Richard Mille have once again astounded the industry – this time with a new ladies watch, the RM 19-02 Tourbillon Fleur. Automaton? Poetic Complication? Call it what you will – it is a stunner.
Last year had its fair share of “floral themed” ladies watches, including Breguet’s Secret de la Reine, a particularly eye-pleasing Girard-Perregaux Cat’s Eye model complete with an embroidery-like peony motif on its dial and of course, the Christophe Claret Margot watch which proposed to answer the romantic quandary of “He loves me…. He loves me not”.
Now Richard Mille have brought a floral design to their ladies collection, with a piece which provides its wearer with a mesmerising mechanical spectacle – but, despite its delicate artisan aesthetics it has still been built using the same cutting-edge materials and technology which characterise every watch which bears the Richard Mille marque and it is therefore as tough as old boots too.
For this model time-telling becomes secondary to the outstanding tourbillon which nestles beneath its floral shield. Every five minutes (or on demand via the push piece at 9 o’clock) the magnolia petals slowly open, revealing the concealed flying tourbillon underneath, which rises up by 1mm, replicating the motion of a flower seeking pollination.
The creation of this subtle, but highly emotive transformation required a complex system which employed 5 levers which surround the underside of the petals and, a secondary system which is used to raise the flying tourbillon using a long pinion. A separate winding barrel provides energy for the activity so that the accuracy of the time indication on the upper dial remains unaffected.
The RM 19-02 Tourbillon Fleur movement has a baseplate and bridges constructed from Grade 5 titanium. Turning the piece over reveals its plain yet beautiful architecture. Running at a frequency of 21,600 vph it boasts a Glucydur balance, in-built kif shock absorption and a Nivarox balance spring. An efficient winding system which uses a Richard Mille barrel pawl system ensures efficient winding and a fool-proof crown torque mechanism prevents overwinding.
The tonneau case is no less complex than the mechanics. At 45.4mm x 38.3mm x 12.55mm it is generous, but cleverly designed to curve to fit even a dainty wrist. Statistics are important at Richard Mille, and rightly so. With considerable investment in research and development they have got watchmaking down to a precise and exacting series of processes, each of which demands perfection. For this model 250 individual milling operations are needed to produce the case and that’s without finishing – this requires a full day during which the grinding, glazing and polishing is achieved. For those who may choose to wear the Tourbillon Fleur while bathing (please don’t) two Nitril D-ring seals ensure water resistance to 50m.
As you may have noticed the RM 19-02 Tourbillon Fleur has been given a liberal coating of diamonds on its bezel, case-sides and dial – whereas other brands would promote the weight/size/number etc. of precious stones used strangely there is no mention of them so far, but then Richard Mille prefer to mention weight-saving alloys, optimization and abrasion resistant washers ….. not diamonds.
Richard Mille RM 19-02 Tourbillon Fleur will be a limited edition of 30 pieces.