hat a diabolically clever man, this Richard Mille. While for most watchmakers, the arts and crafts perpetuate a very outdated, eighteenth-century-style iconography made up of flowers, wild animals and bucolic landscapes, here he is, opening up a bright, pop-arty and psychedeliccoloured candy jar.
“Candy doesn’t have to have a point. that’s why it’s candy.” From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a film by Tim Burton
Lollipops, marshmallows, cupcakes, liquorice, bilberries, lychees, cherries, kiwis, strawberries, lemons – before our very eyes an explosion of 60 dazzling colours across 10 different models: 4 Sweets and 6 Fruits. Take a basket and pick and mix. On condition, it must be pointed out, that you’re the kid of very rich parents. These little treats, 300 in all, weigh between CHF 106,000 and 157,000 each. Some have up to 16 sweets and fruits per dial. All in relief and of breathtaking micro-realism.
Say what one will, Richard the Candy Man is way ahead of the rest of planet Horology. This said, he’s no stranger to colours, materials and textures. He has played with them in an extremely disciplined manner since his debut in 1999, from the outset combining visibly avant-garde mechanical architecture with research into materials. Hence the colours. And when Richard Mille does something, he does not do it by halves. Developing one single colour/texture/material – for example, imitating with precious exactitude the texture of a liquorice wheel – “takes us a year and demands an investment of over 100,000 francs” they tell us, with the utmost seriousness.
As if made to measure for twenty-first-century Marie- Antoinettes (100% motorised in consequence), these contemporary fine-art candies make their co-exhibits, vaunting their butterflies from a bygone age, look positively antiquated.
No doubt some shrewd opportunists will soon be jumping on this bandwagon, which is already “trending”. To prove the point: the Bonbons (of which there are 300 in all, remember) are already sold out.