Sweet, colourful, and delectably fruity. Yes, we’re talking about candy — but probably not the kind you’re imagining. Making yet another bold statement, Richard Mille presented their Bonbon Collection — a confectionary-and-fruit themed lineup of 10 watches, split between the “Sweets” & “Fruits” themes — at SIHH earlier this January. It was the luxury brand’s final appearance at the annual Geneva tradeshow and, as always, stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy from the moment of unveiling.
“Bonbon – just saying the word is enough to make you smile,” said Cécile Guenat, artistic director of the collection. “It manages to convey a combination of pleasure, good cheer and sharing all at once. This collection is disruptive, elegant, daring and playful. In a word: creative! For me it was truly an opportunity to let loose and have fun revisiting childhood. Nonetheless, it was an ambitiously daring project entailing 18 months of development, and entirely faithful to the spirit of Richard Mille, a serious brand that’s not afraid to break with tradition.”
The timepieces didn’t just score high on the “fun” factor however — Richard Mille’s reputation for technical excellence shines through in equal measure. Built upon three of the brand’s most popular models — the RM 07-03, RM 16-01 and RM 37-01 — the collection boasts six Carbon TPT® and Quartz TPT® cases, in addition to another four executions in ceramic. The level of handcraft necessary to create the titular “candies” or “fruits” (i.e. 3,000 titanium sculptures, hand-painted in a range of colours and finishes) is nothing short of remarkable. Crowns are shaped in irreverent forms (reminiscent of cupcakes or gelato) while dial segments were coloured using dozens of different shades of acrylic paint or lacqueur. “The idea was to revisit the existing collections while playing with colour,” said Guenat. “This allowed me to bring out a pop-inspired sense of fun. In all, we developed a palette of 60 colours for this unisex collection.”
The Sweets Line
Comprising four models from the Bonbon Collection, each “Sweets” timepiece is encased in two-toned ceramic — an ideal base for grand feu or titanium dials treated in the image of various treats (cupcakes, marshmallows etc) for which these watches are named. The RM 07-03 Cupcake was a highlight in this regard: simulating giant fluffy swirls of marshmallow, resplendent in pastels of green, pink, and yellow. Black also works surprisingly well as a decorative element: fashioned in the dial of the RM 16-01 Réglisse into a giant licorice roll.
The Fruits Line
The “Fruits” lineup features 6 models that pay tribute to a variety of juicy flavours including lemon strawberry (RM 16-01 Citron et Fraise); blueberry lychee (RM 07-03 Myrtille et Litchi); and kiwi cherry (RM 37-01 Kiwi et Cerise). Twisty lollipops, candied orange, gumdrops, ribbons of tart jelly and sugar crystals are just some of the eye-catching motifs used to decorate these timepieces. A “sugar coating” effect that makes use of powdered enamel and hourglass-quality sand helps to enhance the artwork’s photorealistic qualities. The colour-gradient cases are made of carbon and quartz composites, with a different hue for each timepiece. While carbon TPT is a material heavily associated with the brand, the turquoise shade is an attractive addition — all-new for 2019.
The Richard Mille Bonbon collection is available in a limited run of 300 pieces (10 per model). Prices are available upon request. To learn more, visit Richard Mille online.