This $AU1.94 Million Emoji Watch Is Best Summed Up With One Emoji

This $AU1.94 Million Emoji Watch Is Best Summed Up With One Emoji

As much as I love my smartwatch, I can still appreciate the design and engineering that goes into a traditional mechanical timepiece — most of the time. Richard Mille hopes to capitalise on the era of mobile devices and the devolution of the written word with a new watch packed full of three-dimensional emoji, but only one emoji comes to mind when I think about spending $US1.22 ($AU1.94) million on the RM 88 Automatic Tourbillon Smiley.

The official story behind the inception of the RM 88 Automatic Tourbillon Smiley, as explained by Hodinkee, centres around the most prominent emoji hiding behind its moving hands: the smiley face. Created by artist Harvey Ball in 1963, the iconic smiley face was licensed in 1972 by Franklin Loufrani, the founder of the Smiley Company, who has made hundreds of millions of dollars by licensing out the grinning visage to other brands and companies, including Richard Mille now. The RM 88 Automatic Tourbillon Smiley commemorates the 50th anniversary of Loufrani’s licensing deal, not the creation of the smiley itself in 1963, which actually seems kind of fitting for a $US1.22 million timepiece.


So what justifies the steep price tag of this cheery wearable? From a horological perspective, it features a new movement, the automatic Calibre CRMT7, that took the company three years to develop so that its design left as much free space inside the watch’s case for a collection of 3D hand-finished gold sculptures representing emoji like a pink flamingo, a pineapple, a couple of rainbows, a cactus, a drink with an umbrella, and the sun.

The watch’s power reserve is rated at around 50 hours, which means that every couple of days the tension of its mainspring will be depleted. But since this is an ‘automatic’ movement, it features a spinning weight that’s constantly in motion as a result of the wearer’s natural movements and handles all the winding. So unless the watch goes unworn for a couple of days, it never needs to be manually wound or have the time reset.


Other luxury features include the use of materials like grade five titanium and yellow gold used generously throughout, a case made from a durable white ceramic strengthened with aluminium oxide, and a yellow fabric velcro strap, which might be its most practical feature.

The RM 88 Automatic Tourbillon Smiley will be limited to just a 50-piece run to help maintain its exclusivity, but how many people are really going to be lining up to drop that much money on a watch filled with an emoji collage?

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