This was an interesting but difficult stylistic exercise, which called for the creation of a rectangular shape while conserving the brand’s distinguishing hallmarks. The RM 016 entered the Richard Mille collection with a flourish: a distinct identity and an impressive character.
The extra-flat, rectangular case of the RM 016 marked a new phase in the brand’s history, yet the watch remains one hundred per cent Richard Mille, featuring the same attention to detail and technical achievement as its predecessors.
The nec plus ultra of chic
Previously, the height of the mechanical architecture had been the starting point. For this model, however, we concentrated on the opposite constraint: the watch was to be as flat as possible. The mechanism had to be spatially extended, spread out along the horizontal plane, to create a different sensory relationship with the wrist.
Red Gold diamond set
White Gold diamond set
RM 016 AUTOMATIC EXTRA FLAT
Skeletonised automatic winding movement with hours, minutes, date and variable-geometry rotor.
Around 55 hours (± 10%).
The baseplate and the 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 automobile industries.
The skeletonised baseplate and the bridges were subjected to intensive and complete validation tests to optimise their resistance capacities.
Semi-instantaneous, placed in a vertical aperture at 7 o’clock. The calendar disc of sapphire crystal is treated with non reflective coating on both sides.
The RM 016 uses a variable geometry system to optimise the rotor’s winding motion.
• Arm in grade 5 titanium
• 18K white gold weight segment
• Weight segment with 6 possible positions adjusted by screws in grade 5 titanium
• 18K white gold wings, high palladium content
• Ceramic ball bearings
• Unidirectional; anti-clockwise winding direction
This exclusive Richard Mille design makes it possible to effectively adapt rewinding of the mainspring to the user’s activity level, in sporting or non-sporting environments. By adjusting the six-position rib, the rotor’s inertia is modified to either speed up the winding process in the case of leisurely arm movements, or to slow it down during sporting activities.
Movement dimensions: 30.25 x 28.45 mm
Thickness: 4.14 mm
Number of jewels: 32
Barrel arbour: in AP 20 steel
Balance: Glucydur®, 4 arms, moment of inertia 4.8 mg•cm2, angle of lift 53°
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Balance spring: elinvar by Nivarox®
Shock protection: INCABLOC 908.22.211.100 (transparent)
Escapement wheel jewels: Rubifix (transparent)
Three-position stem: Manual winding, date, time setting
This watchcase marked the first appearance in the Richard Mille collection of a new shape with its own particular identity.
It retains the characteristics and attention to detail of previous case designs, with a vast number of stamping and machining operations required for the three main components (bezel, caseband and caseback). More than 18 days of machine adjustment must take place, as well as more than 400 hours of technical research and drawing before production even can start. Each case involves 202 separate machining operations.
The design and execution of the watch exemplify a holistic approach to conception of the movement, case and dial. The tripartite case is water resistant to 30 metres, ensured by 2 Nitrile O-ring seals, and is assembled using 12 spline screws in grade 5 titanium and abrasion-resistant washers in 316L stainless steel.
• Baseplate and bridges in hand-ground grade 5 titanium, wet sandblasted, black PVD or Titalyt® treated
• Burnished pivots
• Sandblasted bridges
• Diamond-polished sinks on the bridge side
• Sapphire-blasted surfaces
• Anglage and polishing by hand
• Screw slot and screws bevelled and polished
• Sandblasted and rhodium-plated, bevelled wheels (before cutting the teeth)
• Minimal corrections applied to the wheels in order to preserve geometry and performance
The free-sprung balance offers better reliability in the event of shocks, 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 weights located directly on the balance.
The double-barrel system helps to improve torque stability over a longer period. This is achieved by distributing the stored energy across two winding barrels instead of one, which increases the number of rotations and reduces pressure on the teeth, bearings and pivots, resulting in better long-term performance.
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.