Six years after releasing his first polo watch, Richard Mille returns to one of his favorite playing fields with the sporty and dynamic RM 53-01 Pablo Mac Donough. The second timepiece created in partnership with champion polo player Pablo Mac Donough is the new RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough. Like its predecessor —the RM 053 from 2012—, the new timepiece is created to withstand the violent shocks endured during a polo match, from falls to collisions to mallet strikes. But the technology employed in the RM 53-01 is new and represents a world first for the watch industry.
The Dial & Sapphire Crystal
The unprecedented laminated sapphire crystal paired with its Carbon TPT case offers a breath-taking look at the watch’s suspended tourbillon calibre. A new and complex accoutrement for this sport. Launched some two years ago, the project to develop the RM53-01 returns to the original—and seemingly absurd— idea of having Pablo Mac Donough, one of the world’s greatest polo champions, wear a tourbillon calibre in competition. That one of polo’s greatest champions should be able to wear a watch in the midst of play, and a like this one is by no means a miracle. Rather, it bespeaks years of research and studies of how a wristwatch resists when confronted with violent blows. Therefore, the new RM 53-01 was designed with a single goal: making it extremely tough, while still being able to see its calibre on the dial side.
Well aware that regular sapphire crystal would not provide the necessary resistance to ward off the impact of a polo mallet, engineers for the brand, collaborating with Stettler —a world renowned sapphire specialist— took inspiration from current practices in the automotive realm to produce a laminated glass.Use of this glass, composed of two sheets of sapphire glass separated by a thin Polyvinyl film, constitutes a horological first. In the face of the strong shock wave produced by a blow from a mallet, the glass will crack, but without ever shattering. With anti-reflective and UV coatings, this glass, which preserves the movement from the external environment, is patented exclusively to Richard Mille.
The Case, Strap & Crown
Since shock is the enemy of a tourbillon movement, Richard Mille decided to suspend the movement with a cable system even more sophisticated than that of the Richard Mille Rafa Nadal RM27-01. The atypical architecture of this design required the creation of two separate
baseplates. The first, or ‘peripheral’ baseplate, is fixed to the case and supports the tensioner
mechanisms. The second, known as the ‘central’ baseplate, is linked to the peripheral baseplate
by cables and incorporates the wheels comprising the calibre as well as the winding mechanism.
The central baseplate rests, like a spider in the middle of its web, on two braided steel cables just
0.27 mm in diameter. These cables, sketching a three-dimensional structure in their path through
10 pulleys, are anchored by 4 tensioners. The watchmaker is responsible for tensioning the cables
by rotating a spline screw located at the center of each tensioner. By ensuring an even
distribution of tension, this pulley system guarantees perfect balance of the whole mechanism.
The suspended movement and the use of grade 5 titanium —double baseplate and bridges—
contribute increased stiffness, while ensuring smooth functioning of the going train and optimal
On the Wrist & Pricing
On the wrist, the Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough wears true to its size and with incredible wrist presence, just by virtue of realizing the feat it represented to suspended its movement in such manner and the price tag associated to it. With a hint of celestial blue on its strap, crown and flange, it evokes the Argentinean flag and transports you to the Calle Corrientes in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The new Richard Mille RM 53-01 is available exclusively at Richard Mille boutiques worldwide in a limited edition of 30 pieces.
Sticker Price $900,000 USD. For more info on Richard Mille click here.