When a superstar A-list rapper like Jay-Z wears a multi-million dollar timepiece, the world pays attention. In 2019, the hip hop mogul accepted the NAACP Presidential Award while wearing a blue Sapphire Richard Mille RM56, one that notoriously took 3,000 hours to make and cost a whopping US$2.5 million.
CAPTION: Shawn “Jay-Z” Corey Carter at the 2019 NAACP Presidential Awards, image from IG @superwatchman.
Customised by celeb jeweller Alex Todd, Jay-Z’s multi-million dollar watch showed off the kooky classiness of Richard Mille timepieces. As a black artist who has built an entire musical empire among other businesses, Jay-Z let his creativity play out in his watch selections. The Unique Piece Sapphire Richard Mille RM56 is by no means Jay-Z’s only RM watch — since 2010, the music mogul has sported various RM timepieces including a limited edition RM 27-01 “Rafael Nadal” watch, which was created in collaboration with the tennis legend it was named after.
Aside from Jay-Z, another enthusiastic Richard Mille collector is Chinese K-Pop star Z.Tao. Formerly of the giant K-pop boyband EXO, Z.Tao — Huang Zitao in real life — regularly posts the latest of his Richard Mille collection on Instagram. One of his prized pieces, a one-of-a-kind Richard Mille RMS10 with a koi carp dial, costs at least US$1.2 million in 2020.
CAPTION: Huang Zitao a.k.a Z.Tao shows off some of his Richard Mille collection, image from IG @hztttao
Richard Mille fits very well into Z.Tao’s iconic look: since leaving EXO, he has established himself as a powerhouse performer as a solo artist and actor with a good eye for the luxurious lifestyle befitting the “King of C-Pop”. His personal brand leans towards the youthful and eclectic street style, and he often pairs the trendiest outfits with the iconic tonneau shape of his RM watches. Whether he’s decked out in street style labels like Supreme, Moschino and Fenty X Puma or dressed to the nines with designer brands like Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent, fans spy Z.Tao’s favourite Richard Mille pieces on his wrist.
Made For Champions
It’s not surprising that creative and business geniuses like Jay-Z and Z.Tao opt for the signature look of a Richard Mille timepiece. Despite being a relatively new player in the haute horology industry, the brand has attracted big-name ambassadors and aficionados both from the Asian and Western markets, thanks to its iconic barrel shape and signature exposed tourbillon.
CAPTION: Hollywood actress Michelle Yeoh collaborated with Richard Mille for a women’s collection. Richard Mille has also partnered with Academy-award winner Natalie Portman and Australian actress and producer Margot Robbie. Image from richardmille.com
From Hollywood legends like Sylvester Stallone, Michelle Yeoh, Natalie Portman, Margot Robbie, and Jackie Chan, to the hottest personalities like Nick Jonas, Pharell Williams, Drake, Ed Sheeran and former Channel V VJ Will Pan, celebrities regularly sport Richard Mille timepieces on magazine covers, the red carpet or at the most happening parties. The brand is also often seen on the wrists of the world’s premier athletes like Rafael Nadal, Yohan Blake, Sebastian Ogier, and Kimi Räikkönen, as well as the biggest sports personalities like Italian football coach Roberto Mancini and the F1 CEO himself, Jean Todt. Locally, pop sensation JJ Lin regularly sports his Richard Mille pieces in different events, most recently donning his RM 11-03 Automatic Ultimate Edition to a cycling trip.
Perhaps what attracts these famous people to the unusual beauty of a Richard Mille timepiece is how the brand marries meticulous elegance with personality. Richard Mille never fails to transmit its core concept — that of the finest watchmaking techniques designed to be both enduring and easy to use while conveying high sophistication. An RM timepiece has become more than a fashion statement: it has also become an emblem of a man of distinct social and financial status.
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