Manual winding tourbillon movement with hours, minutes, split-seconds chronograph, 30-minute totaliser, and power-reserve, torque and function indicators.
Limited edition of 75 timepieces.
Produced in collaboration with the famed Formula 1 constructor, the RM 50-03 is a technical masterpiece offering unrivalled mechanical performance. Weighing less than 40 grammes including the strap, it was also the lightest mechanical chronograph ever made on its release.
This landmark feat was achieved through the use of cutting-edge technical materials. The design not only incorporates Titanium and Carbon TPT®, but also introduces an entirely new material into the world of watchmaking: Graph TPTTM, more commonly known as graphene.
These new applications for the material emerged from research at the National Graphene Institute, which was established at The University of Manchester in 2015. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of The University of Manchester, McLaren Applied Technologies and North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT®), Richard Mille succeeded in producing a watch case that could be machined in an improved form of Carbon TPT®.
The physical properties of carbon are significantly enhanced by the introduction of graphene, a revolutionary nano-material that is six times lighter and 200 times stronger than steel. The McLaren Technology Group and McLaren F1 made it possible for us to consider this material as a means to significantly lower the density of our carbon composite while increasing its resistance.
Noted for the beautiful, undulating striations of its surface, Carbon TPT® is comprised of 600 parallel filaments with a maximum thickness of 30 microns. These are impregnated with a super-charged matrix containing graphene and are then compiled by a CNC machine that shifts the orientation of the fibres by 45° between layers.
The composite is then solidified by heating it to 120°C at a pressure of 6 bar. Numerous control and validation tests conducted by McLaren Applied Technologies made it possible to develop the solutions that resulted in the production of Graph TPTTM, a material employed exclusively by Richard Mille in watchmaking.
The resulting tripartite case makes zero concessions, being both highly resistant and extremely light, while preserving perfect ergonomics and a unique, striking appearance.
The 7-gramme movement, meanwhile, fully deserves its ‘ultralight’ qualifier. The secret to its feather-like weight resides in the use of grade 5 titanium and Carbon TPT® for the baseplate and bridges, and in the extreme skeletonisation of its components. Likewise, the density, rigidity and low thermal conductivity of titanium make it a material of choice in McLaren Racing’s Formula 1 engineering build programme, where it is not only used to lighten and reinforce chassis and aerodynamic elements, but also to produce gearboxes, connecting rods and valve systems.
A transverse carriage, crafted from Carbon TPT® and inspired by the wishbone suspension structure of a McLaren Formula 1 car, is fixed to the caseband and supports the entire RM50-03 calibre. By eliminating the casing ring, this unusual architecture enables a perfect fit between the movement and case. Taken together, these technical solutions provide the complex calibre with tremendous resistance properties. Indeed, the casing was subjected to shock loadings of 5,000 g in our own workshops – and survived unscathed.
Combining a tourbillon escapement with a split-seconds function, the RM 50-03 McLaren F1 is the quintessence of chronographic perfection. In order to perform without fail, the combination of these two complications within a single mechanism demands perfect transfers of energy. The ensuing need to reduce friction led to research on how to improve the profiling of the teeth on the barrel and gear train. The result is superbly balanced torque and optimised yield.
The movement’s performance and the quality of the energy delivered can be easily read via coloured indicators denoting the 70-hour power reserve and torque sensor. The hollow chronograph pushers evoke the air intake ducts on the McLaren car, while the shape of the crown takes its cue from the racing competition wheel rims used by the British team.