What do you get when you mix a top engineering team competing in Formula 1 racing with one of the most groundbreaking horology manufactures?… The answer is: a highly complicated watch weighing only 38 grams, strap included.
Video courtesy of: Richard Mille
Richard Mille may release big cased timepieces, but they’re made of such refined materials that they don’t weigh as much as they look like they would. We’ve seen their watches on wrists of competing athletes various times, like the famous tennis player Rafael Nadal, the prominent golfer Bubba Watson
or the South African sprinter Wayde Van Niekerk, who took home the gold model for setting a new 400m world record at the Olympics Games in Rio, all while wearing a Richard Mille.
On the same hand, racecars we see flashing by on Formula 1 racetracks, tend to keep pushing the limits of how fast these cars can go. One of the main features that enhances a motorized vehicle’s speed is its weight. The McLaren team has been constantly experimenting with lightweight engineering for better lap times. But, now they’ve teamed up with Richard Mille and the result is being championed as, the lightest tourbillon split-second chronograph ever manufactured. This is the first timepiece by Richard Mille for Formula 1, but since they’ve signed a 10-year partnership with McLaren-Honda, it’s safe to say more watches and initiatives will eventually be announced.
The 49mm three-part tonneau-shaped case is made of a mixture of carbon fiber, titanium and a material called “Graph TPT”. It consists of a resin containing graphene being injected into 600 layers of carbon fiber, each just around 30 microns thick. And these three elements combined offer high-resistance with lightweight.
More specifically, the baseplate and bridges are crafted from carbon fiber and titanium that attach to a transverse carbon fiber cage; an idea Richard Mille says he got from the suspension system on the McLaren-Honda F1. The Swiss horology company even stated that during in-house testing the watch managed to resist shock loading’s of 5,000g.
Its hollowed out pushers on the side of the case were inspired by the air intakes seen on the “McLaren-Honda F1”; while its big crown with those five accents are reminiscent of racing wheels. The torque and function indicators are controlled by the crown. Graphene is estimated to be six times lighter than steel and approximately 200 times as strong. Features a transparent case back that allows to view the inner workings of the mechanical movement.
Time is exhibited on an open-worked skeletonized dial with many scattered elements and highlights. At the 3 o’clock position is a function indicator that works similarly to a car’s gearbox by indicating the different hand setting positions as the crown is pulled out. The hands and hour index markers feature a luminescent filling, for an enhanced legibility.
An ultralight tourbillon is visible at the 6 o’clock position; followed by a torque indicator to measure the tension on the mainspring between the 12 and 1 o’clock positions; and a split-seconds at the 9 o’clock position. There is also a power-reserve indicator at the 11 o’clock position and a tachymeter scale circling around the outer rim of the dial, near the bezel.
Richard Mille 50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Ultralight McLaren F1
This “Richard Mille 50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Ultralight McLaren F1” (Ref#: RM 50-03) is powered by a hand-wound mechanical movement, caliber RM50-03 with 43 jewels and 21,600 vph. Featuring burnished pivots, lapped and polished contact points, plus hand-polished locking-sections and beveling. As well as: a split-seconds chronograph, a 30-minute totalizer, a power reserve indicator and a tourbillion. Power reserve on this timepiece can last up to 70 hours, when fully wound; while water-resistance can reach up to 50 meters (165 feet).
Mounted to the watch is an innovative strap Richard Mille commission from BIWI S.A., which consists of a rubber strap that’s been injected with graphene, in order to increase its elasticity and longevity.
This is also a limited edition watch with only 75 pieces produced; on sale exclusively at Richard Mille boutiques with a suggested retail price of: $980,000.00 USD. Also included with this watch acquisition is a 1:5 scale model of this year’s McLaren-Honda Formula 1 racecar, driven by two-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso.
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