Presented in 2005, the RM 009 Felipe Massa was the lightest tourbillion watch ever produced when it launched (29 grams without the strap), created using an ALUSIC® case and a skeleton movement made of aluminium-lithium (two world premieres).
This watch was a war against marketing. Marketing people kept talking about perceived value: for example, that a watch must be heavy to be considered valuable. The brand wanted to prove that a watch weighing just 29 grams could be a real challenge to achieve. With a case made of tough, ultra-light ALUSIC®, normally reserved for the construction of satellites, we were able to explore the hidden beauty of industrial materials, which is revealed only when they are used in a specific and creative manner. Furthermore, this material couldn’t be polished or brushed.’
With the RM 009, engineers at Richard Mille took on a fresh challenge—lightening the case. Despite the difficulties involved in its machining, they settled on ALUSIC® —a proprietary acronym for aluminium, silicon and carbon alloys previously reserved for use in satellites—to protect the tourbillon movement. The watchcase is the world's first application of ALUSIC® in watchmaking.
The objective of this experimental application of materials contained a dual challenge: the creation of the lightest mechanical watch ever made at this time and the realization of a tourbillon model able to endure vibrations, accelerations, decelerations and shocks in order to be a reliable companion for Felipe Massa during his tests, practice runs and Formula 1 races.
This objective was fulfilled, the RM 009 weighed in at 29 grams, becoming the lightest watch of its era.