If there’s just one watch trend that’s taken 2020 by storm, it’s the unadulterated embrace of colours after years of traditional, understated designs. From the acceptance of blue as the ultimate de facto cool colour to the rising popularity of green and salmon pink, not forgetting purple as the season’s hottest new hue, luxury watch brands have well and truly cast away all doubts that luxury can be colourful too.
The growing fervour for rainbow or ombre gem-set timepieces is another clear vote in that direction as well. So this latest suite of ladies complications by Richard Mille is not only completely on trend, but it takes us on a whirlwind journey back in time to the Disco Era.
RM71-02 Automatic Tourbillon Talisman is a capsule collection of 10 watches, each one a limited edition of seven, and essentially the same at heart but at the same time not without unique aesthetic variations such that all are a little different. Creative and development director of Richard Mille, Cécile Guenat, adds these pieces to her oeuvre which includes other highly coveted models such as the Bonbons and the RM71-01 Talisman.
Bringing a feminine perspective to watch creation, Guenat’s approach on the Talisman series rather resembles the way a couturier designs—with a main idea applying throughout the entire collection yet the pieces each receive a special flourish so they all bring something different to the fore. With the first Talisman collection, RM71-01 launched in 2018, she worked predominantly with black-and-white hues.
This time, Guenat was swept away by prismatic light and shimmery tones of 1970s fashion. Looking at the pieces we’re instantly reminded of the scene-stealing FW20 looks of Gucci, Balmain, Dries Van Noten, as well as MSGM.
Says the creative director, “I [was] immediately drawn to a very specific cultural era for inspiration very early on in the process; I was in a Studio 54 state of mind—listening to disco, funk and R&B. This collection is so different from anything we’d done before, even if we had used some coloured stones in previous watches. The Bonbon collection helped us introduce this colourful and fun aesthetic to our audiences, and we decided to continue in that way.”
Channelling the light and colour in these watches, we have an array of ornamental stones cut and polished into different shapes and accompanied by their own engraving and setting patterns. In fact the watches are so individualistic they each have their own names, and very 70s names too, if we may add. Gloria, Diana, Grace, Jessica…
Giving the pieces added character is the symbolism behind the centre stones. Hematite for instance represents strength, and malachite for inner balance, and lapis lazuli for vision. Then there’s sugilite for protection and pink opal for healing… It’s like having your personal talisman on the wrist but worn in a most rebellious fashion—and if you really knew Richard Mille at all, you’ll know that only Richard Mille could make mismatched straps look like the most natural thing in the world.