Richard Mille is no stranger to the world of motorsports. Its countless partnerships with F1 and rally drivers, the Le Mans Classic 24 Hours race, the Chantilly Arts & Elegance event, and as of 2016, McLaren, show a deep bond between the brand and the racing world. This should come as no surprise given how eponymous founder Richard Mille himself is a petrol head with an enviable collection of old race cars.
Barely a year since the consecration of Richard Mille and McLaren’s 10-year partnership, both brands have come together to create a new record and a world debut in watchmaking: The RM 50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Ultralight McLaren F1 is currently the lightest mechanical chronograph of its kind in the market, weighing in at a mere 38g, inclusive of its strap.
Its feather-light weight is largely credited to its case and strap that is made of Graph TPT (Thin Ply Technology), a TPT carbon that includes a nanomaterial called graphene, an extremely tough composite reputed to be six times lighter than steel and 200 times more resistant. Graphene was developed by researchers at the National Graphene Institute (at the University of Manchester). It was also validated and tested by the engineers at McLaren Applied Technologies and used by Richard Mille for the first time, in a wristwatch.
The ultra-light skeletonised RM 50-03 calibre on its own weighs a mere 7g thanks to its titanium and TPT carbon baseplate and bridges. It features a tourbillon, a new chronograph split-seconds system (redesigned to reduce friction and manage energy consumption more efficiently), a torque indicator and a function indicator. Despite its lightness, it has been tested to withstand shocks of up to 5,000g thanks to its movement construction, which is similar to the RM 027’s suspension cables system. There are only 75 pieces available worldwide.
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