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Top 10 Most Expensive Richard Mille Watches Ever Created

Top 10 Most Expensive Richard Mille Watches Ever Created

In April of 2022, Formula 1 champion Charles Leclerc was robbed. They didn’t take his car, his computer, or his cash. The thieves got off with something smaller and far more valuable: Leclerc’s $320,000 Richard Mille wristwatch.

Now many curious racing fans are wondering: why are Richard Mille watches so expensive?

A Richard Mille timepiece cannot send text messages like modern smartwatches, but the most expensive Richard Mille watches can still cost millions of dollars each. These pieces are not artifacts of any historical significance, either. The oldest Richard Mille watches for sale only go back to the early 2000s.

The world-class materials, high-quality engineering, and unique design all contribute to the cost of these timepieces. In some cases, as few as five watches of a particular style exist in the world. When celebrities and professional athletes wear these watches, it adds to their reputation as a status symbol.

Here are the Top 10 Most Expensive Richard Mille Watches in the World:

  1. RM 056-01 Tourbillon Sapphire
  2. RM 056-02 Tourbillon Sapphire
  3. RM 031 High Performance
  4. RM Panda 026-1
  5. RM 011-01 Roberto Mancini
  6. RM Red Skull 052-01
  7. RM Boucheron Meteorite 018
  8. RM 051 RG Phoenix
  9. RM 052-05 Pharrell Williams
  10. RM 038-01 Tourbillon Bubba Watson

Why Are Richard Mille Watches So Expensive?

Each Richard Mille watch is more than a functional piece of jewelry. It’s also a status symbol that tells the world that the wearer is a wealthy person to watch. The engineering, design, and materials are what makes Richard Mille special.

These watches have a distinctive aesthetic, with a characteristic face shape and visible movement. Even the least costly Richard Milles uses materials commonly found in the aeronautical industry. They are frequently worn by racecar drivers due to their reputation for emerging from a wreck intact.

Mille produced many of these artisanal timepieces in limited quantities, and several are rare or difficult to find. A combination of materials, scarcity, and legacy are responsible for the exorbitant price tag. Associations with professional athletes and celebrities only add to their mythical allure.

10. Richard Mille 038-01 Tourbillon Bubba Watson – $882,000

photo source: Richard Mille

The tenth most expensive Richard Mille watch in the world is the RM 038-01 Tourbillon Bubba Watson, with an average price of $882,000. It is a G-sensor watch crafted for pro golfer Bubba Watson. Only fifty RM 038-01 watches were ever made, and each has features that aid golfers in playing a perfect game.

Why It’s Expensive

This Richard Mille watch features unique technology that is capable of recording the force generated by a golfer’s swing. It does this using a G-sensor, a 17mm component that is exclusive to Richard Mille designs. The tiny component is complex and involves fifty distinct moving parts.

Singer and watch collector Ed Sheeran has a RM 038-01 in his collection, lending the piece additional celebrity status.

9. Richard Mille 052-05 Pharrell Williams Watch – $969,000

photo source: Richard Mille

The ninth most expensive Richard Mille watch in the world is the RM 052-05 watch, a 2019 collaboration with Mille’s friend, the musical artist Pharrell Williams. Williams is an avid watch collector. It features a sapphire and diamond-studded titanium spaceman, which obscures most of the tourbillon clockwork.

Why It’s Expensive

The association with an artist like Pharrell Williams adds to the status of this watch. Richard Mille is incredibly selective about which celebrities he’ll work with, and only thirty watches featuring this design were ever made. The titanium spaceman design is ornate, decorated with gem-quality materials that are rare in nature.

Like many of Richard Mille’s most iconic watches, this one boasts a case made of milled sapphire, which looks like plastic but is infinitely harder and more durable.

Ownership of this watch comes with other perks, too. Those who own the watch can purchase one of only fifteen “Distant Bliss” resin sculptures inspired by the timepiece. The watch and sculpture combo has only existed for three years, and their value will only increase as time goes on.

