At last week’s SIHH watch fair in Geneva, Richard Mille debuted a new skeletonized tourbillon split seconds chronograph movement, which is the engine inside two new limited edition timepieces.
RM 056 Tourbillon Split Seconds Competition Chronograph Felipe Massa is a limited edition of five pieces. The case is made entirely of sapphire crystal, which required more than 1,000 hours to machine from solid blocks of crystal.
RM 050 Tourbillon Split Seconds Competition Chronograph Felipe Massa is a limited edition of 10 pieces. Its case is composed of polymer composite injected with carbon nanotubes, which are much more resistant to shocks than carbon fiber. This watch will be worn by Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa (Team Ferrari) during all races this season.
TOURBILLON SPLIT SECONDS COMPETITION CHRONOGRAPH RM 050 FELIPE MASSA
The newly designed manual winding tourbillon movement caliber RMCC1 with hours, minutes, chronograph, split seconds, power reserve, torque indicator and function indicator represents a new step at Richard Mille Watches.
The flagship RM 008 Tourbillon split seconds model has for some 8 years been a landmark in the world of watchmaking as the first new split seconds chronograph development of the 21st century. Now, the split seconds Competition Chronograph RM 050 Felipe Massa represents a new movement development that takes all the best characteristics of the original RM 008 but with new advancements, bringing it to an unequaled level of performance.
This new caliber launched in the RM 050 is not a simple exercise of merely reviewing the existing RM008 movement. The engineers at Richard Mille began by researching every possible manner to lower the movement weight by 20%, the equivalent of 10 grams, making the total movement weight a mere 9.5 grams.
The baseplate and bridges are created from grade 5 titanium, an alloy composed of 90% titanium, 6% aluminum and 4% vanadium. Often used in the aeronautic, aerospace and automobile industries, it offers great resistance to corrosion combined with high rigidity. Its light weight/high strength ratio when used in the baseplate of the RM 050 make it an ideal choice as the foundation for perfect functionality of the going train. Further development of the caliber with its skeletonized baseplate and bridges as well as innovative movement designs meant the creation of more than 400 new parts for the caliber. A fast rotating winding barrel, balance with variable inertia, function indicator, torque indicator and split seconds mechanism with improved performance are only a small selection of what this extraordinary movement has to offer. In parallel to these aspects, the Richard Mille engineers have optimized the movement to the maximum, notably the precision and calculations of the long-term timekeeping aspects. The result is a beast of a watch at the cutting edge of what is possible.
A movement created at this level requires a fitting enclosure, and the case of the watch has also received the full attention of the engineers. It is composed of polymer composite injected with carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes are extremely resistant to stress (200 times more than steel) and very light. These nanotubes have the ability to absorb violent shocks significantly higher than that of carbon fibers due to their structure and unique geometry and their higher surface/volume equilibrium.
The new split seconds Competition Chronograph RM 050 Felipe Massa represents the ultimate in split seconds timing for the 21st century and beyond.
Limited edition of 10 pieces in carbon nanotubes.
TOURBILLON SPLIT SECONDS COMPETITION CHRONOGRAPH RM 056 FELIPE MASSA SAPPHIRE
The highly skeletonized RM 056 movement reproduces all the characteristics of the RMCC1 caliber, a manual winding tourbillon movement with hours, minutes, chronograph split seconds, power reserve, torque and function indicators.
This new caliber is not a simple exercise of merely reviewing the existing RM008 movement; it utilizes the best design characteristics combined with further advances, bringing it to an unequaled level of performance for long-term timekeeping precision and durability.
The movement weight has been reduced by 20%, requiring the creation of more than 400 new parts. The skeletonized grade 5 titanium baseplate with its light weight/high strength ratio makes it an ideal choice as the foundation for perfect functionality of the going train as well as offering a great resistance to corrosion. A fast rotating winding barrel, balance with variable inertia, function indicator, torque indicator and split seconds mechanism with improved performance are only a small selection of what the Richard Mille engineers did to create this extraordinary watch, a cutting edge timepiece.
A unique evolution of this tourbillon split seconds Chrono Competition RM 056 Felipe Massa is that its entire case -front bezel, caseband and back bezel- is cut and milled from solid blocks of sapphire, a feat of engineering and a strong visual statement. The production of this sapphire structure took years of research and testing in order to ensure an adequate response to the demands of strength and comfort. This is the first time that such a complex case design has been realized in this material. Sapphire is known as a particularly scratch-resistant material and one of the hardest materials on Earth, with a Mohs rating of 9.0. Made of aluminium oxide (Al2O3) crystals, it is transparent thanks to its molecular composition. The machining of such components was the biggest challenge faced by Richard Mille, a challenge made all the more difficult as the sapphire machining process is exceptionally delicate. Although extremely tough, sapphire does not allow for even the slightest error during milling and cutting. Creating a case of this quality took over 1000 hours of machining, of which 430 hours were spent on pre-forming the case components and 350 hours on polishing the whole watch case. The cutting tools must be specially designed and tipped with diamond.
For excellent optical properties, bezel case parts have been treated with an anti-glare coating. The tripartite case is water resistant to 50 meters, ensured by two Nitril O-ring seals. The case is assembled with 20 Spline screws in grade 5 titanium and abrasion resistant washers in 316L stainless steel.
The RM 056 is a limited edition of just 5 pieces due to the extreme nature of their creation and development, a new frontier in the history of the watchmaking industry.