The superlative quality of a Richard Mille watch is in equal measure due to its architecture and the materials it is made of. Naturally, it would be impossible to design watches capable of resisting extreme conditions without using constituents that were themselves created to handle punishing demands. In capitalising on engineering materials—particularly from the fields of aeronautics and Formula 1—and testing their potential applications in a watch movement or its housing, Richard Mille brings into being watches whose precision, lightness and reliability are intimately bound to the materials employed.
The RM 21-01 Tourbillon Aerodyne is entirely true to this lineage and draws on the influence of aeronautics.
Toughness to spare
We were intent on achieving extreme lightness on the RM 21-01 and we succeeded in constructing it on a honeycomb structure. The objective was to juxtapose and laser-weld each tiny cell. This achievement on such a microscopic scale is a major technical tour-de-force.
RM 21-01 TOURBILLON AERODYNE
Manual winding tourbillon movement with hours, minutes, function selector, power-reserve and torque indicators.
Limited edition of 50 pieces
Around 70 hours (± 10%).
HAYNES® 214® is a nickel-chromium-aluminium-iron alloy, designed to provide the optimum in high-temperature oxidation resistance for a wrought austenitic material, while at the same time allowing conventional forming and joining. Intended principally for use at temperatures of 955°C and above, 214® alloy exhibits resistance to oxidation that far exceeds that of virtually all conventional heat-resistant wrought alloys at these temperatures.
Combined with a Carbon TPT® core, the honeycombed geometrical pattern of HAYNES® 214® offers unparalleled stiffness, a low thermal expansion coefficient and exceptional torsion resistance.
The orthorhombic baseplate is given a blue PVD treatment to highlight its original construction
BRIDGES MADE OF GRADE 5 TITANIUM
Bridges are crafted of grade 5 titanium, a biocompatible, highly corrosion-resistant and remarkably rigid alloy, which enables the gear train to function effortlessly. The alloy is 90% grade 5 titanium, 6% aluminium and 4% vanadium. This combination further increases the material’s mechanical properties, which explains its frequent use in the aerospace, aeronautics and automotive industries. They are coated with a 5N gold PVD treatment.
FREE-SPRUNG BALANCE WITH VARIABLE INERTIA
This type of balance wheel guarantees greater reliability in the event of shocks and during movement assembly or disassembly, and also guarantees better chronometric results over time. The regulator index is eliminated, and a more accurate and repeatable calibration is possible thanks to 4 small adjustable screws located directly on the balance.
In a manner similar to a car’s gearbox, a push-button located at the centre of the crown makes it possible to select the winding, neutral and hand-setting functions with a simple push. A hand at 4 o’clock indicates the selected function.
This indicator supplies information about the mainspring’s tension, thus permitting an optimisation of the chronometric functioning of the movement. Below 5.3 N.mm, the spring is considered too slack, while above 6.5 N.mm, excess tension in the spring can adversely affect the mechanism’s operation, or actually endanger it.
The power-reserve indicator shows the number of hours of energy left in the mainspring before the watch must be wound again.
WINDING-BARREL TEETH AND THIRD-WHEEL PINION WITH CENTRAL INVOLUTE PROFILE
The central involute profile of the winding-barrel teeth provides an optimal pressure angle of 20°, which promotes effective rotary motion and compensates for possible variations in the operation of the going train. This, in turn, ensures excellent torque transmission and a distinct improvement in performance.
MODULAR TIME-SETTING MECHANISM FITTED AGAINST THE CASEBACK
This mechanism provides the following advantages for longevity and maintenance:
• Since the component is mounted outside of the movement, the time-setting assembly can be changed without affecting the integrity of the baseplate in the event of a possible defect or during maintenance.
• The mounting and dismantling of this module from the back will not require removal of the hands and the dial.
Movement dimensions: 30.20 x 29.20 mm
Thickness: 7.14 mm
Tourbillon diameter: 12.30 mm
Balance wheel diameter: 10.00 mm
Number of jewels: 27
Balance: Glucydur®, 2 arms, 4 setting screws, moment of inertia 10 mg•cm2, angle of lift 53°
Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
Balance spring: elinvar by Nivarox®
Shock protection: KIF Elastor KE 160 B28
Barrel shaft: nickel-free Chronifer® (DIN x 46 Cr 13 + S) with the following characteristics: stainless – antimagnetic – suitable for tempering
CASE MADE OF RED GOLD AND CARBON TPT®
From the case and dial to each piece of the movement, the design and execution of the watch
demonstrate a holistic approach to conception of the movement, case and dial. As a result, everything has been constructed according to extremely rigorous specifications. The casing ring is eliminated, and the movement is fixed to the chassis with four grade 5 titanium screws and silent blocks (ISO SW).
Carbon TPT® is a highly technical material made up of 600 layers of parallel filaments obtained
by separating out carbon fibres. The layers, no more than 30 microns thick, are assembled on a dedicated machine, which stacks the layers, varying the orientation of the fibres by 45° between layers and saturated with a black matrix. The composite is then heated to 120°C at a pressure of 6 bars in a kiln similar to that used for the production of aeronautics parts, after which it is ready to be machined at Richard Mille. During this phase, the many layers of Carbon TPT® are revealed, creating random damascene patterns that make each piece unique.
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.
• Anglage and polishing by hand
• Hand-polished locking sections
• Sapphire-blasted milled sections
• Lapped and polished contact points
• Burnished pivots
• Sapphire-blasted surfaces
• Hand-polished anglage
• Concave chamfering with a diamond tool
• Circular-finished faces
• Rhodium-plating (before cutting the teeth)
• Minimal corrections applied to the wheels in order to preserve geometry and performance.
This type of barrel provides the following advantages:
• The phenomenon of periodic internal mainspring adhesion is significantly diminished, thereby increasing performance.
• Provision of an excellent mainspring delta curve with an ideal power reserve/performance and regularity ratio.
It provides smooth time-setting functions by eliminating engaging friction, replacing it with rolling friction.
This permits better control of the torque applied to screws during assembly. These screws are therefore unaffected by physical manipulation during assembly or disassembly and age well.