By combining numerous design, safety and technical elements, tailored to meet the exacting standards of underwater use, cheap Richard Mille has made his RM032 an unrivaled diver’s watch.
The RM032 has two particularly unusual features in Richard Mille’s collection. First, it’s round, a notable exception for the brand, which generally favors tonneau shapes. Second: it is a diving watch. It is one of a trio whose other members are the extremely complicated and expensive RM025 Tourbillon Chronograph, and the simpler RM028. The RM032 is the perfect combination of the company’s technical expertise, somewhere in between. Dive watches are highly technical in nature, as they must meet many functional criteria, and Richard Mille sees them as a rigorous technical exercise.
The case must be water resistant – a depth rating of 300 meters is common. The case of the RM032 is available in titanium, DLC-treated black titanium or gold (pink or white gold – but these are not strictly diving watches), with a diameter of 50mm and a depth of 17.8mm. RM032 is a beast. It is not at risk of being crushed by water pressure, but it may be prone to other problems. The size of the watch can make it prone to slipping on the wrist, making it vulnerable to accidental rock outcrops, coral reefs or shipwrecks. But the shape of the lugs and the curved caseback ensure that wrists of all sizes will fit comfortably like a limpet on a rock.
Water resistance is often a major issue near the crown, which is the natural opening that must be secured. For diving chronographs with two pushers, like the RM032, the risk is multiplied by three. So Richard Mille added some special safety features. The RM032 can be sealed by turning an extra half-turn at the bottom of the crown, instead of the usual four or five turns of the solid crown. An engraved red or green indicator shows the position of the crown – red means the crown is deactivated and the buttons are secured.
The bezel of a diver’s watch should only rotate in one direction and must be lockable. Richard Mille decided to go a step further logically than the traditional ratchet. You have to press the button at 12 o’clock with one finger and the button at 6 o’clock with the other finger and squeeze hard to turn it. If you want to change your dive time, you need to be both deft and firm. The bezel is marked every five minutes, with red for the last fifteen minutes. It slopes inward to protect the surface and focus all attention on the dial.
Luminescence is usually not a standout feature of Richard Mille watches, which are designed to glow during the day rather than at night, but the RM032 features Superluminova on the index points and hands, an important requirement for divers who venture into muddy water or dive in the dark.
That’s all for diving specs. In everything else, the RM032 is Richard Mille, which means it goes way beyond the usual norms and traditions. It’s not just a simple three-hand watch with a date, liked by 99% of divers; it also has a flyback chronograph. A large chronograph seconds hand with a yellow tip skims the minutes track on the outside of the dial, as well as an annual calendar with a large date. If you don’t want to keep the chronograph running, there’s a “running indicator” consisting of a white disc that, as it spins, creates a six-spoke black-and-white animation to show that the cheap watch is running properly. In fact, it’s one of the most readable elements on this watch. With its skeletonized dial, multiple hands, skeletonized parts, visible screws and inscriptions, this Richard Mille certainly attracts a lot of attention.