Innovations, radical technologies and unprecedented materials: how Richard Mille pushed watch performance to the 'extreme'
Richard Mille's relentless quest to redefine luxury replica watches technology has produced some extraordinary pieces, from the lightweight models used by Felipe Massa and Rafael Nadal to the RM56-01 with transparent case and engraved sapphire movement
“I am a victim of no compromise,” watchmaker Richard Mille once said. "Whenever I have to decide [whether to] save money or push performance to the limit, I always choose the latter."
Richard Mille has only been making watches for two decades, but in that time he has built a reputation for pioneering the use of unconventional (and often unprecedented) materials in his relentless pursuit of technological advancement .
In 2013, however, the Swiss watchmaker made arguably its biggest leap forward when Mille launched the RM56-01 model.
Carved from a single block of sapphire crystal, the RM56-01 is almost completely transparent, with its vital organs appearing to float in mid-air above the wearer's wrist. Paradoxically, the brilliance of the watch is completely invisible.replica Graham watches
Richard Miller. A remarkable and extremely rare transparent sapphire crystal and titanium limited edition skeletonized tourbillon watch with power reserve and torque indicators, ref. RM56-01 AN SAPHIR/PR00. Case: 42mm wide, 50mm overall length.
Sapphire has been revered in the watch industry for nearly a century. It was first used in 1929 as a stronger alternative to the glass that protects the lenses of dials. But it’s only in the past few decades that watchmakers have started adopting it as an alternative to components traditionally hewn from metal.
After years of research and testing, Richard Mille first adopted sapphire mechanics in 2008, when the company teamed up with Boucheron to create a watch celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Parisian jeweler. Called RM018 and limited to 30 pieces, it contains a mechanism in which some of the metal plates have been replaced with cut sapphire equivalents - an incredible achievement.high quality replica watches
Richard Miller. A unique 18ct white gold skeleton tourbillon watch with blue and gold mineral-set wheel and case, dedicated to Boucheron's 150th anniversary, ref. RM018.
However, five years later, when Richard Mille released the RM56-01, the boundaries of sapphire watchmaking applications changed dramatically.
A single block of sapphire is cut using diamond-studded tools to form the front bezel, back bezel and case of the RM56-01 case. The milling of these three components was so precise, with extremely small screw holes and the elegant, ergonomic curves of the human wrist bone, that a whole new kind of computerized machinery was required, capable of precision to the fraction of a millimeter.
The machine worked 24 hours a day for 40 days to make each RM56-01 body. It then took another 350 hours to polish the crystal to make it completely transparent.Replica Richard Mille Felipe Massa
Richard Mille's quest for extreme transparency doesn't stop there. In order to allow light to pass directly through the watch's internal structure, the bottom plate, central bridge and third wheel are also carefully machined from sapphire.
The RM56-01's use of sapphire is not entirely decorative. This lab-made material scores a nine on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness (only diamond ranks 10), making the watch extremely stable and virtually indestructible. Sapphire's high boiling point also makes it immune to extreme temperature changes that could cause components to shrink and expand, while its smoothness reduces friction and energy dissipation.
The use of sapphire doesn't come at the expense of the RM56-01's functionality, either. The watch features a skeletonized tourbillon for precise timing during fast and extreme sports, a power reserve indicator that acts like a racing car's fuel gauge, and a torque indicator that helps the wearer unwind the watch's mainspring Winding to best precision.
Finally, 24 aircraft-grade titanium screws and two clear rubber O-ring seals make the sapphire water-resistant to 30 meters.Jacob and Co. Astronomia Art Watches
The overall result is, in Richard Mille's own words, "exemplary chronometric performance".
When Richard Mille started his watchmaking business at Baselworld in 2001, extreme technology and an obsession with precise performance were the two pillars of his mission. His first watch, the RM001 (above), included a revolutionary silver base plate bonded to a layer of PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) particles, reducing the need for lubrication.
Typical of Mille’s insatiable appetite for innovation, before the RM001’s original 17 watches were even finished, the silver base plate was swapped out for a titanium base plate to reduce weight and increase durability.
By the time Mille launched the RM003 in 2004, the chassis had been replaced again, this time with carbon nanofiber. Manufactured at a pressure of 740 bar and a temperature of more than 2,000 degrees Celsius, the material becomes heat insensitive and shock-resistant.replica Chopard Alpine Eagle Watch
This was followed in 2005 with a case made of aerospace-grade silicon-aluminum alloy and a baseplate made of lithium, meaning that the RM009, developed for racing driver Felipe Massa, weighed just 28 grams, not including the strap.
Five years later, the RM027, developed for tennis star Rafa Nadal, added copper, magnesium and zirconium to the alloy mix, reducing the weight of the watch to just 20 grams — including the strap.
Shortly after, the RM027 was upgraded to the RM027-02. It uses a new case material called TPT, which is composed of hundreds of layers of quartz and carbon fiber, making the watch resistant to shocks of 5,000 g, electromagnetic waves and ultraviolet rays.
When Richard Mille introduced the Sapphire RM56-01 to the public in 2013, many thought the physical limits of the watch could no longer be pushed.best swiss replica watches