Manual winding tourbillon movement with hours and minutes.
Limited edition of 25 pieces
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.’
Following on from the RM 006, this watch took the watchmaking world entirely by surprise with its extreme lightness. This experimental serie represents the first time in the history of horology that a movement baseplate has been manufactured in Aluminum-Lithium and represents years of research and development.
This alloy, normally only used in the aviation industry (most notably the AIRBUS A380), is made of lithium, aluminium, titanium, zirconium, silicon, chrome, zinc and manganese. Lithium within the alloy provides improved resistance and elastic modulus, among other characteristics, but paradoxically it also reduces density. In fact, the density of this exceptional material is 2.6, while that of titanium is 4.9. Aluminium-lithium was also selected among the many aluminium alloys because of its high resistance to corrosion.
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.