As the iterations in Richard Mille’s groundbreaking RM 037 timepiece collection for women continue to grow, we look back on some of its most successful models to date.
When the RM037 model was first launched – back in 2014, which Richard Mille announced as the ‘Year of the Woman’ – the objective this Swiss watchmaker set for itself was to craft a technically and aesthetically spectacular timepiece, with an equally exceptional finish. To achieve this stylistic synthesis, the brand drew upon the vast wealth of experience it has accrued since its inception.
Over time, the series grew to become an exceedingly popular core collection of ladies’ timepieces, which includes the RM 037 Carbon TPT® Gem-Set, the stunning RM 037 White Gold with Snow Setting, and the RM 037 White Ceramic Automatic (also available in Black Ceramic). These fully feminine interpretations of the original unisex RM 037 fully embody the beauty and elegance of design that has made Richard Mille such a leading name in the world of high-end horology.
While their unique finishes set them apart from one another, these new timepieces all feature such key attributes as a skeletonised movement baseplate with bridges in black PVD treated grade 5 titanium, and a large date at 12 o’clock created from two skeletonised, rotating discs. Another specialised feature involves the two pushers – which resemble delicate drops of water – with one placed between 10 and 11 o’clock for date adjustment, and the other between 4 and 5 o’clock for function selector (toggling between the Winding, Neutral or Handsetting [W-N-H] mode).
Gazing deeper into the watch’s innerworkings reveals CRMA1, the first in-house designed calibre, which combines satinated surfaces with chamfered, blasted, brushed and polished areas – including rare black polishing – in order to make every detail of the movement a visual treat. The integrity of the movement, meanwhile, is fully protected from external influences thanks to a unique crown system that is impossible to dislodge. Add to that a special profile for the teeth of the wheels in the going train, a free sprung balance, and variable rotor geometry, and you begin to get a sense of the level of technical innovation Richard Mille strives for.
Of course, all that inner beauty is wonderful, but it’s safe to say that the outer beauty is what ultimately connects the watch to the wearer. For the woman seeking a fusion of purity and warmth, the RM 037 White Ceramic Automatic brings together – for the very first time – white ceramic, mother-of-pearl, and white gold. Creating the matte finish, hypo-allergenic, white ATZ ceramic bezel and caseback involves a lengthy, delicate machining and diamond grinding process, involving aluminium oxide powder tubes injected at a pressure of 2,000 bar. This increases the material’s rigidity by 20 to 30 percent, reduces the porosity to an absolute minimum, and results in one of the hardest materials in the world after diamond; remarkably resistant to scratches, shocks and abrasion.
The appearance is further heightened by the tonneau-shaped case, which highlights the warm shine on the highly polished rim, while the pillars – which are also polished – accentuate the glamourous gleam of the satin white gold caseband. Completing the picture is the use of mother-of-pearl and diamonds to beautifully embellish the dial.
The lustrous RM 037 in White Gold with Snow Setting is a similarly head-turning timepiece. Employing a technique known as “snow setting”, the stones – of differing sizes – are positioned side by side, utterly blanketing the surface material while remaining firmly held in place by slender prongs drawn out by the skilled gem-setter. The challenge here lies in the precise selection and arrangement of stones, where the diameters vary from 0.5 to 1.6 millimetres. Each gemstone must fit snugly together, sometimes to within microns, all while maintaining the illusion of a random pattern (and it’s these random patterns that make each setting utterly unique).
This white gold, snow set timepiece further dazzles with a pavé of diamonds on the bezel which, in turn, is continued across the entire dial. Both the gem-set caseband pillars and open-link bracelet complete this breathtaking bauble, which sparkles effortlessly; catching the light in dancing reflections like the random flashes of snowflakes in the sun.
In a different, and slightly darker vein, the RM 037 Carbon TPT® Gem-Set model makes use of thin-ply carbon – a signature feature of the Richard Mille men’s collection. Here, however, the material reveals its feminine side when combined with expert gem-setting. With the slightest wrist movement, the wearer will have all eyes upon her; spellbound by the striking contrast between the sparkle of clear diamonds and the matte carbon contour that adorns this captivating timepiece.
Setting gemstones in Carbon TPT® is yet another new adventure for the creative team at Richard Mille. Whereas gold can be worked directly with tools to create the prongs that will hold the diamonds, the hardness and resistance of Carbon TPT® requires special CNC machines for milling – equipped with diamond tools – to perform the mitraillage involved in a pavé setting. Here, hand-polished prongs, in red or white gold, are produced separately and then inserted around the 0.25mm bearings designed to receive as many as 250 diamonds (as is the case with the RM 037 Full Set model).
The perfectly flush surface of each final creation underscores the watchmaker’s absolute mastery of this painstaking art. Combine that with the in-house calibre, a case adorned with diamonds and Carbon TPT® – both immutable materials – and what you end up with is a timepiece as dynamic as the lady who sports it.
To find out more, visit richardmille.com.