Swiss watch manufacturer Richard Mille opened its largest boutique in the world this month, in New York City. Located at 46 East 57th Street, in the heart of Manhattan, the 4,200-square-foot flagship becomes the ninth Richard Mille boutique in the Americas. A two-story oasis of sleek contemporary design, bathed in abundant natural light, the boutique represents a new architectural standard for the luxury brand. “From the company’s earliest days, a standalone boutique in New York City has been a top objective for me,” says Richard Mille, founder and CEO of the company. “But I am never one to rush a project if it isn’t perfect. For New York, where the boutique is an important showcase with global visibility, it was well worth waiting for just the right location, and the right space.” Mr. Mille and John Simonian, CEO of Richard Mille Americas, started the search for the ideal boutique location in New York a decade ago. As it turned out, the property they ultimately selected did not even exist 10 years ago. Today, the New York flagship resides on a stretch of 57th Street that has since gained the moniker “Billionaire’s Row,” thanks to the development of ultra-luxury residential skyscrapers in the vicinity.
The extreme technicity and artistry that defines Richard Mille timepieces is also evident in every element of the boutique, starting with the 30-foot-high glass façade that is visible a city block away. The two-story transparent wall is illuminated by 156 feet of LED lights, to create a glowing presence at the foundation of the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere. Twenty-four massive panels of glass—totaling 37,000 pounds are individually engraved and arranged three-deep to form an ethereal sculpture based on Richard Mille’s RM 008 Tourbillon movement. Itself an engineering feat, the façade required the development of metal cladding that could hold the panels in place, including 13 tons of glass suspended from the ceiling. The New York boutique was designed by Richard Mille’s Paris-based in-house team, and constructed by New York-based TPG Architecture, and Viridis of Norwalk, Connecticut.