Hands-on – Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph, the facelift of an icon

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Brice Goulard | ic_query_builder_black_24px 5 minute read |
Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph

The Richard Mille RM 011 is a watch that perfectly sums up the Richard Mille spirit. We know this watch for almost 10 years and we’ve seen it in dozens of editions – some linked to certain events (Le Mans Classic), made for special friends of the brand (Felipe Masse, Roberto Mancini…) and manufactured in all possible colors or materials (red quartz, ceramic, carbon fiber, titanium, gold…). This watch could certainly be the most popular RM watch – and is probably the brand’s best seller too. After so many variations, it was time for this icon to get some fresh air, and after a strong facelift, this watch becomes the Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph.

Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph

What is new in this Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph? Well, without renewing entirely the concept and the style of this watch, we have to admit that almost all the parts (visual or mechanical ones) have been reworked. This facelift is stronger that you might think at first. Let’s start with the easiest part: the case. While the overall shape remains – the iconic tonneau shape designed in 2001 by Richard Mille, so recognizable and so comfortable on the wrist – the case is slightly different in the details. It structure is still based on a 3-part architecture, with a bezel, a central container and a caseback, all of them linked by 20 (12 on top, 8 on the back) spline screws in titanium (classical for RM watches).

Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph

The shape of the bezel and the caseback has evolved, with now a look close to the Richard Mille RM 27-02 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal. This new and more complex silhouette will become the new design of RM sports watches, and naturally, the RM 11-03 features it. It will allow to differentiate these watches from the other, more elegant, collections of the brand. RM says that it also reinforces the structural integrity of the watches.

Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph (credits: Alex Teuscher)

With that in mind, the Richard Mille RM 11-03 remains easily recognizable as the icon of the brand, however it also becomes sportier, bolder… It is more technical than ever before. The case, here in titanium but also available in red or white gold, shows a intensively brushed surface, with contrasting chamfers, highly polished. The crown and the pushers follow the same route as the case, being now even larger and more complex. The crown, in grade 5 titanium, borrows the design of competition wheel rims and tyre treads. The pushers, with clear inscriptions (Start/Stop and Reset/Fly-back) are inspired by the surface of pedals and are inserted in a material borrowed from F1: NTPT Carbon.

Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph (credits: Alex Teuscher)

Overall, the dial of the Richard Mille RM 11-03 remains faithful to older collections of the brand, with known codes: the typically RM numerals, entirely opened face to observe the movement, bright colours, sharp lines… Details has again evolved, with a strong research of technicality. The Richard Mille RM 11-03 still retain its annual calendar function, with a large date at 12 (clearly visible in a robust window) and the month indicated in a window at 4:30. The hands, still superbly detailed, follow the same lines as the case and become more edgy. Nnderneath the dial, we can also observe that the mechanics have evolved, white new architecture of the main-plate, thus giving an indication on the newly designed calibre RMAC3.

Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph

The movement of the Richard Mille RM 11-03 is an automatic chronograph movement, with annual calendar and fly-back function. If the base is still the same – certainly the same mechanics – the entire look and finish is renewed, with new design of the plates and bridge. It has two barrels, mounted side by side, to ensure stable coupling while providing a power reserve of around 55 hours. It retains its 4Hz free sprung balance, easily tunable for more precision. The baseplate as well as the bridges are all done in grade 5 titanium, to ensure rigidly and shock-resistance to the entire movement. The look now shows a lower plate satin-brushed and black PVD-treated, creating contrast with the upper bridge in brushed titanium, with black lines. On top sits the new variable-geometry rotor in grade 5 titanium, with two microblasted and chamfered wings in 18K white gold. This technical solution, a Richard Mille exclusive, makes it possible to adjust automatic winding of the watch to the wearer’s activity level, by varying the inertia of the rotor – with six possible positions.

Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph (credits: Alex Teuscher)

All these adjustments made on the Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph create a watch that certainly doesn’t gain in elegance but that becomes even bolder and sportier than before. Its shape is remarkably complex and highly technical – as well as all the solutions used by Richard Mille. Whether you prefer this new edition or the older style, be sure that it represents the new guideline wanted by Mille and creates a new generation of watches for the brand – and if this is too bold for you, no worries, Richard Mille also goes more classical in other collections. Price: to be confirmed (expect over 120,000 Euros).

Specifications of the Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph

  • Case: 49,94mm x 44,50mm x 16,15 mm – grade 5 titanium or white gold or red gold – sapphire crystal on front and caseback
  • Movement: calibre RMAC3 – automatic winding – power reserve of 55 hours – 28,800bph – free spring balance with variable inertia – hours, minutes, small seconds, flyback chronograph, date, annual calendar
  • Strap: black rubber strap

Photo credits: Alex Teuscher

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