Restyling is a crucial element in the lifecycle of any product. A watch has to possess vitality and be integrated within the natural stylistic development of a brand. A fixture of the Richard Mille collection since 2007, the RM 011 is taking its bows. Retiring at the height of its glory, it will make way for the new RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph.
The guiding principle for Richard Mille was to imbue the new automatic RMAC3 caliber with a 3-D quality and to bring its complexity to the fore visually. The glossy beveled rims marked with intermediate times surrounding the colored counters of the flyback chronograph and seconds window confer depth. This sense of volume is further accentuated by an upper bridge in satin-brushed grade 5 titanium that contrasts with the movement, also crafted of titanium but with a PVD coating. This creates a visual itinerary that sweeps around the annual calendar with its oversize date, as well as the 12-hour counter and countdown function of the flyback chronograph.
The maze continues on the back of the caliber with a satin-brushed PVD-treated lower bridge that highlights the double barrel mechanism and the modern lines of our new variable-geometry rotor in grade 5 titanium, inspired by the aerodynamic appendages seen in Formula 1. This technical solution, a Richard Mille exclusive, makes it possible to adjust automatic winding of the watch to the wearer’s activity level by varying the inertia of the rotor thanks to two micro-blasted and chamfered wings in 18-karat white gold. Offering six possible positions, the grade 5 satin-brushed and PVD-treated titanium rotor is mounted on ceramic ball bearings.
Performance is also showcased, thanks to the new RMAC3 automatic caliber. The entire flyback chronograph movement is designed for optimal rigidity, and high performance functioning of its gear trains thanks to the grade 5 titanium employed for the baseplate and bridges. Its two barrels, mounted side by side, ensure stable coupling while providing a power reserve of around 55 hours. The 4 Hz free sprung balance is highly resistant to shocks and can be tuned more precisely than a traditional balance wheel.
The three-part tonneau case has also been reworked by the designers, who have modernized its lines without denaturing the watch, lending it a sportier, more dynamic character. Skilled workmanship and protracted machining times scarcely to be believed are required to achieve the level of ergonomics and finishing—unique in the world of haute horlogerie—that this case exhibits. Chamfering and buffing the surfaces, which is completed entirely by hand, is a delicate and time-consuming task. This silhouette, which first appeared with the RM 27-01 Rafael Nadal, has become a distinguishing characteristic of all Richard Mille’s sports watches, differentiating them from lifestyle models while reinforcing their structural integrity.
Details recalling automobile racing abound in the RM 11-03. The grade 5 titanium crown borrows the design of competition wheel rims and tire treads. The grooved pushers, machined of the same material recall the surface of pedals, have covers made of another material as ubiquitous as titanium in Formula 1: NTPT carbon. As always with Richard Mille, the entire mechanism can be admired through anti-reflective coated sapphire glass that reveals the caliber. The case, available in rose or white gold and titanium, is held together by 20 grade 5 titanium spline screws.
The RM 11-03 Flyback Chronograph is in every sense a sports watch, proudly displaying the brand’s new aesthetic and heavily inspired by automotive history. The model was officially unveiled this month at the third edition of Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille.