Jun 10, 2010 0

A barely usable half-million dollar watch and its website

Aside from Rafael Nadal’s impressive fifth French Open win this past week, he has also received a ton of attention for wearing a half-million dollar ($525,000 to be exact) watch throughout each of his tennis matches. I know, this sounds nuts, but it’s true.

The watch: RM027 by Richard Mille

Although the craftsmanship and the photography for this watch looks flawless, it doesn’t exactly look like a device with which one can easily tell time. A little Googling revealed that the watch weighs the same as a few pennies, is made of strong and lightweight metals and tells accurate time. I thought every watch was made this way.

A worthless exploration

A watch this expensive must have a killer website, right? Wrong! Eager to learn the reasoning behind such a high price tag for a watch without diamonds or gold, I fired up Firefox to check out the watch’s website — Richard-Mille.com. Upon first page load, I was confronted with the ever-annoying splash screen with nearly illegible flashing message indicating optimal screen resolution settings. Boo.

The worst part is that I had a feeling a barely usable Flash site was just one click away. So here it is — no content, just an image and navigation:

I was actually excited to see a link to “The Brand,” so I clicked on it expecting to read focused and inspiring copy about the branding. Instead, I came across microscopic white text over a black background.

After straining my eyes reading a few lines, I gave up and navigated to the “Watches” page. I figured that if reading was going to be difficult I would just look at pictures of the highly publicized RM027 watch. Surprise, surprise! There are no freaking photos of this new watch. Now fully frustrated with the site, I wisely clicked on “Media Corner” as a last attempt to find information about the watch.

I found info for the RM027 on this page, but I had to download a PDF to read about it. WHAT THE F$CK! I don’t want to download a flippin’ PDF to read information that should be content on the site.

Closing remarks

I hate Richard-Mille.com. The site is a perfect example of how to piss off and frustrate visitors. The user experience, readability and music is terrible. In all honesty, I can enjoy the RM027 watch on creative, innovative and artistic merit. And along these lines, this is an exceptional watch. However, as far as usability, telling time on this watch is much like using its site to acquire any useful information. My advise to Richard Mille: Sell one of these watches and then use the money you pocket to hire a Web designer to redesign and restructure your site with the goal of achieving simple usability and exceptional user experience.