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Jenson Button. - PHOTO RICHARD MILLE

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The Asia-exclusive Richard Mille RM 011. - PHOTO RICHARD MILLE

Time Racer

Formula 1 racer Jenson Button clearly loves his Richard Mille watches.
Nov 5, 2016 5:50 AM

Jenson Button got excited the moment he heard his team McLaren-Honda was signing a long-term partnership with Richard Mille at the end of 2015.

"I've known (founder) Richard for quite a long time," says the 2009 Formula 1 World Champion, who bought his first Richard Mille timepiece that very year and another in 2011.

The 36-year-old was wearing an Asia-exclusive edition of the iconic RM 011 when he made a pit stop appearance at the Richard Mille Marina Bay Sands boutique in September during the Singapore Grand Prix.

He adds, "I've been a big fan since - I love the technology and the design - and I love that Richard himself has such a passion for motor sports and cars so we have a lot in common."

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The partnership is another crucial one linking the world of motor racing with high-end watchmaking as they inspire one another to push the boundaries of precision engineering.

A range of unique and exclusive calibres will be developed by Richard Mille in tribute to McLaren bagging 20 world championships and 182 grand prix over the span of half a century.

The relatively young luxury watch brand itself has also been winning over horology aficionados with technically stunning timepieces for the past 15 years.

Its RM 008 features a tourbillon movement, split-seconds chronograph and even a torque indicator; while the RM 056 with its see-through all-sapphire skeletal case is a world's first.

Demand often outstrips supply of Richard Mille watches - the latter is a limited edition of just five pieces - even though prices range from a few hundred thousand to over $1 million for these cool masterpieces.

All that should serve as a reminder of how precious time is and Button - who recently announced he would be hanging up his steering wheel once the checkered flag comes down at the final Formula 1 race in Abu Dhabi later this month - says he is looking forward to spending more time with his loved ones.

"I see my family only about five or six times a year. My sisters have so many kids and I've missed seeing them grow up, so it'll be lovely to spend time with them," quips the Englishman who knew he was born to race when his father gave him a go-kart when he was eight. He has been burning rubber professionally since he was 20.

When asked what he would do if he had an extra hour everyday, Button shares: "I'd go to the gym - I know that sounds really sad but I love my training and I do triathlons for fun and am hoping to qualify for the world championship next year!"

WORDS DYLAN TAN. INTERVIEW AVANTI NIM.

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