The need for speed: Richard Mille introduces its McLaren Speedtail watch

Photo: Richard Mille

If you managed to place an order for the McLaren Speedtail, then count yourself lucky. While it might set you back around US$2.3 million in change, this is the price you need to pay to own one of the 106 units of the fastest production cars ever produced by the gearheads at Woking.

But if you missed out, here’s the next best thing: Richard Mille has just announced the RM 40-01 Automatic Tourbillon McLaren Speedtail. While it may not set you back as much as the futuristic hypercar, you’ll get a hyperwatch that’s inspired in every way by the Speedtail. It’s the perfect accompaniment when you’re onboard the 3-seat grand tourer and racing at over 400 km/h or simply want to make a big and brash statement.

Photo: Richard Mille

“With the Speedtail, we set out to produce a car that had an artistic quality to it. That has certainly come through in the watch, which beautifully mirrors the many various details of the Speedtail in its finish, materials and its uncompromising design,” said Rob Melville, Design Director at McLaren Automotive. 

The similarities between the RM 40-01 and the Speedtail starts with its distinct form. Just as the car is based on a water droplet for its aerodynamic properties, the timepiece mimics it with a case that’s wider at 12 o’clock and tapers off at 6 o’clock, and more between the bezel and case back. This complex marvel of engineering combined the use of titanium and Carbon TPT materials, and took the design team at Les Breuleux 18 months to perfect.

Photo: Richard Mille

“As well as taking inspiration from the teardrop shape of the Speedtail, we also faced the challenge of seamlessly combining existing Richard Mille cues with those of McLaren,” said Juilen Boillat, Technical Director of Richard Mille’s casing department. The results are bezel indentations that evoke the bonnet openings and pushers that recall the air outlets behind the front wheels.

Powering the RM 40-01 is the CRMT4 automatic winding tourbillon movement that beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour and offers 50 hour power reserve. It also features a power reserve display at 9 o’clock – and along with the oversize date and function selector complications – are firsts for a Richard Mille in-house tourbillon. Further continuing its connection to the Speedtail, the platinum and red gold winding rotor takes its inspiration from the car’s bonnets, while the barrel-setting from its roof line. 

Protecting the movement is a specially-designed upper crystal glass with “triple contour” to accommodate the decreasing taper and thickness of the bezel. Even the strap is a feat of engineering with the iconic orange McLaren stripe at 6 o’clock extending all the way out to the wrist by using a special process developed by rubber specialists Biwi SA. And if ever there was any doubt with the heritage of this piece, the McLaren logo can be found on the crown just for good measure.

Photo: Richard Mille

With all the innovations packed in by Richard Mille and the numerous nods to McLaren, the RM 40-01 is unmistakably a racing car on your wrist. And one final tip of the hat to the Speedtail, only 106 units of this timepiece will ever be made.

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