With regard to the production of each Richard Mille case, 68 stamping operations are necessary on the basic forms of the three main component sections, (front bezel, caseband and back bezel), even before the actual cutting and milling can begin. The machine tooling process requires 8 days of machine adjustment for the bezel, 5 days for the caseband and 5 days for the case-back. Prior to this process, work on the methodology and programming the entire range of operations takes 120 hours, the drawings for the tools 130 hours, and implementing them 180 hours. Each rough case involves 202 machining operations. The complex shape of the case requires the use of advanced and costly 5-axis machining, with even the positive engraving of the Richard Mille name on the interior curving back of the watch taking a total of 45 minutes to complete, executed one case at a time. At the last stage, the pushers and their composite parts, the crown and various other details including water resistance testing, quality control, hand polishing and brushing of the case add another 10 days to the creation of Richard Mille’s ergonomic design.
The limited series (30 pieces) RM 006 was a world premiere; the world's first tourbillon wristwatch built utilizing high-density carbon nanofibers for the movement’s baseplate construction. Carbon nanofiber, created under 740 bars and a temperature of 2,000 C, making it thermally insensitive and highly stable- therefore ideal as a foundation for obtaining excellent chronometric results for tourbillon based movements. The photograph here shows a close up of the movement baseplate. Extremely difficult to cut and drill with the accuracy required for watchmaking, this material from the aeronautics and space industry is highly resistant to shocks and thermal influence and also exceedingly stiff and ultra-light in weight. Carbon nanofiber proved itself completely unaffected by the forces at large inside the movement and even survived a crash without any timing irregularities after F1 driver Felipe Massa lost a wheel during a race and crashed at high speeds wearing his RM 006. These results prompted Richard Mille to implement carbon nanofiber in next generation versions of the RM 002, 003, 004 and 008, which now carry the suffix -V2 to distinguish them from the first models that are now no longer in production.
With its titanium case and without strap, the entire RM 006 weighs a mere 43 grams.
A complete tourbillon escapement with its cage, weighing only 0.34 g and totaling some 85 minuscule small parts, will require many hours of hand finishing under a microscope, followed by hours of pre-assembly before the watchmaker can use it in a movement.