Watchuseek Blog

Monday, January 28, 2013

Photo finish: Yohan Blake concludes SIHH with visit to Richard Mille manufacture

Jamaican speed met Swiss precision when World Champion sprinter Yohan Blake, 100 metres silver medallist at the 2012 Olympic Games, visited the Richard Mille manufacture on Wednesday last, just after the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, which opened on Monday 21st January.

The sprinter, known as ‘The Beast,’ was keen to immerse himself in the atmosphere of this temple devoted to fine watchmaking.

Accompanied by his personal staff, Yohan set off to meet Richard Mille’s team of watchmakers in the Swiss Canton of Jura. He was introduced to  manufacturing director, Yves Mathys, who showed him around the production facilities. Yohan then signed several pairs of sprint shoes after the tour. 

Of course this was not the first time that the 23-year-old Jamaican has been to Switzerland.  It’s in Lausanne
on August 23rd 2012, that Johan became the third greatest sprinter of all time by winning his 100 m race in 9.69 seconds. Johan made world headlines by beating his personal best by six-hundredths of a second, as well as confirming his potential to smash records. 

Richard Mille RM059-01 Yohan Blake Tourbillon

His new Richard Mille watch, which debuted at SIHH, is hitting the headlines as well. Called the Richard Mille RM59-01 Yohan Blake Tourbillon, it’s specially designed for the sprinter to be worn while actually sprinting.

The strident green strapped watch is made of a translucent composite, injected with carbon nanotubes. It is both ultra-light and ultra-strong. And as with all RM pieces, this piece is filled with all kinds of high-tech materials and technology.

The watch is an impressive 50.24mm x 42.7mm x 15.84 mm. The bridges on the watch are designed to resemble the claws of  ‘The Beast’. Limited to just 50 pieces it’s going to be a sprint for wealthy playboys to get hold of one of these very rare watches.

GTE 2013: Hautlence HLRQ02 and HLRQ03

 HLRQ 02

High-end Swiss watchmakers Hautlence – whose name is an anagram of the heart of Swiss watchmaking, Neuchatel – chose the Geneva Time Exhibition (GTE) last week to unveil the new HLRQ. It’s a more robust, athletic model than the original HLQ launched in 2009. It includes some of its predecessors' classic character with a bolder, more modern style typical of the AVANT-GARDE family which it joins as the latest addition.

Launched in 2012, the AVANT-GARDE line is HAUTLENCE's ready-to-wear collection. The brand has created a stylish, powerful line taking inspiration primarily from the curves and aesthetic codes of avant-garde design. The first HLRS models, which were unveiled in October 2012, were an immediate commercial success. 


HAUTLENCE HLQ with a calendar, which was followed two years later by the more subtle HLQ Classic. Both versions bore all the brand's hallmarks; an in-house movement and a specific display of the time with jumping hours, retrograde minutes and instantaneous calendar.

For 2013, the brand has reinterpreted the design cues of the earlier models  in a dynamic way to produce a brand new version as part of the AVANT-GARDE family. Refreshed with a stylish contemporary appearance, the HLRQ features a 44mm case, made from steel with or without a black and titanium DLC coating, and with more imposing horns.

The sapphire dial – designed by Hautlence – lends transparency and depth, revealing the in-house mechanical hand-wound movement with its jumping hours and retrograde minutes (thanks to the famous HAUTLENCE connecting rods system) and its calendar. The impression of weightlessness is further enhanced by the overlapping discs designed to create a stepped effect.

Created in HAUTLENCE's Atelier d’horlogerie contemporaine, the HLRQ line is available as an unlimited series. However, it still features the same degree of excellence in its hand finished “Côte de Genève” and hand finished angled bridges. The first two models in this line will be available to purchase from summer 2013, in two different versions:

AVANT-GARDE - HLRQ02  Case in steel and titanium, sapphire dial. Alligator strap with titanium folding or pin buckle.

AVANT-GARDE - HLRQ03 Case in titanium and steel covered by black DLC, sapphire dial. Alligator strap with titanium folding or pin buckle.

The watches will be priced at CHF33,000 to 35,000.

Visit the Hautlence website

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