Recently, we had a close look at a special watch from Richard Mille, the RM 033 Extra Flat, a watch that, even though it was more refined, more elegant, slimmer and featured a round case, was certainly recognizable as a watch from Richard Mille – mainly because of the skeletonized movement, the design clues and the execution, all respectful of the brand’s DNA. This same recipe is now applied to another watch, also a slim, more elegant, skeletonized piece but this time there’s no doubt to have when considering the manufacture that created it, as the new Richard Mille RM 67-01 Automatic Extra Flat has the distinctive tonneau case. Preview of one of the watches that RM will show during the SIHH 2016.
Most of the watches created by Richard Mille share three main characteristics: a tonneau shaped-case that became the hallmark of the brand (see this watch or this watch), hyper-complicated movements with unique features (like the G-sensor of the RM 36-01 Sebastian Loeb, the automaton of the Richard Mille RM 19-02 Tourbillon Fleur or the erotic game of the Richard Mille RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon) and finally extremely bold design (look at the Quartz-Carbon case of the RM 27-02 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal or the sapphire case of the RM 56-02 Sapphire Tourbillon). Thus, when Richard Mille came with a round watch, with a ultra-slim movement and a more refined look, in the name of the RM 033, we’ve been (pleasantly) surprised. However, for some collectors, a Richard Mille has to have a tonneau case, dress-watch or not. They now have an answer, an edition slimmer, more discreet, simpler on a mechanical side that could easily be worn with a tuxedo, without losing the roots of the brand, the Richard Mille RM 67-01 Automatic Extra Flat.
The case of this Richard Mille RM 67-01 is the first time that a tonneau shape has been created in an extra fltat form, making it the sleekest model of the tonneau shaped Richard Mille timepieces. The dimensions are more reasonable (compared for example with a 42.7mm x 50mm x 16.15 mm RM 11-01 Mancini, that, even if ultra-comfy on the wrist, remains a large watch) as the case here measures 38.7mm x 47.52mm x 7.75mm, still not a small watch, but that will still have a quite masculine look, but that can be worn with more versatility. As always with Richard Mille, you have to understand the complexity of this 3 part case (bezel, caseband and caseback), that requires 215 separate machining operations and days of preparation of the machines (without counting the hours needed to actually machine the raw plates of titanium). And it’s not finished yet, as the case will then undergo brushing and polishing, all executed by hand – and grade 5 titanium is quite difficult to polish by hand…
Then comes the dial, quite simple when it comes to its display, less when it comes to its architecture. First of all, like almost all the watches from Richard Mille, there’s no actual dial but a skeletonized plate on top of which are applied indexes and hands (hands that are showing the actual pointy and beveled shape of all the elegant RM watches). The 12 numerals are crafted from solid metal and mounted on two linked and rigid titanium rails attached directly to the movement, creating an interesting sensation of depth (all the numerals, as well as the hands, are filled with luminous material). The dial also features a function indicator that tells you in which position the crown is (H for hand-setting, D for date and W for winding). Finally, the Richard Mille RM 67-01 Automatic Extra Flat features a date, located in a window at 5 and displayed by a black skeletonized discs, contrasting on a white background. And of course there are all the visible plates and wheels.
The movement of the Richard Mille RM 67-01 Automatic Extra Flat is, like we expected, specific to this watch and, good news, tonneau-shaped like the rest of the watch. The baseplate is made of grade 5 titanium, sandblasted, beveled by hand and coated with grey electroplasma treatment. The same finish is applied to the bridges (but in black). This movement features a central rotor in solid platinum (and not a micro-rotor like the RM 033), which doesn’t prevent it to be rather (to say the least) flat, with a 3.6mm thickness. It features the usual delicacies of the brand: free sprung balance wheel with variable inertia, fast rotating barrel for a better torque delivery, specific teeth profile and movement assembled with spline screws in titanium. The movement ticks at 28.800 vibrations per hours and boasts 50 hours of power reserve.
The Richard Mille RM 67-01 Automatic Extra Flat will be officially unveiled during the SIHH 2016 (that will open its doors the 18th January 2016). Price to be confirmed at the same time but expect something in-between 90.000 Euros and 100.000 Euros. More details on the dedicated page here www.richardmille.com/watch/rm-67-01.