Richard Mille: The thinnest watch in the world

Richard Mille and Ferrari accomplish the previously unthinkable with RM UP-01, the thinnest watch in the world

There are slim watches, thin watches and ultra-flat watches. And then there is the RM UP-01, which at just 1.75mm is the king of ultra-flat watches as the thinnest watch in the world. The first timepiece born of the partnership between Richard Mille and Ferrari – two exceptional brands that joined forces in 2021 – is the result of many years of work, dozens of prototypes and more than 6,000 hours of development and laboratory testing.

While it represents a break from Richard Mille’s established stylistic codes, the RM UP-01 remains faithful to the brand’s identity and spirit. It also exemplifies the Swiss watchmaker’s and Italian luxury sports car manufacturer’s shared quest for perfection and commitment to excellence in craftsmanship.

In developing the RM UP-01, Richard Mille was determined to retain a traditional architecture in which the movement is assembled within the case, rather than a construction in which the caseback doubles as a baseplate to minimise the thickness, in order to ensure total shock resistance under any circumstances.

“For such a project, it was necessary to set aside all the knowledge we had amassed over years of practice, and every conceivable standard of watchmaking,” explains Julien Boillat, technical director for cases at Richard Mille. “Shaving off those last millimetres of depth was an extremely demanding and lengthy process.”

Now completed, however, the RM UP-01 manual- winding movement with hours, minutes and function selector measures a thickness of 1.18 millimetres, a weight of 2.82 grams, and a power reserve of 45 hours. It is also capable of withstanding accelerations of more than 5,000 g’s, compared to the highest horizontal g-force ever survived by a human being of 214 g’s and a Sprint missile’s acceleration of about 100 g’s.

“Even in the realm of extreme flatness, we were determined to make a watch that met the same validation requirements as all our other models. In this quest for absolute flatness, we had to offer a watch that, far from being a ‘concept watch’, was up to the task of following a user’s daily life, whatever the circumstances,” says Salvador

Arbona, technical director for movements at Richard Mille. To ensure optimal functioning of the going train, the baseplate and skeletonised bridges are crafted of grade 5 titanium, guaranteeing perfect flatness without compromising strength. The case, which is water resistant to 10 metres, is also crafted entirely from grade 5 titanium due to the advantages it offers in combining lightness and laboratory-tested resistance.

The alloy of titanium reinforced with 6 percent of aluminium and 4 percent of vanadium has much higher hardness, stronger tensile strength and a higher yield point than pure titanium, which is already the strongest metal by weight. It was used on Richard Mille’s first model, the RM 001 released in 2001.

Combining innovation with performance, strength and aesthetics, the RM UP-01 is being issued in a limited edition of 150 timepieces.

Also see: Richard Mille: Revving her engines

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