Almost a year ago Richard Mille announced their long-term partnership with the McLaren-Honda Formula One team after dropping their partnership with Lotus. As part of this partnership Richard Mille and McLaren have worked together in finding the use of car racing avant-garde materials to be incorporated into Richard Mille timepieces. The first watch product of this partnership was just released yesterday at the SIHH 2017 in Geneva. The new Richard Mille RM 50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Ultra Light McLaren F1 priced at $980,000 USD is the first watch to incorporate in its case a Formula One racing composite named Graphene.
With a total weight of 43.5 grams —to be precise— including the strap, the new Richard Mille RM 50-03 is the lightest split seconds chronograph in the world. Available in a limited edition of 75 pieces, the 50-03 will be available exclusively at Richard Mille boutiques worldwide. With a case made of NTPT Carbon, titanium and Graph TPT —a.k.a Graphene— measuring 44.5 mm x 49.6 mm x 16.1 mm, this new timepiece from Richard Mille is another one of those watches exclusively reserved for those in the High Net Worth group. This entirely new material never before utilized in the world of watchmaking resulting in a carbon case significantly enhanced by the introduction of graphene, a revolutionary nano-material which is six times lighter than steel and 200 times stronger.
The case features a small plate at six o'clock with McLaren's logo, the name of the watch and the case number in the 75-piece limited edition. The case is so strong thanks to the new material that in testing it withstood shock loadings of 5,000g in the Richard Mille workshops and survived unscathed.
The Crown & Pushers
The crown in the same material as the rest of the case and equipped with a bright red o-ring takes its cue from the racing competition wheel rims used by the British McLaren-Honda team.
As far as the hollow pushers of the chronograph these take their inspiration from the air intake ducts on the McLaren-Honda car.
The new Richard Mille RM 50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Ultralight McLaren F1 features a skeletonized dial with running seconds indicator and tourbillon at 6 o'clock, crown position indicator at 3, 30-minute chrono register at 9 o'clock and movement performance indicators at 12 o'clock . The grade 5 titanium dial requires 3 hours of anglage and polishing. Other parts visible through the skeletonized dial, such as the barrel-drum, the minute-wheel and the small and large medium-wheels are circular grained both above and below and then hand-beveled and rhodium plated before their teeth are cut.
The movement’s performance indicators feature green, yellow and red accents, while the one on the left monitors the remaining power reserve of up to 70 hours the one on the right keeps track of the torque with a revolutionary sensor.
The new Richard Mille RM 50-03 is equipped with a strap that is as unique as its case construction. The strap is a red elastic band that stretches as much as necessary to fit most wrist sizes. The extraordinary properties of graphene encouraged Richard Mille to pursue additional developments in conjunction with their strap supplier, BIWI S.A. and incorporate Graphene into the red elastic strap. While the strap looks very nice and its supposed to have a high tear and wear resistance, for us the strap is a major downside to this watch as the tightness of it makes wearing the watch somewhat of an uncomfortable situation.
The movement which weights a total of only 7 grams is feather light due to the use of grade 5 Titanium and Carbon TPT™ for the baseplate and bridges, as well as extreme skeletonization of components. Watchmaking expertise can be found throughout this movement with drawn, polished, satin-finished and soft-polished surfaces all created by hand. Additionally, the movement is held in place by a transverse cage crafted of Carbon TPT™ and inspired by the wishbone suspension structure of a McLaren-Honda Formula 1 car and is affixed to the caseband supporting the entire RM50-03 calibre. By eliminating the casing ring, this unusual architecture enables a perfect fit between the movement and case.
On the Wrist & Pricing
On the wrist, the new Richard Mille RM 50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Ultralight McLaren F1 wears extremely impressive but somewhat uncomfortably due to the tightness of its elastic strap. Worth almost one million dollars, the watch is definitely worth the price tag. Another impressive release by Richard Mille leaving their mark at the SIHH 2017 and the horological world.
Sticker Price $980,000 USD. For more information on Richard Mille click here.