Conceived for the grand travellers and gentlemen of the future. Eclectic and dynamic, though never failing to abide by the canons of quality watchmaking. And those of… discretion! The new RM 62-01 is fruit of a proficuous collaboration between Richard Mille and Airbus Corporate Jets. Its aim: to test the boundaries of performance and functionality.
Haute Horlogerie collectors and enthusiasts alike know well how over the course of centuries the timepiece, considered by some simply a wearable status symbol, has so many times been the inseparable companion of man in his challenges and achievements. Giving not only precision, but a series of indispensable functions as well. And if we delve into the rich heritage of history, we discover that man actually began expressing his increasing fascination with technology in the creation of horological complications long before he did so in other areas of mechanical science. And we could add that these complications often came to the aid of some form of social progress, in the field of transport for example (air, sea and rail), in the arms industry and medicine, and even found their place in more “recreational” fields like sport, introducing the prerogative of precision there as well.
Talking about the new RM 62-01 Tourbillon Vibrating Alarm Airbus Corporate Jets from this point of view comes almost naturally, because it not only lets us delve into the Mechanics of time, but talk about a brand as well, Richard Mille, which over the last 20 years has demonstrated qualities its competitors can only aspire to and envy. And what may they be? Innovation and anti-conformism. Qualities that stem from the visionary approach of its founder, supported by curiosity and the constant search for new, unexplored horizons, all to fulfil the desires of its clients.
left: Salvador Arbona, technical director of movements at Richard Mille / right: Limited edition of 30 pieces in titanium and Carbon TPT®. Bezel in titanium and carbon TPT® dimensions: 42.00 x 49.94 x 16.90 mm. Power reserve approx. 70 hours (±10%), with indicator at 11 o’clock. CALIBRE RM62-01: manual tourbillon movement with hours, minutes, oversize date, UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), AM/PM indicator, function selector, power reserve indicator. Vibrating alarm with status indicator. Skeletonised baseplate and bridges made of grade 5 titanium. 5-position function selector, oversize date window, am/pm indicator, free-sprung balance with variable inertia, rapid rotation barrel (one revolution in 6 hours rather than 7,5),progressive recoil barrel ratchet, winding barrel teeth and third wheel pinion with central involute profile, grooved head bridge screws in grade 5 titanium.
Consequently, in an epoch where we find ourselves increasingly as travellers, whether for business or pleasure, taking to the skies with an ease inconceivable so few decades earlier, looking into how the contemporary gentleman actually feels about travel means fulfilling a desire for confidentiality. Discretion and privacy are the new confines of luxury; tranquillity, silence and reserve are assets that have dramatically increased their perceived value, in a society where everything is so clamorously public.
That’s why a horological complication like the alarm has become silent, vibrating and perceptible solely and exclusively to the wearer. Because respecting the privacy of those around you has become synonymous with courtesy and fair play. A paradox, in horological terms, because normally an effective alarm had to be clear and decisive, heard from afar. But this innovation is so terribly coherent with the contemporary modus vivendi. The concept of a new travel watch had already been approached in the Tourbillon ACJ RM 50-02, but the new RM 62-01 comes from an absolutely singular approach, audaciously inviting shock and vibration into the heart of the mechanism. This led to the idea of using an offset weight in solid gold, akin to an automatic rotor, inspired by the vibrating function of earlier mobile phones.
“Before producing an entire movement, a wide range of technical issues had to be answered regarding vibration in the heart of the movement itself. Four partial prototypes and extensive studies based on models and space constraints were required in order to fit so many components and functionalities into the limited volume. There were 816 parts to be housed, 2 barrels, 7 hands, 11 displays and a tourbillon cage. One of our main watch constructors worked on this full time for five years, sometimes with the help of an additional watch constructor, with progress meetings every two weeks.” – explains Salvador Arbona, technical director of movements at Richard Mille.
This new model, in a limited edition of 30 pieces, could only come from the tried and trusted collaboration with the Airbus Corporate Jets brand, producers of aircraft “tailor made” for their customers. A universe, aviation, which has elective affinities with high quality watchmaking in terms of production requirements and processes. Ultralight, super-resistant materials, strict, uncompromising certification and the highest levels of R&D are the foundation for realising hyper-precise, robust yet sophisticated machines. Launched in 2016, the collaboration between ACI and Richard Mille had already born fruit with the RM 50-02 Tourbillon ACJ. The technical prowess of the mechanism inside this watch were already an illustration of superlative engineering and the values shared by the two companies. Now we are witnessing another milestone: the RM 62-01, the most complex watch Richard Mille has ever created.
The vibrating alarm, housed in the Calibre RM 62-01, fruit of five years R&D, is driven by a great new complication developed by Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi, The principle is based on the automatic activation, at the set time, of a vibration generated by the rotation of an offset weight.
Machined from a block of white gold, this weight is precisely calibrated to oscillate at 5,400 rpm. Numerous simulations and validation prototypes had to be developed to ensure this frequency did not affect any of the movement’s other components, to prevent disturbance, resonance or breakages.
The centre of gravity, significantly far from the rotation axis, coupled with the high density of gold, generate the inertia necessary for rendering the vibration perceptible, all within the limited available space. The 24-hour alarm can be set to the minute by two dedicated hands, using the function selector situated at 3 o’clock. The function is completed by the activation indicator at 5 o’clock. The alarm can vibrate for 12 seconds under the power provided by a dedicated barrel, and recharged simply by pressing the pusher situated at 8 o’clock 12 times. Charge status is displayed on a graduated scale situated at 7 o’clock.