When Dominic Renaud and Giulio Papi sold their manufacture to Audemars Piguet in 1992, they set only one caveat: to be able to continue working with other brands. Today, their knowledge of other complications is helping Audemars Piguet stay ahead.
One of the brands APRP works with is Richard Mille. The two have collaborated ever since Mr. Richard Mille launched the eponymous line of watches in 2001, with the RM 001.
Today, APRP works hand in hand with Mr. Mille and his team towards the development the brand’s most complicated and sophisticated movements. We saw some of those components when we visited the APRP manufacture with Giulio Papi.
Above, a titanium skull part of the RM 052 Tourbillon Skull, launched at SIHH in 2012, in a limited edition of 15 pieces in titanium. It’s imposed itself as one of the most sought after skull watches, after giving new breath to the memento mori theme.
The skull is built in two parts, both in grade 5 titanium, and the skull is designed to ‘bite’ the tourbillon cage. The movement is suspended inside the skull cage via four titanium bridges. Above, one of only six rose gold RM 052 Tourbillon Skull watches.
We were also lucky to see some parts on their own, as well as assembled into the final product, such as the tourbillon cage pictured above, which goes into the Richard Mille RM 38-01 G-Sensor Tourbillon Bubba Watson.
The latest Bubba Watson is the first Richard Mille to combine the brand’s patented G-sensor with a tourbillon mechanism. Specifically built for powerful swings from professional golfers, it records up to 20 Gs of acceleration. The movement is equally complex and beautiful, and features skeletonized and asymmetrical flying bridges with plates machined from grade 5 titanium.
The Tourbillon Skull and the Bubba Watson make indisputable arguments about the power of collaboration between two brands. Some might argue that Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille aree direct competitors. But the way people are collecting, they most likely have watches from both brands. If they don’t have the two, that’s what they are aiming for anyways. Clearly, both brands are making the right moves, and that includes working together.