‘We in Finland are known for our “guts” and determination. We even have a word for it – "sisu". We have it in our stomachs. It’s what gets us past the finishing line, despite the odds. In my sport, however, sisu is not enough. I have to rely on high-performance technology and team-work – the kind I’ve come to appreciate since joining the Alfa Romeo Racing Team. Most of all, though, there has to be sheer passion! Richard Mille has powered his own engine for years with all three of these,– guts, technological prowess and above all fun. That’s why I am more than happy to be at the wheel with the ground-breaking RM 50-04 on my wrist.’
Crowned world champion in 2007 after being vice world champion in 2003 and 2005, 39-year-old Kimi Räikkönen is a seasoned veteran. At the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix, the so-called “Iceman” had the chance to take his 307th start. Yet further evidence of the driver’s exceptional longevity, who over the course of his 18-year career has made 103 podium finishes, coming first on 21 occasions. Now more focused on the pleasure of driving, he has entirely rethought his approach to Formula 1: ‘From now on, I consider F1 to be a hobby,” confides Kimi. “I no longer feel the same pressure and I can just have fun at the wheel. That’s what I enjoy doing, even if I’m still concentrated on doing my best to achieve the result that the car deserves.’ Kimi’s legendary reserved disposition, his ability to keep his cool under any circumstances—which earned him his nickname—, his reflexes and his finesse remain just as impressive as ever. Appointed Sports Ambassador in 2017 in Finland, he is currently Finland’s most decorated Formula 1 driver, ahead of the great Mika Häkkinen.
Richard Mille has supported Alfa Romeo Racing Team since 2018, so Kimi first entered the Richard Mille world when he was signed by the Swiss manufacturer in 2018. Sauber Motorsport AG is a Swiss motorsport engineering company, founded in the 1970's by Peter Sauber. His CV is unusual to say the least. If things had gone according to plan, Peter would today be running his parents’ traffic light business. But the ambitious young man got the green light to set up Sauber C1 (the C stands for Christiane, his wife) in his parents' basement. He progressed through hill-climbing and the World Sportscar Championship to reach Formula One in 1993. In 2017, Sauber F1 Team signed a multi-year technical and commercial partnership with Alfa Romeo, returning the Italian car manufacturer to F1 after an absence of more than 30 years.
RM 50-04 TOURBILLON CHRONOGRAPH KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN
Manual winding tourbillon movement with hours, minutes, split-seconds chronograph, 30-minute totaliser, and power-reserve, torque and function indicators.
Limited edition of 30 pieces
Circa 70 hours (± 10%), without the chronograph running.
Actual power reserve results will depend on the period of time the chronograph is utilised.
The calibre RM50-03 weighs just 7 grams and fully deserves its qualifier ‘ultralight’. The secret to its feather weight lies in the use of grade 5 Titanium and Carbon TPT®, and in the extreme skeletonisation of components. Likewise, the density, stiffness and low thermal conductivity of titanium make it a material of choice in Formula 1 engineering build programme.
The baseplate and a portion of the bridges are crafted in 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.
Some of the bridges belonging to the split-seconds chronograph are made from Carbon TPT®, as is the transverse carriage supporting the entire calibre, together with the barrel and tourbillon bridges. Attached to the caseband, this carriage circumvents the need for a casing ring, allowing the movement to be perfectly integrated into the case.
All of these technical solutions give this complex calibre—with its extreme weight to resistance ratio—an impressive resistance capacity, tested in our workshops to shocks of 5,000 g’s.
The Calibre RM50-03 introduces a latest-generation split-seconds mechanism developed by the Richard Mille engineers. Design of a new split-seconds mechanism and extensive research on the work of the split-seconds clamps have permitted a 50% reduction in the chronograph’s energy consumption, while at the same time reducing arbour friction.
The 6-column wheel that controls the various rockers for the split-seconds function was designed to guarantee flawlessly simultaneous movement, clean function lock, and highly stable settings.
In a manner similar to a car’s gearbox, the function indicator makes it possible to see the winding, neutral and hand-setting positions as the crown is pulled out. The active position is indicated via a hand at 4 o’clock pointing to the following functions: W (Winding) – N (Neutral) – H (Hands).
The power-reserve indicator shows the number of hours of energy left in the mainspring before the watch must be wound again.
This indicator supplies information about the mainspring’s tension, permitting an optimisation of the movement’s chronometric functioning. 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.
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.
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.
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: 31.10 x 32.15 mm
Thickness: 10.02 mm
Tourbillon diameter: 12.40 mm
Balance wheel diameter: 10.00 mm
Number of jewels: 43
Balance wheel: 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
The design and execution of the watch demonstrate a highly conceptual holistic approach to the movement, case and dial. As a result, everything has been constructed according to extremely rigorous specifications, in the manner of analytical engineering methods used in the design of Formula 1 racing cars, where the chassis and the engine are developed in complete harmony. For example, a casing ring is no longer used, and the movement is mounted on chassis mounting rubbers (ISO SW) fixed by grade 5 titanium screws. Features such as these are evidence of uncompromising workmanship.
The colours used on the C38 single-seater are showcased on the bezel and case back in white Quartz TPT®. This is achieved by interlaying 600 layers of silicon each 45 microns thick and impregnating them with a white matrix before heating them to 120 °C in an autoclave. This process gives the material a very high resistance/weight ratio, non-allergenic properties, and excellent resistance to UV rays. Developed by North Thin Ply Technology, the technique is also used on the Carbon TPT® caseband, but this time using carbon fibres.
The case of the RM 50-04 is water-resistant to 50 metres thanks to two Nitril O-ring seals. The case is assembled with 20 spline screws in grade 5 titanium and abrasion-resistant washers in 316L stainless steel.
This additional security system prevents accidental overwinding, which could cause damage to the winding stem or put extreme pressure on the barrel spring.
• Hand-polished bevelling
• Hand-polished locking sections
• Sapphire-microblasted milled sections
• Lapped and polished contact points
• Burnished pivots
• Wire-drawn and microblasted surfaces
• Hand-polished bevelling
• Concave chamfering with a diamond tool
• Circular-decorated front faces
• Rhodium plating (before cutting the teeth)
• Minimal corrections applied to the wheels in order to preserve geometry and performance.
MODULAR TIME-SETTING MECHANISM ON THE CASEBACK
This mechanism provides the following advantages for longevity and maintenance:
BARREL PAWL WITH PROGRESSIVE RECOIL
This device permits an appreciable winding gain (circa 20%), especially during the start of winding. It is also helpful in ensuring an even distribution of the mainspring’s internal tension.
SPLINE SCREWS IN GRADE 5 TITANIUM FOR THE BRIDGES AND CASE
The design of these screws permits better control of the torque applied during assembly. These screws are therefore unaffected by physical manipulation during assembly or disassembly and age well.