One of the most remarkable wristwatches ever produced is heading to Sotheby’s next month: the Richard Mille RM56-02.
The highly rare timepiece will be one of the highlights of Sotheby’s Hong Kong Important Watches Autumn Sale, which takes place on October 2.
Described as a "watchmaking milestone", the RM56-02 is a tonneau-form skeletonized tourbillon wristwatch with a case made entirely of sapphire crystal.
The front bezel, case band and back bezel are all milled and ground from solid sapphire, making them completely transparent, scratch resistant and virtually weightless.
However, the nature of the material meant it took around 1500 hours of sapphire machining to make a single watch.
Perhaps it’s no surprise then that the Swiss manufacturer produced just 10 examples, to celebrate the Hong Kong Watches & Wonder event in 2015.
Within the case, the entire movement is suspended using a groundbreaking cable and pulley system first pioneered on the RM 27-01 Nadal watch.
Upon release, each of the watches came with an eye-watering price-tag of just over $2 million – but all ten were instantly snapped up by discerning (and incredibly wealth) collectors.
Although Sotheby’s haven’t provides an estimate for the RM56-02, you can expect a strong seven-figure sum for a watch described as "a true testament to Richard Mille’s commitment to perfection".
Elsewhere, the sale in Hong Kong will offer another stunning timepiece: a Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref.5002R, regarded by many horologists as "the most important wristwatch manufactured this century".
The 5002R is the most complicated wristwatch ever created by Patek Philippe, and features twelve complications on two dials including a tourbillon, perpetual calendar, retrograde date, sky chart and moon-phases.
It’s believed that just two examples are made each year, making the 5002R one of the world’s most sought-after watches, and the example offered at Sotheby’s is expected to sell for $1 – $1.3 million.