Watches made by Richard Mille are usually bold, extremely technical, rather large and not really discreet. Nothing wrong in that… That’s also part of the pleasure. Except a few watches, like the RM 033 we reviewed a few weeks ago, we can’t really add the word elegant and dress next to Richard Mille watches. And this is especially the case when it comes to tonneau-shaped watches, a style that made the brand so easily recognizable. For the SIHH 2016, the brand decided to change that, with the Richard Mille RM 67-01 Automatic, their first Extra-Flat and elegant watch with the iconic RM shape. Will it meet our expectations? Let’s find out.
When we first talked about the Richard Mille RM 67-01, in our pre-SIHH 2016 article, we were rather impressed and pleased. Then again, we have nothing against the sporty and large watches of the brand, like the RM11-01 Chronograph or the RM 61-01 Yohan Blake Limited Edition, mainly because, their size apart, these watches (and the rest of the tonneau-shaped watches of Richard Mille) are all extremely comfortable on the wrist and very unique in their design. It’s just that, sometimes, you could probably enjoy this same style in a more refined way, with something less visible on the wrist, a watch that could potentially be worn together with a suit – or just in the cases you want to have a smaller and slimmer watch on the wrist. This is the main objective of this Richard Mille RM 67-01 Automatic Extra Flat: mixing the iconic shape of Richard Mille with a slim profile – and this was not easy to achieve considering the curved faces of the watch.
A solution could have been to imagine the movement following the curves of the case. Well, interesting idea… but not a simple idea. This would have meant curved plates and bridges, slightly conical gears, a barrel positioned on a different horizon than the rest of the movement, domed hands… and this is an automatic movement, meaning that even the rotor should have been domed. Yes, we’d love to see Richard Mille creating such a watch but clearly, this would lead to a very complicated and thus, expensive timepiece. The other solution could have been to implement the Calibre RMXP1 used in the Richard Mille RM033, with its micro-rotor and a thickness of 2.6mm. But, there’s an issue with this movement that measures 33mm in diameter: it’s round. A round movement in a tonneau watch intended to be slim would have been rather difficult. Thus, the watchmakers at Richard Mille created a specific movement for the Richard Mille RM 67-01, shaped like the case, the Calibre CRMA6.
The new Calibre CRMA6 is a flat movement, in all ways. Yes, it’s flat because, even with a central rotor, it measures on 3.6mm height, which if not extremely flat compared to several other movements, it remains impressive considering the central rotor. Then, it is also flat in its shape. It isn’t curved. And this point will influence the shape of the watch – more on that later. The movement itself isn’t round but it follows the lines of the case and also shows a tonneau-shape, something that is both visually pleasant but also technically interesting, in order to shape the entire watch around this movement. In the tradition of RM watches, the movement of the Richard Mille RM 67-01 Automatic Extra Flat is skeletonized and features a modern but high-end execution.
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. It is assembled with spline screws in titanium. As you can see on this close-up photo, parts are all painstakingly finished, with straight brushing, chamfers on the wheel spoked, diamond polished parts or burnished pivots. All the bridges are opened to reveal the technical elements, such as the opened barrel, the gear train to the escapement. The movement ticks at 28.800 vibrations per hours and boasts 50 hours of power reserve.
Again, like most of the RM watches, the movement is also visible thought the sapphire crystal dial, as the main-plate is opened. On this Richard Mille RM 67-01, the skeletonized plate, on top of which are applied indexes, is showing straight lines, graphic shapes for a rather architectural result. 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. The hands (take a closer look to see the details of these hands) are showing the actual pointy and beveled shape of all the elegant RM watches. Finally, the Richard Mille RM 67-01 remains simple, as it only displays the time (hours and minutes), a date in a dedicated window at 5 and, recurring feature at RM, the crown position indicator (W for winding – D for Date – H for hours).
Talking about shapes, the case of the Richard Mille RM 67-01 is both very Richard Mille and at the same time slightly different, especially when look from its profile. It measures measures 38.7mm x 47.52mm x 7.75mm. Thus it’s not only thin but also rather elongated. The reason for that is guided by the need of a flat watch, together with a movement that is plane. Thus, if you look closely, the central part of the caseback, where is encased the movement, is flat. The case only gets curved on the edges. This was also the case in the RM033 but we experienced a comfort that was not on par with the rest of the RM collection. Here, with reasonable dimensions, we can tell that once again, this Richard Mille RM 67-01 is a comfort masterpiece. It sits perfectly on the wrist and the caseback perfectly adjust to the wrist.
Several versions of the Richard Mille RM 67-01 will be available: titanium, white gold (the one presented here) and pink gold. This watch is clearly more versatile than the rest of the collection and can easily be imagined as a unisex watch (and don’t look at the white strap here. On a black strap, this edition will look much more masculine). Price for the titanium edition: 85,000 USD. More details on the dedicated page here www.richardmille.com/watch/rm-67-01.