One could say Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille takes quality-control to the extreme. The manufacturer partners with leading athletes who wear Richard Mille watches while they perform their sport. The G forces of a car race, the impact of a polo mallet…these are usually avoided at all costs by watchmakers but Richard Mille seeks them out for the benefit of maximal field testing.
This year, Richard Mille and 25-year-old free diver Arnaud Jerald paired up, prior to Jerald’s attempt to break a world record at the Vertical Blue competition in The Bahamas. “You take very little with you when you free-dive: your nose clip and your fins, that’s it,” says Jerald. “From now on, my watch will be coming on the adventure with me too. As a free diver my watch isn’t there for effect, I wear it because I believe in it.” Jerald selected Richard Mille’s RM 032 Automatic Chronograph dive watch in titanium as his new companion on dives into the deep. The caliber is protected by a large 50 mm case with water-resistance of 984 feet (300m), and a unidirectional turning bezel compliant with ISO 6425 norms that prevents miscalculations while diving.
He put the watch to its first competitive test twice in July, during the annual Vertical Blue freediving competition in The Bahamas, which attracted 41 competitors this year. On his first attempt, Jerald broke his own previous world record by descending to a depth of 380 feet (116m). Four days later he attained 383 feet (117m), in a dive lasting 3 minutes and 35 seconds. “Today I was in a pure state of flow,” he said. Acknowledging that his new world record may fall again, he added: “Who knows how deep we will be able to go?”