Live your passion. Be daring, throw yourself into it, and go beyond your limits. Then cross the finish line after an unrivalled technical and sporting performance! These are just a few of the characteristics that the watch brand and the legendary biennial Le Mans Classic have had in common since they first joined forces in 2002.
Richard Mille's involvement in the automotive world is well-established. With a strong commitment to racing circuits, supporting teams and drivers, and particularly women in the sport, it was only natural for the brand to be involved with the Le Mans Classic at every level from the very beginning. Watches have been specially designed for every edition since 2008, each one in the event’s colours. And this edition is no exception.
Ambassador of a legendary circuit
Limited to 150 pieces, the RM 72-01 Le Mans Classic celebrates the centenary of the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race. It echoes the performance of the cars that compete during a double lap of the dial on the 13.626 kilometres of the Le Mans circuit.
RM 72-01 Automatic Winding Flyback Chronograph Le Mans Classic
Skeletonised movement with automatic bidirectional winding and hours, minutes, small seconds, date, flyback chronograph, function indicator and stop seconds.
Limited edition of 150 pieces
Circa 50 hours (± 10%).
The separation of the chronograph function from that of daily timekeeping in no way impedes the base movement’s operation when the chronograph is running.
The baseplate and the bridges are crafted in grade 5 titanium, a biocompatible, highly corrosion-resistant and remarkably rigid alloy, ensuring 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 micro-blasted grade 5 titanium in combination with a grey electroplasma 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.
This type of flyback chronograph, patented by Richard Mille, splitting the torque generated across the chronograph’s various counters. The display and the connection to the minutes and hours are thus disengaged from the chronograph’s seconds wheel. The performance of this chronograph is superlative. Drawing power directly from the barrel to supply the chronograph’s three counters, the enhanced energy is transmitted to the chronograph train by a coupling system consisting of two oscillating pinions mounted on rockers, controlling the start, stop, flyback and reset functions.
The rockers are activated by a 6-column wheel whose construction optimises the simultaneity of actions and the proper latching of functions, whilst ensuring the longevity of the settings.
The 16 on the hour counter is underlined in red, a nod to the traditional start time of the endurance race.
Semi-instantaneous, placed in a vertical aperture at 7 o’clock.
In a manner similar to a car’s gearbox, the function indicator makes it possible to identify the winding, neutral and handsetting positions as the crown is pulled out.
Movement dimensions: 29.10 x 31.25 mm
Thickness: 6.05 mm
Number of jewels: 39
Balance wheel: CuBe, 4 arms, 4 setting weights, moment of inertia 7.5 mg•cm2 , angle of lift 50°
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Balance spring: AK3
Shock protection: INCABLOC 908.22.211.100 (transparent)
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. For example, a casing ring is no longer used, and the movement is mounted on chassis mounting rubbers (ISO SW) fixed by titanium screws. This shows the emphasis placed on uncompromising high quality.
The case is made of Quartz TPT®. It is composed of over 600 layers of parallel filaments obtained from separating silica threads. These layers, no thicker than 45 microns, are saturated in a white or green resin developed specially for Richard Mille and woven on a special machine that modifies the direction of the weft by 45° between layers.
It is then heated to 120°C and subjected to a pressure of 6 bars in an autoclave similar to those used to make aeronautical components, before the material is ready for machining on a CNC machine at Richard Mille’s case factory. Machining unveils the various Quartz TPT® layers at random, ensuring that each machined component is unique. Quartz fibres are generally used for very high performance applications due to their resistance to high temperatures, their strength, and their transparency to electromagnetic waves.
The tripartite case is water resistant to 30 metres, ensured by three Nitrile O-ring seals. It is assembled using 20 grade 5 titanium spline screws and abrasion-resistant washers in 316L stainless steel
• Microblasted and hand-polished chamfering for the bridges
• Microblasted milled sections
• Microblasted and hand-polished sinks for the bridges
• Electroplasma treatment for the baseplate and the bridges
• Satin-brushed surfaces
• Hand-polished chamfered edges
• Hand-polished sinks
• Drawn edges
• Diamond-polished sinks
• Diamond-polished angles
• Circular-finished faces
• Rhodium plating (before cutting the teeth)
By using a rotor in platinum with ceramic ball bearings in combination with a One Way® reverser system, the barrel can be optimally wound whilst keeping its size compact.
This type of barrel provides the following advantages:
The entire going train of the watch, the primary transmitter of power throughout the movement, utilises a special profile for the teeth of the wheels, ensuring a 20° pressure angle.
This system equalises any discrepancies that might arise among the centres of the wheels, for instance due to thermal changes and normal use, and promotes the smooth transmission of torque to the balance wheel, thus supporting excellent chronometric results.