TRUE INNOVATION CANNOT BE IMPOSED; IT MUST BE A TEAM EFFORT WITH ALL PARTICIPANTS IN AGREEMENT ABOUT THE FINAL GOAL.
The relationships that Richard Mille forges with our brand partners revolve around creative, technical, aesthetic and ergonomic developments. The value of such cooperation, especially with elite world champions, is priceless. The challenges that have been faced, first with Felipe Massa, then with Rafael Nadal and finally, more recently, with Bubba Watson, have helped us to progress in our metier as watchmakers and have encouraged us to continue devising new concepts in mechanical technology, watchmaking aesthetics and ergonomic functionality.
Our aim was to tackle the drawbacks of traditional chronographs, reducing for example the jump of the hand at the start of timing. We achieved this by reworking the entire gear train to reduce inertia.
In order to make space for the winding system with its variable- geometry rotor, we enlarged the case of the RM 004 and RM 008 significantly to create this new model of chronograph, an automatic
version of its predecessors. These new dimensions prompted a radical take on the architectural 3D layout and mechanical aspects — both characteristic of the brand — to the limit.
It was the skeletonized, pared-down structure of the mechanism that enabled us to showcase this aesthetic. We enhanced the ergonomics through grooved, non-slip push-pieces. The concave grooves of the crown also helped me to accentuate the tension in the use of space defined by the watch case. Each component comprises the aesthetic expression of its functionality.
This complex model, famed for its use by renowned sportsmen, has become a legendary flagship of the collection.
This split seconds chronograph, another recent caliber for the brand, unites all the brand's experience acquired in the fields of reliability, accuracy and supreme performance since its inception. In this ultimate split seconds chronograph, we have successfully managed to optimise the performance of every function, making it completely reliable and repeatable under all conditions.
Our storehouse of on-the-ground experience gained with our sporting partners under extreme conditions was exceedingly useful in the development of this creation.
The guiding concept begin the RM 027 was to bring a tourbillon into the tennis courts that was capable of withstanding the shocks incurred during the course of several hours of continuous play on clay courts, which can involve forces of several hundred G's, whilst remaining totally comfortable and unimaginably lightweight (less than 20 grams) - a feat unknown in the world of high horology. The whole of its mechanical architecture, weighing in at just 3.8 grams, was skillfully designed and constructed in taut suspension on a network of shock absorbers anchored in the thickness of the case.
Existing designs in high-performance mechanics had to be entirely rethought and retested for the creation of the RM 027. The resulting timepiece was worn by Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows, providing further impetus to a series of watches inspired by ultra- light mechanical technology at Richard Mille.
The baseplate of the RM 27-01 Rafael Nadal is attached to the case by 4 braided steel cables, each with a diameter of just 0.35 mm. These cables are held taut by an ingenious mechanism of tensioners (located at 3 and 9 o’clock) and pulleys, which act like pylons positioned at the four corners of the movement. Each cable is fixed to the tensioner, and passes over the upper pulley and into the movement, before returning via the lower pulley to finish in the lower flange. Once the watchmaker has threaded the cables, they are brought to the correct tension by rotating the central adjustment ring using a special tool.
Bubba Watson is noted for his original style of play, which is atypical and very efficient in terms of power and precision.
Richard Mille was fascinated with the idea of associating an elegant object featuring complex mechanics with the exceptional long distance striking force of Bubba's swing. The world of golf provided further inspiration, a blending of endurance, distance, the pinpoint concentration of energy at the swing, and the contrast between a moment of impact and the ensuing long trajectory towards a target. In this timepiece, a competition model, we selected materials that would guarantee ergonomic lightness and shock-resistance. The case is made of magnesium WE54 coated with Miarox® and the baseplate and bridges are in titanium. Two structural carbon struts, reminiscent of golf clubs, cross the movement to provide additional support to the cannon pinion during exposure to the high G's of powerful swings.
This watch was directly linked to the developments that took place in creating the tourbillon model for Bubba Watson. In this case, our experience in developing resistance to G forces in our watches led to the development of a tough, skeletonised manual winding movement with a Swiss anchor escapement together with a baseplate and bridges in grade 5 titanium. Grade 5 titanium is a material that provides the rigidity required for the high accuracy and reliability of the movement. To provide extreme comfort under all the conditions of a full game outdoors, the caseback exterior of the RM 055 has been specially rubberized, providing a luxurious sensation to the comfortable ergonomic fit of the iconic case design.
Richard Mille Watches is the official partner of the Lotus F1 team since 2013, and this fruitful collaboration on F1 tracks around the globe has given birth to the first tourbillon watch dedicated to the team and especially one of the Lotus F1 Team drivers, Romain Grosjean for whom Richard Mille created this new tourbillon driven timepiece.
Developed in collaboration with our partner Yohan Blake, one of the fastest men in the world. This model has the personality of a hero. It is a wristwatch designed to be capable of cutting through air, so we designed it like an extremely light arrow. It’s asymetrical, stremlined and aerodynamic shape has the lowest possible drag coefficient to ensure that it obeys his sleek movements during races. Yohan Blake has created the YB Afraid Foundation which is heavily involved in charitable projects in his home country of Jamaica.
« Because i grew up in extreme poverty, i know how it feels to have nothing. I have always wanted to be in a position to give back and now i have the opportunity to do so. I want to help young people to do great things and to achieve the unexpected. My foundation will help Jamaica to achieve these goals »
Our previous challenges in developing extreme watches capable of resisting punishing stress were directed essentially at fighting extremes of gravity. For example, in Formula 1 racing, when a racing driver such as Felipe Massa enters a bend at high speed, Felipe (and his tourbillon watch) can actually be subjected to lateral accelerations of up to 5 G's.
In creating a tourbillon wristwatch for polo players, the nature of the challenge shifted again and became even more difficult. This sport involves unpredictable and extremely violent physical shocks, especially from the redoubtable taco, the flexible bamboo mallet used to strike the bocha, or wooden ball, with full force. For the numerous shock-resistance tests, we had to adapt a pendulum-impact testing machine with a steel ball that subjected the case and movement to impacts of up to 5,000 G's. The appearance of the watch translates our desire to provide it with the most effective protection possible, with a bezel of titanium carbide and two windows that offering excellent lateral legibility. A polo match is divided into a large number of short bouts, so for a player, the capacity to locate oneself in time is a valuable parameter for managing a match and enhancing one’s chances of victory.
Sébastien Loeb is the most successful driver in WRC history, having won the world rally championship a record nine times in a row and set the new world record on the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in 2013.
The RM 36-01 is the result of the collaboration with Richard Mille, it represents a further development of the mechanical G-force sensor presented previously in the RM 036.