The crowning achievement after at least 30 months spent in research and development by a dedicated team, Richard Mille now has an in-house flyback chronograph. The RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph is a significant milestone in the brand’s short but eventful history.
Richard Mille has always had exclusive materials, patented mechanisms in its arsenal. The likes of RM 11-05 Automatic Flyback Chronograph GMT, whose grey Cermet case front could make Marilyn Monroe blush thanks to its 2,360 Vickers hardness, 40 Vickers short of diamonds’, demonstrate that Richard Mille pours as much cutting edge into its watches worthy of the zeros behind their price tags. The euphony of a metallic zirconium matrix with high-performance ceramic inserts, Cermet combines the lightness of titanium and the hardness of diamonds. To produce it suitably as a watch case front took Richard Mille and the IMI Group a lengthy period to perfect.
It nonetheless wasn’t convincing enough for some detractors who can’t look past the connotation of using externally sourced movements, despite them being sourced from the very respectable Vaucher.
In that spirit, the RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph delivers a game-changing shush, bringing forth a chronograph with a pragmatic flyback complication to boot springing entirely from its own savoir-faire and self-initiated effort.
For those who adore Richard Mille, inventiveness accompanying a new watch release is an expected obligation. The in-house CRMC1 movement powering the RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph predictably comes with its own set of ingenuity, distinguishing it from other flyback chronograph movements. Its composition is unusual, even in the already atypical Richard Mille fashion.
As if to emphasise on three, this flyback chronograph boasts an asymmetrical set of hour markers, showing off 3, 8 and 11 o’clock, instead of omitting 3, 6 and 9 o’clock customary of many Richard Mille’s chronographs. It is necessitated by the trio of offbeat subdials at the 1, 5 and 9 o’clock positions. Quite eye-catching and imparting a sense of joie de vivre, the subdials are wreathed with timescales and equipped with bright hands, with blue for seconds, orange for minutes, green for hours. It is punctuated by a vertical date aperture at 7 o’clock and a tiny function indicator at 3 o’clock, guiding the various functions of the crown. W is to wind manually, D is for date adjustment and H is to set hands.
Torque is harnessed directly from the barrel to supply the chronograph’s three counters. To ensure smoothness and efficiency, the display and the connection to the minutes and hours are disengaged from the flyback chronograph’s seconds wheel. Energy is transmitted to the chronograph train by a coupling system consisting of two oscillating pinions mounted on rockers. These rockers are activated by a six-column wheel, which optimises the simultaneousness of chronograph actions. Thanks to the incorporation of a double oscillating pinion mechanism developed by Richard Mille, the chronograph function has little impact on the overall 50-hour power reserve. Driven by a platinum rotor, the 4Hz movement can be admired through the transparent case back.
A technical triumph, Richard Mille has filed a patent application for the double-clutch chronograph. The advantage is that it is thinner than the conventional vertical clutch, allowing this system to be better fit into Richard Mille’s maiden in-house flyback chronograph movement.
According to Salvador Arbona, technical director for movements, this pinion, which can enmesh or withdraw from the gear teeth, has been twinned, thus there is now one for minutes and another for seconds. The CRMC1 automatic movement is relatively slim despite the 425-piece architecture, measuring 6.05mm thick. As a result, the RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph is impressively slim amongst flyback chronographs at 11.68mm thick.
The flyback chronograph is available in four different variants in a 38.4mm x 47.34mm tripartite case: 5N red gold, titanium and black or white ceramic. For each version, the pushers are in black TZP ceramic and 5N red gold. The intricate construction is synonymous with the brand. With the dial, baseplate and bridges crafted from grade 5 titanium, as well as a carbon fibre flange, the RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph remains very light for what it is and especially so for the titanium-sheathed example.
It is of no surprise then that to unveil the watch, Richard Mille partners with choreographer Benjamin Millepied and composer Thomas Roussel to thoroughly express the watch’s artistic, technical values. It is an ambitious undertaking by the brand, evincing its appetite for greater exploits ahead. The RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph is an hors d’oeuvre to whet your appetite.