At Richard Mille, the fact that a tremendous challenge has been won is never a valid reason to stand still and be complacent. The introduction of the RM 056 in 2011 was a watchmaking milestone of technical achievement; never before had such a complex case design for such an intricate movement been manufactured in pure sapphire.
This debut was followed by the RM 56-01, which put the stakes even higher with a baseplate, bridges and third wheel additionally created from sapphire. The RM 56-02 Sapphire and its new movement, taking cues from the mechanical architecture of the RM 27-01 Rafael Nadal and its cable suspended movement is at the pinnacle of transparency.
In this fashion the baseplate of the RM 56-02, created from grade 5 titanium, is entirely suspended within the sapphire watchcase by specially developed single braided cable of only 0.35mm thickness, woven within a system of 4 pulleys on posts at the movement’s corners and another 6 pulleys placed along the movement’s periphery. The tension of the cable is perfectly controlled by a miniature ratchet at 9 o’clock.
This entire cable unit is attached to a separate indicator located below 12 o’clock allowing an easy visual inspection of the cable tension, to ensure that it is always operating within the designated norms.
The tripartite case of the RM 56-02 is milled and ground from blocks of solid sapphire by the prestigious and highly specialized experts Stettler in Lyss, Switzerland, who had the difficult task of creating these movement parts and the unique, wrist hugging, ergonomically curving tripartite Richard Mille case. These engineering and technical challenges are self evident when we examine the reality of creating something inimitable like the RM 56-02: 40 days, 24/7 of continuous machining are required in order to produce one case followed by 400 hours of machining and finishing for the different movement bridges.