Richard Mille un­veils the world’s light­est tour­bil­lon chrono­graph;

French watch­maker Richard Mille re­cently teamed up with rac­ing tech­nol­ogy pi­o­neer McLaren to cre­ate the world’s light­est tour­bil­lon chrono­graph

Philippine Tatler - - CONTENTS -

Com­bin­ing the best func­tional and aes­thetic as­pects of a stop­watch and a more con­ven­tional time­piece, the chrono­graph is con­sid­ered the per­fect watch for the ac­tive sports­man. Not only does it tell time, but it also has the prac­ti­cal pur­pose of gaug­ing one’s speed over dis­tance—a vi­tal func­tion for those into ath­let­ics or au­to­mo­tive rac­ing.

It is a pas­sion for the lat­ter that prompted a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween French watch­maker Richard Mille and McLaren Au­to­mo­tive, a global leader in the field of For­mula One (F1) rac­ing. This has re­sulted in the cre­ation of the world’s light­est sport­ing watch: the RM 50-03 Tour­bil­lon Split Sec­onds Chrono­graph.


Richard Mille is syn­ony­mous with el­e­gant watches built around a tri­fecta of com­fort, artistry, and tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion. Its cre­ations have graced the wrists of celebri­ties such as Michelle Yeoh, Jackie Chan, and Sylvester Stal­lone.

The brand is also known as a spon­sor for var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional sport­ing events and in­di­vid­ual ath­letes in­clud­ing ten­nis world cham­pion Rafael Nadal and Jean Todt, the pres­i­dent of the Fed­er­a­tion In­ter­na­tionale de l’Automobile (FIA), the gov­ern­ing body be­hind F1 rac­ing. Richard Mille has also spon­sored the track runs of French F1 driver Ro­main Gros­jean, Brazil’s Felipe Massa, and the 2016 McLaren F1 team made up of Fer­nando Alonso, Jen­son But­ton, and Stof­fel Van­doorne.

The man be­hind the brand, how­ever, has long been fas­ci­nated by both the McLaren mys­tique and the in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy that goes on be­hind the scenes of F1 rac­ing. In­deed, his ad­mi­ra­tion for the Bri­tish au­tomaker has spanned decades.

“As a car fa­natic, I have a lot of ad­mi­ra­tion for [McLaren founder] Bruce McLaren,” CEO Richard Mille de­clares en­thu­si­as­ti­cally. “My first con­tact with McLaren was in 1966 when I was a child and at­tended the Monaco Grand Prix with my father. The at­mos­phere to the race fas­ci­nated me–it’s one of my great­est mem­o­ries.”

Years later, Mille also noted that he and the McLaren team shared a pen­chant for in­no­va­tion. In­deed, Mille has since drawn upon the tech­ni­cal so­lu­tions de­vel­oped by McLaren engi­neers, adapt­ing the prin­ci­ples to suit the art and science of watch­mak­ing.


The RM 50-03, their most re­cent col­lab­o­ra­tion, fea­tures a break­through done to­gether with the No­bel Prize-winning re­searchers of the Na­tional Graphene In­sti­tute at the Uni­ver­sity of Manch­ester: the com­bined use of ti­ta­nium, Car­bon TPT ® which is nor­mally used for the chas­sis of race cars, and a com­pletely new ma­te­rial Graph TPT ® .

Graph TPT ® is the re­sult of com­bin­ing Car­bon TPT ® with graphene, a revo­lu­tion­ary nano­ma­te­rial that is six times lighter and 200 times stronger than steel. In rac­ing, both McLaren and McLaren-Honda F1 are cur­rently in the process of in­te­grat­ing it into the de­sign of sin­gle-seat rac­ers. At Richard Mille, on the other hand, spe­cial­ists took on the task of

ma­chin­ing Graph TPT ® for use in the cre­ation of move­ment com­po­nents and cases.

The RM 50-03 is the first Richard Mille time­piece to feature Graph TPT ® in its case. Thanks to the ex­tremely light­weight ma­te­rial, this par­tic­u­lar watch weighs a mere 38 grams, strap and all, mak­ing it the world’s light­est split­sec­onds tour­bil­lon chrono­graph.

The Syn­ergy of form and func­Tion

The de­vel­op­ment of the RM 50-03 is also a tes­ta­ment to the shared ded­i­ca­tion of Richard Mille and McLaren to pre­ci­sion and the pur­suit of per­fec­tion.

The RM 50-03’s bezel and case­back are crafted from Graph TPT ® , mak­ing it dis­tinc­tively lighter to wear but also more re­sis­tant against dam­age from ex­treme con­di­tions or im­pact. This ex­tends to the de­sign de­vel­op­ment for the strap where the nano­ma­te­rial is com­bined with rub­ber to in­crease elas­tic­ity and dura­bil­ity. The case is also wa­ter­re­sis­tant for up to 50 me­tres thanks to a pair of Nitril O-ring seals, 20 spline screws in high-grade ti­ta­nium, and abra­sion-re­sis­tant wash­ers.

The watch like­wise com­bines a tour­bil­lon es­cape­ment with a split-sec­onds func­tion. This dy­namic de­sign feature en­sures a beau­ti­fully bal­anced torque and op­ti­mised yield with re­gard to move­ment.

This is also the first time­piece to utilise a new split-sec­onds mech­a­nism, the re­sult of a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort be­tween Richard Mille’s re­search and de­vel­op­ment arm and the team at Au­d­er­mars Piguet Re­naud & Papi (ARP&P). Here, the stan­dard eight-col­umn wheel is re­placed by one with six col­umns to im­prove func­tion­al­ity by op­ti­mis­ing si­mul­ta­ne­ous ac­tions and the func­tion lock whilst en­sur­ing the sta­bil­ity of its set­tings.

On the watch face, a torque in­di­ca­tor rem­i­nis­cent of a dash­board dis­play ad­vises the wearer of the main­spring’s ten­sion. This makes it pos­si­ble to op­ti­mise the wind­ing of the watch. An­other note­wor­thy is a func­tion in­di­ca­tor in­spired in part by the gear­box in an F1 racer; the dis­play shows wind­ing, hand-set­ting, or a neu­tral po­si­tion when­ever the crown of the watch is pulled out. The crown it­self takes its de­sign cues from wheels and hub­caps.

It should be noted at this point that only 75 of these unique timepieces will be made avail­able on the mar­ket. With their sporty, track-ready aes­thetic, these would cer­tainly catch any­one’s eye and would make an ex­cel­lent ad­di­tion to one’s se­lec­tion of watches. But for those liv­ing ac­tive life­styles, peo­ple who are will­ing to go to ex­tremes both at work and in life, these are more than just a con­ver­sa­tion piece or an ac­ces­sory—the RM 50-03 is a tes­ta­ment to in­no­va­tion and ad­vance­ment.

In­no­va­tIve syn­ergy A McLaren mas­ter­piece on the track; (inset) CEO Richard Mille; (op­po­site) RM 50-03; (inset) In­side the case

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