In an atelier near Paris, Bernard Richards works in great secrecy on this art handed down through his family. Day and night, with his coworkers, he turns and assembles pieces with the most complex appearance, those that others do not know how to shape anymore. The giants of the luxury sector and of watchmaking call on him. In the utmost discretion of course.
For Bernard Richards, luxury is "attention to technical details and perfection at every stage".
No stamped cases with built-in lugs, but rather separate machining of each component, which is what makes it so difficult to affix the lugs by screwing them onto the case. In this way, different combinations of colours and materials are possible (black titanium case with polished stainless steel lugs/grey titanium case with polished stainless steel lugs).
The cases are machined in bars of titanium 3m long, while most other watchmakers use a single stamping press to adjust a piece 16-18mm deep. This technical virtuosity can be expressed in figures, with a case being made up of 18 different components, while a standard case would have only two or three.
At BRM it is "from the excellence of the details that performance is born".
The buckle of the strap has no fewer than 12 parts, instead of the usual three used in high-end watches.
Over 20 transfers are required to make the dial of a watch.
For the hands, Bernard Richards could have settled for the hundreds of options offered by sub-contracters, but he would not hear of it, and designed perforated hands which would not be out of place on the finest pedal units of transalpine carmakers.
The watches' assembly screws are also specific, being made up of three holes, it takes almost 12 times as long to machine them as it would for an average watch.
Lastly, all the key tasks, from fitting to assembly, to setting to polishing, are done by hand.
Like in the car industry, watchmaking has its own wizards, known only to those involved in this microcosm of the quest for perfection. In this elite milieu, the phrase mass production is nowhere to be found, still less will one hear talk of productivity. The watch-word is perfection!With over 25 years' experience in watchmaking, BRM makes 2,000 watches a year altogether, and as such consciously avoids annual mass production.
After two years of secrecy and experimentation in the pocket-sized manufacture, the first BRM watch saw the light of day. A fine piece: classic, powerful, and sharp. Built to outlast all fashions.
This imposing automatic chronograph (GP44) is a distillation of the latest in digital technology and skill. From selecting the best metals, to setting the case, each stage of production is unique. The watches are never shaped by deformation, only through the removal of material, leaving their molecular structure intact. Machining tolerances are more like those used in nano-industries than in watchmaking! BRM is a flight of fancy, and cannot be pigeonholed. A unique piece. Its future reputation will be built on quality not quantity.