Richard Mille is no stranger to the world of motorsport. It has established numerous partnerships with F1 and rally drivers, Le Mans Classic 24 Hours, Chantilly Art and Elegance, and McLaren as of 2016, demonstrating the deep connection between the brand and the racing world. Given that the founder of the same name, Richard Mille, himself is a petrol head with an enviable collection of old racing cars, this should not be surprising.
Only one year after the dedication of Richard Mille and McLaren’s 10-year partnership, the two brands have joined hands to create a new record and world premiere in the watchmaking industry: the RM 50-03 Tourbillon Minutes and Seconds Chronograph Ultralight McLaren F1 is currently the best A light mechanical watch similar to a chronograph on the market weighs only 38 grams including the strap.
Its light as a feather weight is mainly due to its case and strap made of Graph TPT (Thin Layer Technology), a type of TPT carbon that includes a nanomaterial called graphene, an extremely tough composite The material is said to be 6 times lighter than steel and 200 times lighter and more resistant. Graphene was developed by researchers at the National Graphene Institute (University of Manchester). It was also verified and tested by engineers at McLaren Applied Technologies, and was used by Richard Mille for the first time in a watch.
Thanks to the titanium and TPT carbon fiber soleplate and splints, the ultra-light skeletonized RM 50-03 movement weighs only 7 grams. It has a tourbillon, a new rattrapante timing system (redesigned to reduce friction and manage energy consumption more effectively), torque indicator and function indicator. Although it is very light, it has been tested and can withstand shocks of up to 5,000 grams due to its movement structure (similar to the suspension cable system of the RM 027).
When you see Williams driver Felipe Massa on the Formula One circuit, please pay attention to his wrist. There is no doubt that the Brazilian will wear the Richard Mille timepiece, just as he has worn it in every game since 2004. It all started when Massa’s manager Nicolas Todt called the watchmaker. “He told [brand founder] Richard [Mille] that he liked his watch and he was managing a Formula One driver and asked if Richard was interested in sponsorship,” Massa recalled. Although the brand was established only three years ago and did not look for celebrity spokespersons, Mille saw the advantage of testing timepieces on site and provided Massa with RM 006 FM to wear on the track.
“We agreed. Since then, I have been wearing a Richard Mille watch to participate in the competition,” said the 34-year-old man. His initial test of the RM 006 FM led to the failure of the carbon nanofiber base plate used in later models. Perfect.
Today, the watchmaker has a large number of first-rate celebrities and sports figures serving as brand ambassadors—from tennis superstar Rafael Nadal to Hollywood actress Natalie Portman—but Massa is still the manufacturer One of the most cherished characters. To commemorate his 10th anniversary with the brand, the watchmaker launched two special limited editions RM 011 and RM 056 (100 pieces and 10 pieces respectively) to commemorate him. Why are these two works in particular? “[Because] the RM 011 is Richard Mille’s most successful watch [model], and the RM 056 is the epitome of the brand’s craftsmanship,” explained Massa, who also loves the RM 011. “Everyone likes it. I [at the time] wear it a lot-I still wear it [now],” he added.
How does it feel to have Richard Mille launch two special editions to commemorate the partnership with you?
time flies! First of all, it has been a great honor to work with Richard over the years [always], not just a partnership-we have become very close friends. For me, these two versions are a real gift from Richard. I have many interesting memories with him. I remember participating in major events with Rafael Nadal and Richard in Japan and Abu Dhabi two years ago, and spent Richard’s house in France. Richard is a very friendly and charming person with a strong sense of friendship and loyalty.
What are the characteristics of RM 011 and RM 056, and what is the difference between the 10th Anniversary Edition and the predecessors?
The RM 011 draws inspiration from the high-tech engineering of the Formula One car and provides comprehensive precision. For me, this model is truly iconic in the history of Richard Mille. For this special edition, the main difference is the material used in the case. NTPT carbon fiber has excellent resistance, unique appearance and overall lightness. As for RM 056, it is the epitome of brand craftsmanship. What I like the most is the complete transparency of the watch-you can see the complex mechanisms like a Formula One car. Since only five of the first RM 056 were produced, this [is also] an opportunity for collectors to buy one. Both watches have my signature engraved on the back of the case.
When it comes to making watches with fake Richard Mille, how involved are you in the design process?
Richard and his team are very creative and innovative. I have nothing to say about the technology of the watch or how it works. My opinion is mainly focused on reducing weight, because comfort and performance are very important to me during the game. I also provided my preferences in the materials used, the colors of the elements…and so on.
In your opinion, what combines Formula One with fine watchmaking?
technology. The technical level of Formula One is as incredible as [Richard Mille]. When Richard started his career, racing skills and methods of handling forces on the track were an important source of inspiration for him. As a driver, it is important to understand your environment and have a reliable engine to perform. This is exactly the same as the watchmaking industry. It all depends on performance and accuracy.
Richard Mille once mentioned that all brand friends must be able to wear his watch at any time. So what kind of timepiece do you wear in the game?
I always choose the lightest watch to participate in the competition, because weight is very important in Formula One. So I usually wear carbon fiber watches, such as RM 011 Black carbon, RM 011 NTPT and RM 035-01. I also [participated] in many competitions, my RM 006, RM 009 and RM 011 Ti. I changed [them] according to my feelings. Recently, I wore RM 011 LMC at the Austrian Grand Prix. When I am not participating in the competition, I can [wear] watches made of heavier materials, such as RM 011 rose gold.