Founded in 2001, the eponymous atelier opened the new millennium with the Richard Mille RM 001 Tourbillon, a timepiece that revolutionised the way watches were perceived. A once upon a time very conservative and traditionalist industry, Richard Mille reinvigorated the industry and paved the way for countless contemporary and highly futuristic models. Now, some 20 years later, Richard Mille is one of the hottest watchmaking institutions on the planet, with waiting lists as long as the sea is wide, grey market prices soaring through the stratosphere and people clamouring over one another to get their hands on anything from the brand. If you're looking for a Richard Mille but don't have the deep pockets to buy one or patience wait for one, we've put together a handful of alternatives that we think fit the bill of being highly contemporary, somewhat futuristic, pioneering in design, sound in execution and above all else carrying with it that Richard Mille x-factor. Enjoy!
Franck Muller Vanguard Grande Date Chronograph
The Franck Muller Vanguard Grande Date looks like a refined and sophisticated version of a Richard Mille. I love the smooth, svelte look of the tonneau case and bezel, the elongated rectangular pushers and the semi-openworking of the dial. A fantastic alternative.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel “High Jewellery”
Just about as epic as an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked can be, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel “High Jewellery” reference 15469BC.ZZ.D001CR.01 is a remarkable piece that features a white gold case set almost entirely with diamonds, giving it a somewhat sapphire-block look.
Buy here on Ebay.
Girard Perregaux Laureato Absolute Light Bucherer Blue
Another openworked marvel that packs serious horological punch is the Girard Perregaux Laureato Absolute Light Bucherer Blue. Perhaps not as directly comparable to Richard Mille as the other pieces on this list, the Girard Perregaux Laureato Absolute Light Bucherer Blue does, like some of Richard Mille's pieces, being encased in a sapphire crystal.
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Hublot MP-05 La Ferrari
The Hublot MP-05 La Ferrari is a neat bit of haute horlogerie kit whose aesthetic is as dramatic and polarising as many of Richard Mille's timepieces. A very interesting alternative, for sure.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph
If there is anything to compete with the might of Richard Mille, it's the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph. Encased in ceramic, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph is a brute of horology and features some of the finest and most complex watchmaking.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Huracán
I liken Roger Dubuis to be Richard Mille's most direct counterpart, with the Excalibur Spider Huracán being an exceptional example of both maison's respective similarities, and differences.
Angelus U50 Diver Tourbillon
While my heart will forever lie with the U30 Tourbillon Rattrapante, the Angelus U50 Diver Tourbillon is a divine bit of watchmaking whose dramatic aesthetic rivals even that of Richard Mille's. An interesting, albeit less common alternative.
Buy here on Ebay.
Hublot Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski King Gold
Another Hublot, this time in the form of the abstract-looking Classic Fusion Tourbillon Orlinski King Gold. I love the pattern on the openworked dial, the use of King Gold throughout and the contrasting black strap. Perhaps not as directly comparative as something from Audemars Piguet or Franck Muller, but a solid plan B.
Devon Tread1 Steampunk
Sometimes you need to think outside the box to find alternatives to Richard Mille, and the Devon Tread1 Steampunk is going to be the most out-of-the-box timepiece you'll come across. With a series of interwoven time belts, the Tread1 Steampunk is unlike anything you've ever seen.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon Chronograph
If the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph was a plausible alternative to anything from Richard Mille, then the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon Chronograph is going to be the one to take the cake. Undeniably seductive, pure, complex and completely endowed in Audemars Piguet's venerable traits, the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon Chronograph is the collector's choice.
Panerai Submersible EcoPangaea™ Tourbillon GMT PAM01108
Another very interesting alternative to Richard Mille's watches is Panerai's Submersible EcoPangaea™ Tourbillon GMT PAM01108. The Panerai Submersible EcoPangaea™ Tourbillon GMT PAM01108 is an epic combination of complexity, of openworking, of differentiation and of marching to the beat of your own drum. Simply superb.
Buy here on Ebay.
Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon
Bvlgari's Octo Finissimo Tourbillon is another interesting choice. Super contemporary and avant-garde, much like Richard Mille's watches, the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon is extravagant, epic and absolutely breathtaking. And it's priced much, much cheaper than any comparable Richard Mille tourbillon.
Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton Tourbillon
Fans of extreme openworking rejoice, for Ulysse Nardin has heeded your call. Here is the Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton Tourbillon. Modern, borderline futuristic and with free space almost everywhere, the Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton Tourbillon's minimalistic look belies its true complexities.
Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Skeleton
Tonneau shaped, like almost every Richard Mille watch, the Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Skeleton is an awesome spectacle of watchmaking, albeit something a touch less extreme. But still with its own sense of identity.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Aventador S Carbon
Last, but certainly not least, is the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Aventador S Carbon. Like the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Huracán, the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Aventador S Carbon is another direct competitor to virtually anything from the house of Richard Mille. I love this piece, even more so because of its secondes morte complication, a super traditional mechanism that is a far cry from the absurdly contemporary look of the piece itself.
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