‘We are known for our incredible technical, high-performance watches that draw inspiration from the automotive and aeronautics industries, even though women’s watches have represented a considerable percentage of our sales for several years now. That said, we needed a modern, creative and talented young woman to inject new energy into our status quo and take the women’s collection to new heights. It was Cécile Guenet, the daughter of my friend and business partner, Dominique, who met this challenge by overcoming technical obstacles, freeing herself from consensus and establishing a unique and resolutely contemporary style,’ shares Richard Mille.
Just three years ago, Guenat (now the Ladies’ Collection Director) was first asked to join the company and design new creations. – It was a challenge that proved irresistible for the young woman who had earned her spurs in the world of fine jewellery. After graduating from the Geneva School of Art and Design, she gained experience with a jeweller in Lausanne, then with a London jewellery designer, where she created collections for a number of Couture houses and branded designs. From initial sketches to the choice of stones, Cécile Guenat demonstrates the meticulous attention to detail that conjures luck by sheer talent and passion.
The Talisman collection was born from a magnetic alchemy at the intersection of Tribal arts and Art Deco. ‘My work is the fruit of very different influences, ‘explains Guenat, ‘I drew not only on Art Deco but on the Tribal arts-masks, African sculptures etc. – whose impact on all great modern and contemporary artists has been enormous … The contrasts, geometry, and sacred character of these objects fascinate me all the more because they prefigured today’s design through the fusion of content and form,’ she elaborates.
The notion of a collection took shape very early in the initial sketches. Thus emerged a number of interpretations, with ten different variations on the case and dial. Cécile Guenat chose to glorify the skeleton movement through the many possibilities for setting and engraving the case. Heightened by sparkling stones, the shape of the dials reveals two deliberately distinct worlds, one that is organic and the other more urban.
A masterpiece in every sense, the RM 71-01 Automatic Tourbillon Talisman abolishes the distinction between jewellery and its case. The movement, dial and case maintain an aesthetic, technical and visual dialogue in each version.
‘Yet to truly put the launch in a class of its own, we needed to combine the exceptional design with technical prowess, hence the brand’s very first automatic tourbillon movement! It is not the existence of this specificity that is of principal concern so much as the extraordinary technical characteristics—the performance, reliability and breathtaking finishes’, explains Richard Mille.
With this horological tourbillon, the brand inducts the Calibre CRMT1, its eighth, in-house calibre. The base plate protecting the tourbillon’s rotation remains open to preserve transparency. Skeletonised and tonneau-shaped, with a thickness no greater than 6.2 mm and a weight of just 8 grams, the Calibre CRMT1—housed in a case of white or red gold—is clothed in titanium.
The new RM 71-01 Automatic Tourbillon Talisman captures the passage of time in all its myriad facets, a scintillating amulet. True to its name, though by no means foregoing the more mechanistic qualities inseparable from the brand, it serves as a talisman, accompanying the woman who wears its graceful lines through each and every day.