Richard Mille: Pushing the boundaries of horological engineering

Richard Mille continues to push the boundaries of horological engineering with its range of high-performance in-house movements

The RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph. Photo: Richard Mille

Ever since the launch of the RM 001 Tourbillon in 2001, the Richard Mille name has been synonymous with innovation, artistry and sophistication. This extends to the brand’s creation of several unique in-house movements over the past decade, all of which are fully designed, crafted and assembled at its Les Breuleux facilities in the Swiss canton of Jura.

Each new Richard Mille model and movement is the work of a passionate R&D team that constantly challenges the well-established principles of watchmaking. Their creative approach to fine mechanics combined with a burning desire to innovate has resulted in wildly complex horological components that maintain the performance of the movements while respecting the pared-down aesthetics that characterise the brand.

To date, Richard Mille has created 12 in-house models with three main movements: the automatic, automatic tourbillon and automatic flyback chronograph. The first in-house automatic movement, CRMA1, was created from skeletonised grade 5 titanium for the RM 037 Unisex Automatic. The 2012 model is fitted with a patented stem-crown mechanism to prevent damage to the movement in the case of a sharp knock to the crown and features a power reserve of 50 hours, a rotor with variable geometry, a free-sprung balance with variable inertia and the extensive use of spline screws throughout the movement.

Also see: Richard Mille: Meeting of the minds in support of the Paris Brain Institute

The RM 71-01 Automatic Tourbillon Talisman, released in 2018, was the first Richard Mille model to feature an in-house automatic tourbillon movement. The CRMT1 was followed by two new versions: the RM 74-01 (CRMT5) and RM 74-02 (CRMT6) In-House Automatic Tourbillons in 2021. Equally striking with the same ultra-skeletonised heart, the two models are distinguished by their case materials and aesthetics. The RM 74-01 features grey Cermet while the RM 74-02 uses Gold Carbon TPT, both exclusive to Richard Mille in watchmaking, with svelte lines showcasing their respective tourbillon movements at 6 o’clock.

The movements themselves have a regulator equipped with a free-sprung balance with variable inertia with four adjustable weights – the variable-geometry rotor with ceramic ball bearings ensures bidirectional winding that adapts to the wearer – as well as a wheel train that has been optimised to ensure energy transmission through a fast-rotating barrel providing better torque over time.

The brand’s facilities in Les Breuleux. Photo: Richard Mille

The first in-house automatic flyback chronograph movement was entirely developed and designed by the brand, meanwhile, took pride in place in 2020’s RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph. A blend of Haute Horlogerie, dance and music, the CRMC1 required 425 different components and no less than 30 months of full-time work on the part of a dedicated team.

Its mechanism presents a unique, patented design that incorporates a double-clutch system with oscillating pinions mounted on rockers. Thanks to their compact proportions, these pinions reduce the space taken up by the chronograph within the movement while optimising reliability, durability and the solidity of its architecture.

As with each new Richard Mille creation, the CRMC1 is a world unto itself – singular yet timeless, innovative and performance-driven.

Also see: Two steps forward with Richard Mille’s new RM 74-01 and RM 74-02

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