The world of aviation has always played an integral and inspirational role for Richard Mille due to the myriad of parallels with his own philosophy of 21st century watchmaking, which combines horological tradition with new materials in the creation of true masterpieces.
Airbus is a name that is known the world over. It is a global leader in the application of novel approaches to aeronautical design, particularly for the aircraft it builds for private individuals via its ultra-luxurious subsidiary, Airbus Corporate Jets, or ACJ. It was thus only natural that Richard Mille and ACJ should join forces to design this horological masterpiece inspired by their respective worlds.
Manual winding tourbillon movement with hours, minutes, split-seconds chronograph with running seconds, 30-minute totaliser and power-reserve, torque and function indicators.
Limited edition of 30 timepieces
Just like the truly exceptional luxurious corporate jets built to the exacting and personal standards of ACJ customers, this timepiece makes use of advanced, openworked design elements in the internal design of its bridges and baseplate in grade 5 titanium, along with extensive skeletonisation in every possible area to secure a significant weight reduction. A number of parts within the movement have been coated with a distinctive, special aeronautical treatment normally used to protect engine and chassis parts from corrosion and environmental aggressions.
The end result is a visually breathtaking and dramatic view of the technical interior of the split-seconds chronograph movement. It also has significant technical repercussions that include eliminating the initial jump of the chronograph seconds hand when it is started and stopped, with new split-seconds components also in titanium to reduce internal friction and thus lower the chronograph’s energy consumption.
The RM50-02 tourbillon calibre also hosts a power-reserve indicator (70 hours) between 11 and 12 o’clock, a torque indicator that supplies information about the tension of the mainspring and thus allows the chronometer function to be optimised, and a function indicator displaying the watch’s state in each of the winding, neutral and hand-setting positions.
The highly distinctive case shape in a titanium-aluminium alloy (TiAl) with a secondary ceramic bezel was developed to mirror the outlines of ACJ’s typical window shape, with a clearly visible, multi-layered hull structure surround.
This titanium-aluminium is the same alloy used by Airbus for its jet turbine blades, which must function safely when high temperatures and high fields of pressure converge, thus requiring a very strong and highly stress-resistant material.
A first for the brand, this is also the first time the iconic Richard Mille screws around the outer edge of the bezel have been replaced by Torq-set® screws with their distinctively shaped head slots, and a jet-engine-inspired crown engraved with Airbus’s wave-pattern logo.