woven steel cable with a thickness of only 0.27 mm, is held by two turnbuckles yet supports the entire calibre. It ensures that the calibre remains suspended in its case, withstanding accelerations of over 12,000 gauss – a Richard Mille resistance record at the time. This RM 27-04 is No. 21 of a total of 50 pieces, and fetched CHF 1,663,500 at auction in 2021.

5. RM 56-02, No. 10/10

After Richard Mille set a milestone in the art of watchmaking in 2011 with the RM 056 and its case made of pure sapphire, the RM 56-01 followed behind, raising the bar even higher with a base plate and bridges made of sapphire. The RM 56-02 Sapphire, created for the Hong Kong Watches & Wonders in 2015, goes one step further with the construction of a new movement. The mechanical movement takes its cue from the cable-suspended movement of the RM 27-01 Rafael Nadal. Thus, the main plate, made of grade 5 titanium, is suspended via a specially developed cable, only 0.35 mm thick, in a system of four rollers at the corners of the case and six rollers on the main plate itself.

RM 56-02, No. 10/10, circa 2015

Credit © Richard Mille

However, the focus is not only on the innovation of the cable system, but also on the implementation of other transparent components, such as the winding roller bridge, the tourbillon and the sapphire centre bridges. The production of an RM 56-02 case alone takes up to 40 days, and the production of the sapphire bridge an additional 400 hours, making this piece a highlight within Richard Mille’s watches using sapphire. With only ten produced, it is the engineering and creativity that went into this timepiece that led to it fetching CHF 1,670,850 at auction.

4. RM 001, No. 001

When Richard Mille left Mauboussin in 1999, he sold his $2 million share in the company and, together with his business partner Dominique Guenat, began work on the RM 001. It became clear to him that the RM 001 should include a tourbillon – and this at a time when the tourbillon regulator was considered a fragile organ that could not be worn on special occasions. To demonstrate that his tourbillon movement was not a relic from a bygone era, but one that was extremely shock-resistant, he threw the RM 001 on the floor behind the scenes at Baselworld 2001 in front of prospective partners and dealers.

RM 001, No. 001, circa 2001

Credit © Christies

But there were concerns that the watch may not prove overly popular, as Mille himself articulated: ‘I thought I might sell a few dozen watches’. This feat was unfounded, however, as the RM 001 turned out to be his springboard into success. The entire production run of 80 was sold out in no time. With a list price of around $135,000, the watch was to shake up both the pricing landscape and the design code of the entire Swiss watch industry, leading the timepiece to become nothing less than the brand’s most historically significant watch. Offered for auction in November 2022, the RM 001 with the No. 001 is the watch that Richard Mille personally wore himself. It is perhaps the key piece that opened the door to the first official Richard Mille reference RM001, presented at Baselworld in 2001. It can therefore almost be considered a prototype, and fetched a price of CHF 2,094,000.

3. RM 67-02 Charles Leclerc Prototype

For more than a decade now, Richard Mille has maintained a partnership with racing driver Charles Leclerc, who helped the brand test new technical solutions for subsequent models with this prototype, RM 67-02. According to Richard Mille, the RM 67-02 was developed with the declared aim of creating a watch that adapts to the athlete in such a way that it forms a kind of ‘symbiosis’ with him. Today, with a total weight of only 32 grams, the RM 67-02 is the brand’s lightest automatic watch and, thanks to its design, adapts to a wide range of sports.

RM 67-02 Charles Leclerc Prototype

Credit © Christies

In 2021, this particular prototype was able to fetch CHF 2,100,000 at auction, placing it 3rd among the most expensive Richard Mille watches. The special thing about it? In addition to two tickets to the next Monaco F1 Grand Prix, the future owner of the RM 67-02 would receive the opportunity to meet Charles Leclerc as a VIP guest of Scuderia Ferrari and to witness the race from the heart of the Scuderia’s paddock.

2. RM 56-01 AN Saphir/PR00, No. 011

When Richard Mille introduced the RM56-01 model in 2013, the Swiss watchmaker, one of the pioneers in the use of unconventional materials, arguably achieved its greatest innovative step. The RM56-01 is the result of all the know-how Richard Mille had acquired in skeletonising the movement of the RM 018 Tourbillon Boucheron and manufacturing the case of the RM 056. The construction of the RM56-01 is based on three case parts made of individual blocks of sapphire crystal, making the watch almost completely transparent.

RM 56-01 AN Saphir/PR00, No. 011, produced in 2013

Credit © Christies

The machining of the three case parts with a machine specially made for the RM56-01 requires a full 40 days for production, followed by 350 hours for polishing. The transparent movement gives the impression of floating above the wrist of the wearer. The RM56-01 is a rare creation in every sense of the word and, as a limited edition of only 5 pieces, is possibly one of the most desirable timepieces in the world. At an auction in 2022, it achieved a price of CHF 3,654,000 and can thus claim 2nd place among the most expensive Richard Mille watches.

1. RM 52-01 Skull Tourbillon – “Vanitas Vanitatum”

The RM 52-01 Skull Tourbillon or Vanitas Vanitatum is the symbiosis of two important innovations and concepts by Richard Mille: the skull construction of the RM 052 Tourbillon Skull and the transparency of the RM 56-01. It is also the only one among the rare models with sapphire crystal to have a case made of brown sapphire crystal.

RM 52-01 Skull Tourbillon, also “Vanitas Vanitatum”, unique piece

Credit © Antiquorum

Throughout history, the skull has become a universal image that has manifested itself in a wide variety of fields. Whether visual, spiritual or political, it is an expression of different beliefs and ideologies. According to Richard Mille, it is meant to remind the wearer to pause, to become aware of worldly transience, and at the same time to truly experience the present. Watches like these are often custom-made and made for special clients. To acquire them on the open market is therefore a rarity that carries a high price. In 2020, this special edition achieved a stunning auction price of CHF 6,661,098.26, making it the most expensive Richard Mille watch ever sold at auction.

This article features the most expensive Richard Mille wristwatches to date,
as of May 2023.

ModelPrice realised
15. RM 022 AM CACHF 1.094.850
14. RM 027 AK-CA PrototypeCHF 1.108.800
13. RM 056 Prototype Nr. 2CHF 1.120.765
12. RM 07-02 „Pink Lady”CHF 1.237.070
11. RM 27-01 AN-CA, No. 8/50CHF 1.254.000
10. RM 009 Felipe Massa Tourbillon, Prototype No. 3CHF 1.434.000
8-9. RM 050 CA FQ, Prototype No. 03CHF 1.494.000
8-9. RM 027-02 CA-FQCHF 1.494.000
7. RM 018 “Hommage a Boucheron”CHF 1.554.000
6. RM 27-04, No. 21/50CHF 1.663.500
5. RM 56-02, No. 10/10CHF 1.670.850
4. RM 001, No. 001CHF 2.094.000
3. RM 67-02 Charles Leclerc PrototypeCHF 2.100.000
2. RM 56-01 AN Saphir/PR00, No. 011CHF 3.654.000
1. RM 52-01 Skull Tourbillon – “Vanitas Vanitatum”CHF 6.661.098,26