TOUGHER THAN TOUGH

Richard Mille’s lat­est watch for polo star Pablo MacDonough has re­turned to more tra­di­tional prin­ci­ples, but its new highly re­sis­tant ma­te­rial is miles ahead of its time

Prestige Hong Kong - - SIHH -

RICHARD MILLE AND Pablo MacDonough’s part­ner­ship dates back to 2012, when the watch­maker pre­sented its first polo-in­spired time­piece, the RM 053, to the Ar­gen­tinian star player. Its ar­mour of ti­ta­nium car­bide func­tioned as a shield from the po­ten­tially pun­ish­ing im­pacts of polo, like a crush­ing hit from a mal­let, while time was dis­played via two tiny, strate­gi­cally an­gled port­holes to lower its chances of de­struc­tion. Its small, man­u­al­wind­ing tour­bil­lon move­ment also served as a demon­stra­tion of the watch’s strength.

In­deed, more than half a decade on and the RM 053 has sur­vived with only a few scratches. “Ev­ery time I felt like some­thing hit the watch, I’d think, I shouldn’t check it be­cause I’m sure the watch is de­stroyed this time. But then

I’d look at the watch and it was still in­tact,” MacDonough re­veals.

Gone is the port­hole de­sign. In­stead,

Richard Mille has flipped the ta­bles with the more tra­di­tional-look­ing RM 53-01, cre­ated in part­ner­ship with MacDonough. Un­like its ti­ta­nium car­bide-en­cased pre­de­ces­sor, this new model’s RM53-01 man­ual-wind­ing tour­bil­lon cal­i­bre is dis­played in its full glory. A com­plex ca­ble and pul­ley sus­pen­sion sys­tem, also seen in the highly shock-re­sis­tant RM 27-01 for Rafael Nadal, holds the open­worked move­ment within the case.

Is­sued in a lim­ited edi­tion of 30, the new RM 53-01 is pro­tected by an ul­tra light but ex­tremely ro­bust car­bon TPT case, a ma­te­rial known for its high re­sis­tance to mi­cro cracks and splits.

The watch also fea­tures a uniquely lam­i­nated sap­phire glass, de­signed to with­stand up to

5,000 grams, with a pa­tent-pend­ing lam­i­na­tion to hold bro­ken shards in place, should the glass ac­tu­ally en­counter a force strong enough to crack it. Fi­nally, the cherry on top of this re­mark­able time­piece is, of course, a “clas­si­cally de­signed” tour­bil­lon move­ment as a tes­ta­ment to watch­mak­ing flair and the RM 53-01’s high tol­er­ance to the dan­gers of the polo arena.

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