The RM 47 Tourbillon harks back to the sources of Japanese crafting tradition in proposing an allegory of Bushido, the samurai code of ethics whose values still prevail in Japanese society.
It is not without reason that the samurai armour at the heart of the RM 47 Tourbillon sports the crest of the Asano clan.
Originating from Hiroshima, this family is without doubt the finest embodiment of the Bushido spirit. Asano Naganori, the daimyo, or chief, of the family fiefdom at the turn of the eighteenth century, was the lord of the 47 rōnin who avenged his death before following him into the afterworld.
The Asano family’s kamon is featured on the tourbillon at 6 o’clock. Each samurai clan had its own kamon, a heraldic sign borne on their clothes, their sabres and the banners carried onto fields of battle. Representing two crossed falcon feathers, this emblem was also very finely engraved on the warriors’ helmet winglets. In Japanese feudal iconography, the falcon expressed strength in war and the authority of the suzerain.
A work of art of impressive realism, the RM 47 Tourbillon incorporates an extremely compact calibre, specially designed to make room for the samurai suit. The boldness of its volumes gives this decoration such a presence that it gives the impression of sculpture almost as much as of engraving.
Associating art and spirituality. Creating a new masterpiece designed as an aesthetic tribute to Japanese culture. The RM 47 Tourbillon is the fruit of intense reflection and nearly four years of design work. The model was born of a friendly conversation between Richard Mille and the twice Formula 1 world champion and brand partner Fernando Alonso, a passionate enthusiast of Japanese traditional arts and the Samurai principles.
Patience, meticulousness, dexterity and passion
Between sword and chisel, between the cutting edge of the blade and the incisions defined by the precision of the engraver’s technique, there are many parallels to evoke the similarities between the qualities of these warriors and those demanded by our artistic crafts.
RM 47 Manual Winding Tourbillon
Manual winding tourbillon movement with hours and minutes.
Power reserve: Circa 72 hours (± 10%).
Limited edition of 75 pieces
The baseplate and the bridges are crafted in grade 5 titanium, a biocompatible, highly corrosion-resistant and remarkably rigid alloy, ensuring that the gear train functions smoothly.
The alloy is 90% titanium, 6% aluminium and 4% vanadium. This combination enhances the alloy’s mechanical properties, which explains its frequent use in the aerospace, aeronautics and automotive industries.
The use of microblasted grade 5 titanium in combination with a grey PVD treatment confers great rigidity on the entire assembly and provides rigorously even surfaces.
The skeletonised baseplate and the bridges were subjected to intensive and complete validation tests to optimise their resistance capacities.
Protecting the RM47 calibre, the samurai armour created from 3N yellow gold has been entirely hand-engraved by Pierre-Alain Lozeron.
It was essential for the work to provide volume, sculpting in trompe-l’œil to give the required depth to the effigy of the samurai equipped with his two swords. There is a wealth of details, such as the helmet ribbon, the sword’s attachments, the crest representing two crossed falcon feathers positioned on the tourbillon, and the expression of the mask, which had to convey the samurai’s warrior spirit. In total, it takes no less than 16 hours of engraving to obtain the 11 components that make up the Samurai.
Then begins the micro painting press made by his wife, Valérie. It is when coloured with translucent painting that the extraordinary engraving work really came to life. It was necessary to ensure proper adhesion when applied to the structures made of yellow gold, bearing in mind that one can opt for one or two coats, and play with the oven temperatures during the baking stage. The challenge lies in ensuring that the painting and the engraving mutually enhance one another. Insufficiently translucent for example, the colour would mask the subtlety of the detail obtained by engraving. Too light, on the other hand, and it would reduce the effect of depth that it is supposed to accentuate.
FREE-SPRUNG BALANCE WITH VARIABLE INERTIA
This type of balance wheel guarantees greater reliability when subjected to shocks and during assembly or dismantling of the movement, thus providing better chronometric results over time.
The index is eliminated, thereby allowing a more precise and repeatable calibration using 4 setting screws.
FAST-ROTATING BARREL (6 hours per revolution instead of 7.5 hours)
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.
Movement dimensions: 32.80 x 30.90 mm
Thickness: 6.80 mm
Tourbillon diameter: 10.90 mm
Balance wheel diameter: 9.12 mm
Balance: Glucydur®, 2 arms, 4 setting screws, moment of inertia 11.50 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: in nickel-free Chronifer® (DIN x 46 Cr 13 + S) with the following characteristics: stainless — antimagnetic — suitable for tempering
The design and execution of the entire watch bear witness to a conceptual approach that encompasses the movement, case and dial as a single whole.
TZP black ceramic was chosen for the RM 47 ‘s bezel and caseback. This low-density material (6g/cm3) is highly scratch-resistant and has a low thermal conductivity coefficient. Constituted of 95% yttrium-stabilised zirconium, TZP has a pronounced grain that provides the perfect finish. A long and difficult machining and grinding process using diamond tools is necessary to create the complex forms of the bezel and caseback, which are given a final matt surface finish. The caseband is made of 18K 3N yellow gold.
The tripartite case is water resistant, 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.
The crown, crafted of titanium, Carbon TPT® and polished 3N yellow gold, has a Japanese maple leaf for its motif. An allegory of beauty, grace and the brevity of life, it is the autumnal equivalent of the cherry blossom used to express rebirth in the spring. Every year in November, the maple leaves take on flamboyant colours before detaching from the boughs to fall in a tourbillon-like movement. As early as the Heian period, over a thousand years ago, the aristocracy already perceived this spectacle – later popularised under the name momijigari – as a significant motif of Japanese aesthetics.
The torque-limiting security system prevents accidental overwinding of the watch, which can cause damage to the winding stem or place extreme pressure on the barrel spring.
• Hand-polished bevelling
• Microblasted milled sections
• Drawn or polished outer faces
• 3N yellow gold Samurai armor hand-engraved, hand-decorated and hand-painted
• Microblasted surfaces
• Satin-brushed surfaces
• Hand-polished bevelling
• Hand-drawn finishing on the upper surfaces
• Matt strokes on the underside
• Lengthwise hand-drawn strokes on the sides
• Polished sinks
• Lapped and polished ends
• Burnished pivots
• Concave chamfering with a diamond tool
• Circular-smoothed faces
• Rhodium plating (before cutting the teeth)
• Minimal corrections applied to the wheels in order to preserve geometry and performance.
This device permits an appreciable winding gain (circa 20%), especially during the start of winding. It is also helpful for ensuring even distribution of the mainspring’s internal tension.
The central involute profile of the winding-barrel teeth and pinion provides an optimal pressure angle of 20°. This promotes effective rotary motion and compensates for possible variations in the engagement of the going train, thus ensuring excellent torque transmission with a distinct improvement in performance.
This permits better control of the torque applied to the screws during assembly. These screws are therefore unaffected by physical manipulation during assembly or disassembly and age well.