Four time Formula One World Champion Alain Prost, a close friend of Richard Mille, brings his athleticism and competitive drive to the realm of cycling today. The two men worked closely to develop a mechanical timepiece specifically for the sport. Today at the circuit at Le Castellet, in the presence of cycling champion and friend of the brand Mark Cavendish, Richard Mille debuted the RM 70-01 Tourbillon Alain Prost, a cyclist’s watch. This new 30-piece limited edition with a price tag close to one million dollars will be available exclusively at Richard Mille boutiques worldwide in December of 2017.
Alain Prost is an artist in the realm of speed, just as Richard Mille is an artist of timekeeping. Much like the aeronautics and automotive industries, where R&D plays an essential role,
cycling is constantly evolving from a technical perspective. Therefore, the new RM70-01 calibre tourbillon, features what appears to be an odometer but which in reality is a display that can be set by the user by pressing to pushers on the case. Following extensive discussions with Alain Prost, as well as other cyclists, Richard Mille realized that many of them would be hard pressed to say how many kilometers they had ridden since the beginning of the season.
The RM 70-01’s displays the total distance ridden by activating the pusher at 2 o’clock and selecting any of the 5 rollers of the 'odometer' in a titanium window. Once a roller is selected, by pressing the pusher located at 10 o’clock, the user advances the chosen roller by one from 0 to 9. The only effort required, is for the user to add up the day’s distance to the prior total he had entered on the display. The total number of kilometers displayed can go as far as 99,999 as there are only 5 digits to be entered by the owner.
The mechanism itself, however, is much more complicated. The first pusher activates selection of a roller, one of the five. Execution is confirmed by perfect alignment of the two yellow arrows. The second pusher incrementally rotates the roller, which automatically blocks, thanks to the carry mechanism. To avoid accidental manipulations, the complication has been fitted with a neutral position —N. Thanks to a spring-lock, the selection fork will be lined up straight, with an arrow at 2 o’clock pointing to N as visual confirmation that the mechanism is locked.
Equipped with a 70-hour power-reserve, visible at 5 o’clock thanks to an indicator powered by a planetary differential, this manual winding tourbillon calibre sports a baseplate and bridges in grade 5 titanium. The movement provides a power reserve of 70 hours when fully wound.
Titanium’s extreme stiffness enables the calibre to withstand the roughest of trails with ease. Nods to the realm of cycling abound, from the titanium Allen screws that fix the bridges, to the barrel ratchet, which recalls the design of forged wheel spokes, to say nothing of the tourbillon cage and dynamometric crown, evocative of a bicycle’s pedal.
The beautifully finished movement possesses tremendous, almost vertiginous depth. Both its vertical architecture—which lines up the barrel and tourbillon along a single axis—and its compact size were essential because of how much space the odometer occupies within the case. And what a case it is! Machined out of Carbon TPT, it perfectly combines tonneau, rectangular and asymmetrical shapes with a width of 49.48 mm measuring from one side of the case to the crown at its most central area. Taut and curved, its unique lines not only ensure the greatest possible comfort when worn on the right wrist, but also optimized legibility of the time when gripping a cycle’s handlebars. As always at Richard Mille, function dictates form.
In order that they may fully enjoy the dynamic and mechanical qualities of the RM 70-01, each buyer will receive as a gift their very own bespoke road cycle. Developed by Alain Prost and Richard Mille in partnership with the prestigious Italian bikemaker Colnago, these individually numbered bicycles are made by hand and painted in the watchmaking brand’s colors.
Sticker Price $815,500 USD. For more info on Richard Mille click here.