When one is asked about a Richard Mille timepiece, the first thing springing to mind is its distinguishable tonneau-shaped case.
And although the case is produced in a variety of materials, ranging from titanium to gold and at times sumptuously decorated with gemstones, it is in Carbon TPT where it is considered the archetypal. Exclusive to the brand, Carbon TPT is central to the brand’s distinct characteristic; that being remarkably light yet robust, belying the case’s rather large dimension. Carbon TPT imbues the case with Jupiter-like streaks, which help make the timepiece a visual spectacle.
In an evolutionary step, in 2020, Richard Mille unveils Gold Carbon TPT. Melding carbon composite with gold leaf, the offspring of four years of development is a brand-new material boasting a unique lustre. A union of strength and nobility, Gold Carbon TPT has been chosen to clad the RM 07-01 and RM 037, thereby continuing Richard Mille’s own narrative of innovation and one that is woven especially for ladies.
The synthesis of Gold Carbon TPT demands years of know-how to perfect. In the past, Richard Mille amped up the luxe factor for Carbon TPT with gem setting. The brand even fashioned the carbon composite into the bracelet of a timepiece.
Case in point: To embed diamonds into Carbon TPT, CNC machines for milling equipped with diamond tools were called upon to perform the mitraillage involved in a pavé setting for the RM 07-01 and RM 037, which were launched in 2016. Hand-polished prongs in red or white gold had to be produced separately and then inserted into their cases to secure these diamonds. For the RM 07-01 Ladies in Carbon TPT which premiered in 2019, its Carbon TPT bracelet alone took 13 months to develop.
The familiarisation Richard Mille gained in working on Carbon TPT enabled the brand to manipulate the carbon composite as desired. To create Gold Carbon TPT and its Damascene pattern, Carbon TPT layers were compiled at a 45-degree angle, alternating with sheets of gold. It represents another forward leap for the brand in terms of technical capabilities. Gold Carbon TPT departs significantly from existing adaptations of gold such as 18K yellow gold. For ladies, it constitutes another approach to don a gold timepiece in a way that didn’t exist up until now and one that can only be procured from Richard Mille.
While the uniqueness of the RM 07-01 and RM 037 lies in their Gold Carbon TPT cases, their opulence extends beyond the case. Both are endowed with an onyx at its centremost and a dial set with black sapphires. Nonetheless, they differ in their aesthetics and movements.
The RM 07-01 houses the in-house calibre CRMA2, a skeletonised automatic movement providing approximately 50 hours of power reserve, while the RM 037 beats the in-house CRMA1 skeletonised automatic movement also equipped with around 50 hours of power reserve.
The CRMA2 is a smaller and slender movement, revealing more of its transparency which pierces through the timepiece. The CRMA1, on the other hand, is a fuller movement, showcasing its bridges in contrasting finishing techniques.
Function-wise, the RM 07-01 offers only two hands that tell hours and minutes, while the RM 037 continues with big dates and function settings. The latter is equipped with an extra pusher at the 4 o’clock position which determines the crown’s function: W for winding, N for neutral and H for hand setting. To effortlessly advance the date at the beginning of each month, there is a separate pusher located at the 10 o’clock position.
Still, at a cursory glance, they both appear largely similar to each other. The decision to choose one over another, if I may speculate, won’t be based on one’s aesthetic or size but will ultimate hinge on what it offers. As for me, I have always been partial to time-only novelties and two hands is all I need.