PARIS — Thieves broke into an office in Paris belonging to Swiss luxury watchmaker Richard Mille in the early hours of Monday and made off with prototypes and documents, a spokesman for the brand said.
The burglary took place on Rue Boissy d’Anglas in an area filled with jewelry and watch stores, but entirely separate from Richard Mille’s store on nearby Avenue Matignon. Police are investigating the theft, but French media reports pegging the value of the items at several million euros are wrong, said the spokesman, who asked not to be named because it is against company policy.
“The numbers that have been circulating in the press are in no way realistic,” he said. “There is a black market value for this type of watch but it has no commercial value.” The prototypes, used for editorial shoots, are clearly labeled as such and carry serial numbers that make them impossible to resell, he added.
Founded by French businessman Richard Mille in 1999, the company specializes in making highly complicated watches in avant-garde materials like sapphire and titanium, with price tags running up to $2 million. Friends of the brand include Rafael Nadal, Felipe Massa and Natalie Portman.
Richard Mille occasionally donates prototypes for sale at charity auctions. The RM 27-02 prototype worn by Nadal during the 2015 French Open at Roland Garros sold for 650,000 Swiss francs, or $644,000, at the Only Watch auction last November. Dollar rates are calculated at average exchange rates for the period in question.