Improved materials for next-level watchmaking.
GRAPH TPT (RICHARD MILLE) Registering less than 40g on the scales, the RM 50-03 McLaren F1 (including its strap) weighs less than 10 pieces of paper. One of Richard Mille’s key launches for 2017, the watch is the world’s lightest split-seconds tourbillon chronograph. It’s a feat made possible by the use of a new carbon composite in the watch’s case and strap.
Graph TPT is the latest material that’s proprietary to Richard Mille within the watchmaking industry, and a further iteration of Carbon TPT, which is already in use for a few of the brand’s existing watches.
The two materials’ production methods are identical – sheets of carbon fibre just microns thick are layered over one another, before the entire “stack” is impregnated with resin and baked at 120 deg C under six bars of pressure. The difference lies in the resin used – the one used to produce Graph TPT contains graphene, a form of carbon that’s six times lighter than steel but 200 times stronger than it. The result? A preternaturally light material with an abnormally high strengthto-weight ratio. That’s what we call heavy duty. BMG-TECH (PANERAI) The case that you see in Panerai’s PAM 692 looks like titanium, but isn’t. Instead, what you’re looking at is the first instance of BMG-Tech – BMG stands for Bulk Metallic Glass – in watchmaking. This material is an alloy of five metals that have been cooled rapidly to prevent a crystalline structure from forming. Instead, the “chaotic” arrangement of atoms lends BMG-Tech great strength; according to Panerai, this material is lighter than steel, yet twice as strong as titanium. PE5000 (H. MOSER) H. Moser & Cie’s new hairspring material PE5000 was conceived with shock resistance and anti-magnetism in mind. The material to beat for such properties is currently silicon, which comes in wafers from which complete hairsprings are etched out. A drawback of silicon hairsprings is that they subsequently cannot be adjusted. In contrast, PE5000 – an alloy of niobium and titanium – behaves like a regular metallic alloy, and its hairsprings are thus produced and adjusted like traditional hairsprings, lending greater flexibility in production.
03 01 Graph TPT is used in the case and strap of the RM 50-03 McLaren F1. 02, 03 Researchers at the University of Manchester, who first isolated graphene in 2004.