Richard Mille is a company born at the start of the millennium and all its products have a high-tech, modernistic look and feel, using high-tech materials such as carbon fibre, titanium and other ultra-light alloys. The RM 36-01 is no exception. Called the Tourbillon Competition G Sensor Sebastian Loeb, it is built from carbon nanotubes (used in a composite polymer material for the middle section of the case) and titanium, with a rotating bezel in a high-scratch-resistance ceramic in brown colour. The watch is engineered like a Formula 1 car, and its main function is the G-force measuring system at the centre of the dial.
The G-force measurement system has a push-button at the centre of the dial, and you simply push the button to reset the mechanism, after which the yellow needle indicates the highest g-force reached, on a scale of up to six. The system is operated by a weight that slides along a rod (you can see it below the central button), and so its measurements will be affected by the direction of acceleration or deceleration. For this reason, you can rotate the whole assembly using the rotating bezel, which is marked with degrees. Sebastian Loeb is a rally driver and a brand ambassador for Richard Mille, but the watch would be equally interesting to wear in a stunt plane, on a roller coaster, a bobsleigh, translating that weird feeling of everything getting pulled down towards your feet, or in another direction, into a reading on a dial. Most people can stand about 5 g vertical axis positive g-force before passing out; negative g, when blood gets pushed up towards the head, is less pleasant, and the tolerable maximum is about 2-3 g.
The watch expresses all this drama in its high-tech design and large size – 47 mm in diameter, 17 mm thick – with a case that provides a great sense of depth. The manually-wound movement is a tourbillon, but this takes second place and can be seen at 6 o’clock, below the g-scale mechanism. The 70-hour power reserve is shown in a scale at 2 o’clock. A push-button at the centre of the crown selects the crown function, winding, neutral, handsetting, and the function is shown on a small indicator at 4 o’clock.
This watch incorporates many additional features that improve performance, such as a fast rotating barrel to improve the constancy of power delivery, and a modular time-setting mechanism located outside the movement, making maintenance of this component simpler. The case is rated at 30 metres water resistance. The watch is a limited edition of 30 units, price about €625,000.