Watchmakers face a number of challenges when it comes to designing sports watches for women. They have to be tough but feminine, durable but not too chunky, chic but not too glamorous. And all of these considerations have to fit inside a case that is often half the size of their masculine counterparts. But Richard Mille has always navigated these demands with ease since its over-engineered, everything-resistant timepieces have made even its most gem-encrusted ladies’ watches hardy enough to handle most activities.
So when the brand decided to work on its first dedicated ladies’ sports collection, it had to deliver even more style and more technical sophistication. Keeping in mind the many female athletes in their family of brand partners, Richard Mille wanted to offer “an even more technical piece to support them in their sporting activities”, according to brand and partnerships director Amanda Mille. “The idea had been maturing for a while, given that creating a movement with very sporty codes for such a small watch took a great deal of time.”
That “small watch” is the new RM 07-04 Automatic Sport and it took three years to develop. Dedicated to six top female athletes, the cheery collection is powered by the new in-house CRMA8 calibre, which the brand claims is its most compact automatic movement yet. Skeletonised movements are more fragile given how much of the movement is deliberately cut away, but the CRMA8 was rigorously tested to ensure it could withstand 5,000 g (g-force) of acceleration and 50m of water depth. The baseplate and bridges are black PVD-treated titanium that has been hand-finished with polished angles, milled sections, micro-blasted sinks, and satin-finished surfaces.
The CRMA8 is a time-only movement, but it includes the brand’s emblematic function selector. It allows the crown to be disengaged from the movement when not in use, improving the latter’s resistance to shock. A colourful pusher at 4 o’clock lets you select between neutral (N), winding (W), or time-setting (H) modes, with a small hand at 5 o’clock to indicate the chosen function.
The entire watch, including the Velcro strap, weighs just 36g, thanks to Carbon TPT and Quartz TPT cases — composite materials Richard Mille favours for their exceptional shock resistance and lightness. Each of the six debut models boasts a colour inspired by the brand’s latest crop of elite sportswomen partners, and their achievements are nothing short of phenomenal.
American race car driver Aurora Straus was only 19 when she became the first and only professional teenage female racer in North America in 2018. Fellow roadster Margot Laffite inherited her love for motorsports from her racing- driver father Jacques Laffite, and gained further prominence in France for her TV presenter roles.
In the track and field realm is Ukrainian high jumper Yuliya Leychenko, who earned the gold medal at the 2014 Youth Olympics, and ranked second in the world in 2017. She is joined by Belgian heptathlete Nafi Thiam, a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Czech skier Ester Ledecka was the first athlete to win both the skiing and snowboarding events in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and Nelly Korda is currently the world’s No. 2 female golfer with a 2020 Olympic gold medal and seven wins at the LPGA Tour.
Six personalities have been distilled into six bright colourways. The collection’s only Carbon TPT model is in black, while the remaining five Quartz TPT references are in creamy white, mauve, salmon, green, and dark blue, all with contrasting flanges, crown rings, pushers, and straps.
Each tonneau-shaped case measures 30.5mm wide by 44.95mm long, and is just 10.35mm thick — pure performance in highly wearable dimensions.
“We did not take a minimalist approach in this design. We chose an airy movement that revealed its complexity at first glance,” said creative and development director Cecile Guenat. Guenat, who trained as a jeweller and was the same creative visionary behind similarly joyful Richard Mille collections like the RM 71-01 Automatic Tourbillon Talisman and the RM 07-01 Automatic Coloured Ceramics.
“Offering a women’s skeleton sports watch is a gamble few have dared to take. This collection is as much about aesthetics as it is about technicity.”