Richard Mille has introduced the RM 67-02 Automatic in two versions. Each is dedicated to an athlete, South African sprint champion Wayde Van Niekerk and Qatari high jump champion Mutaz Essa Barshim. The RM 67-02 is based on the RM 67-01, which has been given a sports look with its ultra-slim case, just 7.8 mm thick. Richard Mille’s remarkable skills in using high-tech materials also reduces weight to just 32 grams, making these watches the lightest automatics in the brand’s range. The watches are different to anything else on the market, and the skeletonized movement is also distinctive, with a series of curving bridges. The central bridges are hand-painted in the colours of the athletes’ countries. The watch is minimalist in its functions: hours and minutes, no seconds, no date.
Richard Mille himself describes the inspiration for Mutaz Essa Barshim’s watch. “I’ve been working for over fifteen years to push haute horlogerie beyond the niche it had tucked itself into, and open it to new, as yet unexplored or poorly-served disciplines. With the high jump, there was a blank slate. Nonetheless the challenge was considerable, because Mutaz has only his body to rely on in his quest for new records. It was thus necessary that the watch truly ‘becomes part of him’, like a second skin. It had to be light and airy, but also comfortable…”
The case is relatively small, at 38.7 mm width and 47.5mm lug to lug. Its organic stripy appearance is created by the use of Quartz TPT, made from layers of silica threads saturated in coloured resin, used for bezel and caseback. The caseband is made from the nanofibre composite Carbon TPT. Both these materials are exclusive to Richard Mille, made by Swiss company North Thin Ply Technology (which explains the abbreviation TPT). The titanium spline screws holding the case together are in prominent view. Curiously the watch has a water resistance of just 3 bar, the minimum standard for most watches. Enough to stand up to sweat, a bit of rain, but not much more.
The seventh in-house calibre by Richard Mille calibre, CRMA7, has a base plate and bridges made from titanium. The oscillating weight is in Carbon TPT and white gold. Power reserve is about 50 hours. The balance is variable-inertia, with four setting screws for regulation, and it runs at 28,800 vibrations per hour, 4 Hertz. The calibre incorporates Richard Mille’s hallmark technology such as a special gear-tooth profile that reduces friction, and a fast-rotating barrel. The brand says that this type of barrel reduces the phenomenon of periodical mainspring adhesion, increasing performance. Finish includes grey and black DLC treatment for baseplate and bridges, and microblasting for certain details. Richard Mille’s movements have a unique aesthetic which can only be truly appreciated from close up, with a loupe.
Styles of skeletonization
The movement skeletonization is attractive and striking. It’s interesting how different brands develop their own characteristic architecture. Richard Mille’s is based on curved bridges, while Roger Dubuis works with the star shape. You can see an echo of the star-shape in the skeletonized oscillating weight of the RM 67-02.
A new elastic strap or “comfort band” was specially designed for watches worn by the athletes in the Richard Mille family. It is light, elastic, seamless and non-slip, ensuring excellent comfort.
Each of the two RM 67-02 Automatic watches costs €132,000, £116,000. More information from the Richard Mille website.