I am a huge fan of sports, motorsports certainly, but not exclusively. What inspires me in sports are performance and technique. Since antiquity, athletes have had the power to fascinate. These gods of the stadium are winning machines, yet no less human for all that; it is precisely this paradox which has always interested me. How far can you push the limits, while retaining your soul and values, a descendant worthy of Pierre de Coubertin, inventor of the modern Olympic Games? These are gripping questions not only for athletics, but for life. When I first met Wayde, I already knew I was facing one of the fastest men of all time, but it was his personality more than anything else that captivated me. It goes beyond a relationship to time, which we naturally share, or the quest to always shave off some hundredths of a second, beyond a perpetual search for innovation. My imagination immediately told me what watch he might wear. A sporty, beefed up version of our extra flat RM 67-01, able, like Wayde himself, to fly over obstacles and over the track.
How did your collaboration with Richard Mille begin?
400-metre olympic champion and world record holder
I met Richard in the Spring 2016, when my agent introduced me to an intriguing gentleman I knew nothing about, except that he was wearing an amazing watch. I had no idea who he was at first. But, within a minute, I was captivated by the story he told me about what he was doing in the watch industry, and the sports personalities he was working with. After hearing the whole story, I was naturally interested when he offered me the opportunity to join the Richard Mille team, and this chance meeting blossomed into a new friendship.Time and speed are at the heart of your life, but what is your personal relationship to time?
When I am off the track, time is a very relative thing... A minute can feel like an hour, a week like a month. But in practical terms, I am a very punctual person, because I associate punctuality with respect. In my career, however, it is an entirely different story. Time is very important, important even down to the smallest fraction of a second imaginable. So, I am personally always physically chasing time to improve myself, improve my speed and just trying to improve as an athlete. Every second and fraction of a second makes such a difference to an athlete’s career it’s crazy. In the end, time means an progress for me.
What were your discussions with the Richard Mille teams like during the development of your watch?
The most important thing for me was comfort, and Richard was really interested in what makes me comfortable. I was very involved with the strap and the overall appearance of the watch. It relates to me and to where I come from, with the inclusion of the South African flag, incorporated into the design of the watch movement and colours.
What do you expect from your RM 67-02?
The power reserve of an automatic winding wristwatch like this is definitely a bonus for me. It makes it easier to just put it on and go, and not worry about winding it all the time. I can also relax with this watch, as Richard explained to me in great detail how tough it is inside and out. It can really take a lot of shocks, so I don’t have to worry about it during sports events with the fast movements and shock my body gets exposed to.