8. Richard Mille 051 RG Phoenix – $990,000

photo source: Richard Mille

The eighth most expensive Richard Mille watch in the world is the Richard Mille 051 RG Phoenix, a $990,000 watch designed specifically for women. Mille designed it in collaboration with Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh. In addition to the tourbillon clockwork, it features an 18-carat white and red gold case with diamond embellishments.

Why It’s Expensive

Anyone fortunate enough to own a 051 RG Phoenix watch is in a very exclusive club, as only eighteen such watches exist. Richard Mille didn’t begin to focus on women’s designs until about 2014, when he declared it a priority. This watch’s release precedes that boom in female-focused design, making it even more unique.

This watch is unusual due to the addition of a black onyx baseplate. Black onyx is a naturally occurring gemstone said to possess properties that shield the wearer from negative energy. Richard Mille chose onyx to help wearers boost their creativity and emotional stability.

The titanium-and-diamond phoenix on the watch face represents strength, grace, and feminine beauty. The piece features all of the engineering excellence of any Richard Mille watch, with added glamour. Much of the expense comes from the fine materials used to craft the piece.

7. Richard Mille Boucheron Meteorite 018 – $1 Million

photo source: Richard Mille

The seventh most expensive Richard Mille watch in the world is the RM 018, a $1 million collaboration with jewelry designer Boucheron. Richard Mille produced the wheels of this watch using a chondrite meteorite. Due to their time-consuming construction, Mille could only produce five such watches each year, and only thirty exist in all.

Why It’s Expensive

This watch is out of this world—literally. Richard Mille source its component parts from a meteorite from an asteroid belt somewhere between Jupiter and Mars. They are incredibly rare and delicate stones that go through a lot on their way to earth, so only 10% of the stone used was viable.

The meteorite and other precious jewels aren’t ornamental. Instead, Mille used the world-class materials in the watch’s engineering. Because the watch features the iconic translucent Richard Mille sapphire case, however, every component is visible.

Mille crafted these unique pieces in honor of Boucheron’s 150th anniversary.

6. Richard Mille Red Skull 052-01 – $1.41 Million

photo source: Phillips

The sixth most expensive Richard Mille watch in the world is the Red Skull 052-01 Tourbillon watch, valued at $1.41 million. The iconic skull design is more than an aesthetic choice— Mille integrated it directly into the gearwork. The limited-edition design features 19 gem-quality jewels throughout the case and the watch face.

Why It’s Expensive

The skull forms the baseplate and bridge of this distinctive watch, which are integral to the way the piece functions. The rare and precious gemstones and 18-carat red gold skull add material value to the edgy timepiece. It is an extremely limited design with very few e ever made, making each one a collector’s item.

5. Richard Mille 011-01 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Roberto Mancini – $1.5 Million

photo source: Richard Mille

The fifth most expensive Richard Mille watch in the world is the RM 011-01, the Automatic Flyback Chronograph Roberto Mancini watch. Richard Mille designed this unique athletic watch for Italian football player Roberto Mancini.

Why It’s Expensive

This deceptively simple-to-operate watch is actually rather complex. While it does keep time like any other watch, this model also keeps track of time during a football or soccer match. The face contains two 45-minute halves and allows for up to fifteen minutes of stoppage time.

The watch is popular among sports fans, players, and managers who can use it to follow along during a match. During gameplay, it’s easy to lose track of time when the game veers into extra time. This can make it difficult to plan strategies, as the remaining playtime becomes less concrete.

The RM 011-01 eliminates these problems and makes it easier to strategize. Its high price tag might be because it’s a niche product.

4. Richard Mille Panda 026-1 – $1.6 Million

photo source: Richard Mille

The fourth most expensive Richard Mille watch in the world is the RM Panda 026-1 watch, which sells for an average of $1.6 million.

The watch’s most iconic feature is the hand-sculpted, hand-painted yellow gold, diamond-embezzled panda bear. While Richard Mille has produced thirty total panda watches, only fifteen of them feature the diamond and black sapphire details that lend this model its luxurious feel.

