Richard Mille introduces its first split seconds chronograph with an automatic movement. A highly complex sports timepiece designed for everyday use and for any situation. This is the new RM 65-01.
Press Release information with italic commentary peppered in the text.
The culmination of some five years of development, this automatic split seconds chronograph is the most complex timepiece ever to leave the Richard Mille workshops.
This chronograph runs on a high frequency balance with variable inertia—5 Hz, or 36,000 vibrations per hour—developed for superior timekeeping accuracy over an extended period and precise stopwatch calculations to 1/10th of a second. It is every bit a genuine racing machine with a split-second hand to calculate intermediate times, a first for Richard Mille on an automatic movement.
The high beat chronograph is commendable and interesting, though the Zenith El Primero was first to the post with an 36,000 bph automatic chronograph.
Developed in partnership with Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, the Richard Mille RM 65-01 Automatic Split Seconds Chronograph integrated movement uses a 6-column wheel architecture and vertical coupling. Like a mechanical brain, this castellated piece orchestrates the controls and can be seen through the base. A mechanical cathedral—standing on a grade 5 titanium chassis supported by grade 5 titanium bridges—it receives its energy from a fast-rotating barrel that maintains ideal torque for energy transmission for the full duration of its 60-hour power reserve. The barrel’s automatic winding also ensures the watch sustains optimal torque whilst worn on the wrist. This is further enhanced by the variable geometry of the calibre’s oscillating weight segment, which makes it possible to change the rotor’s inertia for improved winding yield depending on the more or less active profile of the person bearing the watch.
The movement architecture of the RM 65-01 split seconds chronograph is nicely laid out as seen through the sapphire case back. While the double column wheels and braking systems of the split seconds mechanism is not visible, the labyrinth of bridges laid out in the back is aesthetically very pleasing and remininiscent of the image of a racing car on the wrist that Richar Mille likes to portray.
The chronograph was also subjected to a battery of merciless tests to demonstrate its capacity to function under any circumstances. These included everything from shock and drop simulations to accelerated 10-year ageing phases for all functions, by way of waterproof tests and magnetic field resistance trials.
But the Richard Mille teams did not stop there. No indeed, to this powerful, solid and infallible racing engine, mounted on a Carbon TPT® case as resistant as it is light, they added complications to boost the model’s ergonomics. In another milestone, Richard Mille developed its first in-house patented rapid-winding mechanism, activated by a pusher at 8 o’clock. In 125 presses, the barrel is fully wound, ready to time your next event. This highly practical function, described as ‘very playful’ by Richard Mille’s engineers, was particularly difficult to develop because of its high levels of torque transfer. During the ageing tests, the function was activated thousands of times.
Curious one this. Pushing a button 125 times does not strike us as easier or more elegant than winding a traditional crown, typically 30 times for a full wind. This concept is not new either, despite RM claims to be, having first seen it in the Romain Gauthier Logical One. We had also earlier criticized Romain Gauthier system as a solution looking for a problem.
The model was also enhanced with a new gearbox, taking the form of a function selector housed in the crown. This system makes it possible to switch between ‘traditional’ winding (W), semi-instantaneous date adjustment (D) or setting the time (H), all done simply by pressing the crown.
This system is pioneered by Richard Mille in movements originally made for them by Renaud et Papi (now called Audemars Piguet Le Locle), and subsequently used in some AP and Gronefeld watches.
For a supremely legible dial, the RM 65-01 uses colour-coding to match watch functions with the pushers. Yellow is for time: hours, minutes, small seconds at 6 o’clock, whereas green refers to the date display. Orange identifies the chronograph’s sweep seconds hand as well as the 30-minute and 12-hour totalisers. Red is linked to the winding mechanism. To avoid all confusion, the split-seconds hand is blue. Here, function is what drives the aesthetical choices.
As for the case, its every surface boasts extremely elegant detailing. Sporting a Carbon TPT® bezel, caseband and caseback, it has a microblasted, polished and satin-finished grade 5 titanium crown, framed by the chronograph buttons, also in polished and satin-finished grade 5 titanium. The same material and finish are used for the plate engraved with RM 65-01 on the caseband. The rapid-winding pusher stands out with its red Quartz TPT® button.
Available in Carbon TPT®, Gold and Carbon TPT®, the RM 65-01 has over 600 components, further evidence of the immense technical expertise of the development teams. Embracing the brand’s ancestral codes whilst affirming its own identity, the RM 65-01 is set to take its place in the gallery of illustrious Richard Mille models with technicity at its heart.
Richard Mille RM 65-01 Automatic Split Seconds Chronograph Specifications
Movement dimensions: 31.78 x 29.98 mm
Thickness: 8.69 mm
Balance: Glucydur®, 4 arms, moment of inertia 7.5 mg•cm2, angle of lift 53°
Frequency: 36,000 vph (5 Hz)
Balance spring: AK3
Index assembly: Triovis n° 2
The design and execution of the watch demonstrates a highly conceptual holistic approach to the movement, case and dial. As a result, everything has been constructed according to extremely rigorous specifications, in the manner of the analytical engineering methods used in the design of Formula 1 racing cars, where the chassis and the engine are developed in complete harmony. For example, a casing ring is no longer used, and the movement is mounted on chassis mounting rubbers (ISO SW) fixed by grade 5 titanium screws. Features such as these are evidence of ncompromising workmanship. The tripartite case is water resistant to 50 metres, ensured by 2 Nitrile O-ring seals. The case is assembled with 20 spline screws in grade 5 titanium and abrasion-resistant washers in 316L stainless steel.
In microblasted, polished and satin finished grade 5 titanium with double seal O-ring and rubber collar.
In carbon fibre filled with an approved luminescent material.
In sapphire (thickness: 0.35 mm) with anti-glare treatment (both sides), protected by 8 silicon braces inserted in the
upper and lower grooves.
Counters in titanium.
In sapphire (1,800 Vickers) with anti-glare treatment (both sides).
Thickness: 1.50 mm
In sapphire with anti-glare treatment (both sides).
Thickness: 1.20 mm at the centre; outer edges 2.04 mm
- Baseplate and bridges in titanium, wet sandblasted, PVD and electroplasma treated
- Anglage and polishing by hand
- Hand-polished locking sections
- Burnished pivots
- Diamond-polished sinks
- Pinions with undercuts
- Sandblasted and rhodium-plated, bevelled wheels
- Sapphire-blasted surfaces
- Anglage and polishing by hand
- Screw slot and screws bevelled and polished with rounded and polished tip
- Concave chamfering with a diamond tool
- Circular-decorated faces
- Rhodium plating (before cutting the teeth)
- Minimal corrections applied to the wheels in order to preserve geometry and performance