By Victor Toth
The avant-garde Swiss manufacture Richard Mille has made a name for itself among watch enthusiasts and collectors by pushing the limits of not only what is possible within the constraints of fine watchmaking – but also of what a high-end watch is capable of.
For Richard Mille this road was paved with watches that were not only remarkably complicated, but also almost unbelievably light – let’s take a look at the brand’s top five lightweight watches.
The Richard Mille RM27-01 came as an update to the original watch made for Rafael Nadal – the world famous tennis champion who has helped the Swiss watch manufacturer make headlines when Nadal wore the RM27 tourbillon while competing at the world’s greatest tennis tournaments. The RM27-01 weighs just 19 grams thanks to a novel – and extremely strong – case material of anthracite polymer injected with carbon nanotubes, as well as its use of grade 5 titanium for the movement’s larger components. The movement is suspended inside the case through four braided steel cables, each with a diameter of just 0.35 millimetres.
The Richard Mille RM27-02 is the latest addition to the RM27 line-up created for Rafael Nadal and it features a QTPT case, where hundreds of layers of extremely thin filaments of quartz crystal and white resin are bonded together to create a light and extremely durable material. Some of the movement’s redesigned bridges are in carbon fiber, to further reduce weight, and gone are the previous model’s cables to secure the movement. A more colorful successor to the monochromatic first Nadal tourbillon, the RM27-02 further pushes the boundaries with the use of exotic materials.
The Richard Mille RM59-01 was designed for another world-class athlete, the Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake. Featuring a carbon nanotube infused case for extreme lightness and rigidity, it’s equipped with four three-dimensional, curved movement bridges that are shaped like Blake’s fingers while performing his record-setting runs. Underneath the bottommost bridge is a tourbillon, to ensure a unique mix of high-performance and refined watchmaking.
The Richard Mille RM35-01 is another timepiece that bears the Nadal name – although this time around it does away with the tourbillon, as its RMUL3 caliber features a traditional escapement to display hours, minutes and seconds. Despite being entry-level, the case is in NTPT carbon, another material exclusive to the brand and made by Swiss materials specialist NTPT – short for North Thin Ply Technology. The case comprises hundreds of ultra-thin layers of carbon fiber, molded into one and then milled into the trademark Richard Mille tonneau shape. Super light and yet again, extremely durable, the RM35-01 is a great option for those looking to do without a tourbillon – and spend a bit less.
RM011 Red TPT Quartz
The very latest piece that Richard Mille debuted is the Richard Mille RM011 Red TPT Quartz, offering a blend of red TPT quartz composite and NTPT carbon. The result is a bold timepiece that goes well with the motor racing inspired RM011 Felipe Massa line of watches. Paired with a handy chronograph movement that features an annual calendar, and paired with a matching red rubber strap, the RM011 Red TPT Quartz is expected to be as light as the brand’s other carbon NTPT offerings – but with a new and indeed very bold look to spice things up even more.
Victor Toth – Czech Republic
Victor Toth is a Prague-based, professional photographer-turned-watch enthusiast and freelance journalist, whose journey into the complex world of fine watchmaking had begun a number of years ago. Over this time it has become his passion to share his understanding of the finer details of beautiful timepieces, all in an effort to encourage a more thorough appreciation of this wonderful and complex universe of fine mechanics.