Observing an orchestra conductor wave their hands and baton in the air may seem like madness to anyone unfamiliar with the skill associated in leading a symphony. Yet like the hands on an exquisite timepiece, they are not without purpose. Conductors use their hands to set the tempo of the performers and unifying them as one, resulting in aural nirvana. Hence why they are often referred to as maestros, as should be Bernard Richards of B.R.M Chronographes. The luxury watchmaker from France is an automobile, motorcycle and racing enthusiast, known for creating incredible art you can wear worthy of the Louvre.
Bernard has put his company B.R.M Chronographes into the spotlight by creating impeccably designed, engineered and purposeful watches to a clientele not simply looking for an elite product but a truly original one. Combining his life passions, acquired skills and natural talents, Maestro Richards has the pleasure of providing personalized extravagance to his patrons. The enthusiasm he has as an individual in crafting each piece perfectly is equalled by a dedicated team of experts with whom he works side by side near the picturesque city of Paris.
Growing up and living in France meant young Bernard had no shortage of motorsport and automotive culture. “When I was young, I loved motorbikes a lot,” he says. “Eventually I became very interested in automobiles.” His love for motorcycles igniting at the age of 14 and a short five years later the spark burned into a full-fledged fire as he developed a deep love for cars. “The passion for cars may have come a little later on,” continues the Maestro, “though it is still very present in my everyday life.” Looking at his creations and designs easily reveals his appreciation and respect for the technical and mechanical influences associated with his passions. “In France, we are very fortunate when it comes to motor racing. We’ve had many French teams in Formula One like Matra, Renault, Ligier, AGS etc. We also host the 24 hours of Le Mans, the biggest auto race in the world. As an enthusiast, this event has become an annual pilgrimage for myself as I stay there the entire week, every year!” His commitment and delight for the sport translates flawlessly into his profession to the benefit of his consumers. The interest he has for racing is not simply entertaining for him, but also inspiring him, teaching him and challenging him.
Ever since coming into existence in 2003 B.R.M Chronographes has always had a strong connection to the race track. Incredibly enough they also have a huge bond with the golf course. Motorsport and golf seem like polar opposites and in fact they might very well be. However, Bernard was able to connect the two sports together very easily. “We started our adventure as B.R.M Chronographes by not just involving and inspiring ourselves from automotive world, but mechanical sports in general.” Referring to jet-ski, motorcycle and boat competition as well. “Anything with an engine peaked our interest and practicing such sports involves immense concentration and self-discipline. Which is why so many drivers also practice golf. It motivated me to create the only automatic watch able to withstand the art of practicing golf.” Ever so present in both motorsport and golf makes sense knowing B.R.M Chronographes used their own innovative technology to equip timepieces with springs and shock absorbers to allow them to withstand all sorts of shock and impact.
The wristwatch making industry has no shortage of giants, but what sets B.R.M Chronographes apart from the rest is the shared vision of an entire team behind each crafted example. The vision being one of pure luxury as described by Bernard, “For me, luxury means authenticity, rarity. Something made to measure. An expensive piece available in the hundreds of thousands is not a luxury product. Whether in watchmaking, fashion, automotive or anything else.” The atelier has no need or intention to mass produce the complex appearing time telling devices. Manufacturing only an approximate 3,000 units annually, B.R.M Chronographes remains the only watch company in France making all their parts and components. “Mass producing custom watches is not possible. People visit our website to configure their watch because they are searching for something unique.” A simple philosophy that places the client at the nucleus of the process, allowing them to fully control their very own portrayal of gusto and glamour. Creating their own personally composed metaphorical symphonic masterpieces while permitting Bernard Richards to immaculately conduct the orchestra as they perform each note as intended.
As the company continues to gain popularity and is regularly commissioned by celebrities, athletes and heads of industry, the belief of providing personalized luxury remains and always will. Watches are no longer just for simply telling time. They have become an extension of personality, a statement of identity. B.R.M Chronographes proves daily why they are in the upper echelon of watch making. Beautiful enough to pause time, each example means something special to someone and that in itself is a luxury. The simple passion for motorcycles and automobiles has steered Bernard Richards on to the path he now leads. Creating stunning customized timepieces to be enjoyed by the people who wear them and appreciated by the people who see them. Bravo Maestro, bravo.