Why It’s Expensive

The 026-1 timepiece is more than just a watch. It is a piece of fine jewelry, crafted with the same attention to detail as some of the most priceless bracelets in the world. A master jeweler crafts each panda entirely by hand, working with some of the finest and rarest gem-quality diamonds and sapphires on the planet.

Though it’s flashy, the panda-themed watch features all of the world-class tourbillon engineering found in every other Richard Mille timepiece. The combination of form and function has made it desirable. The rarity of the design adds a few extra figures to the impressive price tag.

3. Richard Mille 031 High Performance – $1.65 Million

photo source: Richard Mille

The third most expensive Richard Mille watch in the world is the RM 031 High-Performance watch, which sells for $1.65 million. Only ten such watches were ever created. One of the ten belongs to Pharrell Williams, and it is the jewel of his personal Richard Mille collection.

Why It’s Expensive

Richard Mille designed this timepiece specifically to demonstrate how well his watches could perform, regardless of the physical conditions. He crafted this model to work and to work well. Thus, he created the majority of the components using Grade 5 Titanium, with few aesthetic frills.

Richard Mille watches frequently use unconventional materials to aid in their integrity and resiliency. The RM 031 watch utilizes ARCAP®, an extremely low-density, antimagnetic material that resists corrosion. Temperature does not impact the material in any way, so the watch will keep perfect time in all climate conditions.

Richard Mille has injected the case of each watch with argon gas, which is chemically inert. This creates a perfectly neutral interior environment. In essence, the interior of the watch case is a vacuum that remains unaffected by any outside conditions unless it’s damaged—and it’s very hard to damage.

2. Richard Mille 056-02 Tourbillon Sapphire – $2.5 Million

photo source: Richard Mille

The second most expensive Richard Mille watch in the world is the RM 056-02 Tourbillon Sapphire. Only ten of these watches exist in the world and they all sold out instantly. The lucky owners, including famous Rapper and former Degrassi star Drake, paid $2.5 million each.

Why It’s Expensive

The 056-02 watch is a feat of engineering. The watch’s baseplate suspends from its sapphire case by a single 0.35-millimeter braided cable. The entire timepiece functions using a minuscule, highly efficient pulley system.

The open clockwork design means that owners don’t need to remove any tiny screws to check on the internal suspension. The entire intricate system is visible at all times. Many of the internal components are also made of pure sapphire, a rare gemstone.

This landmark model serves to represent Richard Mille’s capabilities as a brand. It was one of the most technically challenging watches that the company has ever made. Even if technology improves to allow for more design innovation, this piece serves as a historical hallmark of excellence in engineering.

1. Richard Mille 056-01 Tourbillon Sapphire – $3.4 Million

photo source: Richard Mille

The most expensive Richard Mille watch in the world is the RM 056-01 Tourbillon Sapphire, which has sold for as much as $3.4 Million. The watch itself is superlative, featuring Mille’s iconic sapphire case. Only five were ever made, and one of them belongs to the worldwide music sensation Jay-Z.

Why It’s Expensive

It’s not easy to create a case entirely out of solid sapphire. Richard Mille processes all his raw materials in Lyss, Switzerland. The Swiss watch company claims that it takes 40 straight days of machining to process the sapphire used in a single watch case.

400 additional hours of pure machining are necessary to manufacture the remaining tourbillon components. This strict attention to detail contributes to the watch’s legendary level of timekeeping precision.

When Mille created this watch in 2011, it was the most complex case ever designed out of pure sapphire. Although Mille improved on the internal engineering with the 056-02, this rare watch was the first of its kind.

The Most Expensive Richard Mille Watches in the World

The most important thing that a watch needs to do is keep the time. The most expensive Richard Mille watches in the world have a reputation for precise timekeeping, unparalleled in the industry. Their materials, aesthetic, and celebrity associations only add to their popularity among the rich and famous.

If you want to know more about the most expensive items on earth, you can learn more about these fascinating status symbols on the blog. Start with this post about the world’s most expensive necklaces.