A highly complex sports timepiece, a masterpiece of technical prowess designed for everyday use and for any situation, such is the latest execution of Richard Mille’s tireless quest for innovation, the new Richard Mille RM 65-01 Automatic Split Seconds Chronograph.
The culmination of some five years of development, this automatic split-seconds chronograph is the most complex timepiece ever to leave the Richard Mille workshops. With production beyond the limited edition, it demonstrates true watchmaking greatness. This model fully embodies the brand’s technical approach thanks to the combination of several additional functions, a very specific architecture and an extremely high-end aesthetic. All in all, a fabulous challenge of mechanical watchmaking that called for patience, technicity and utter perseverance.
This chronograph honed for the 21st century has a high-frequency balance with variable inertia—5 Hz, or 36,000 vibrations per hour—developed for superior timekeeping accuracy over an extended period and precise stopwatch calculations to 1/10th of a second. It is every bit a genuine racing machine with a split-second hand to calculate intermediate times, a first for Richard Mille on an automatic movement.
Developed in partnership with Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, the integrated movement boasts unfailing consistency with its 6-column wheel architecture and vertical coupling. Like a mechanical brain, this castellated piece orchestrates the controls and can be seen through the base. A mechanical cathedral—standing on a grade 5 titanium chassis supported by grade 5 titanium bridges—it receives its energy from a fast-rotating barrel that maintains ideal torque for energy transmission for the full duration of its 60-hour power reserve. The barrel’s automatic winding also ensures the watch sustains optimal torque whilst worn on the wrist. This is further enhanced by the variable geometry of the calibre’s oscillating weight segment, which makes it possible to change the rotor’s inertia for improved winding yield depending on the more or less active profile of the person bearing the watch.
The chronograph was also subjected to a battery of merciless tests to demonstrate its capacity to function under any circumstances. These included everything from shock and drop simulations to accelerated 10-year ageing phases for all functions, by way of waterproof tests and magnetic field resistance trials.
But the Richard Mille teams did not stop there. No indeed, to this powerful, solid and infallible racing engine, mounted on a Carbon TPT® case as resistant as it is light, they added complications to boost the model’s ergonomics. In another milestone, Richard Mille developed its first in-house patented rapid-winding mechanism, activated by a pusher at 8 o’clock. In 125 presses, the barrel is fully wound, ready to time your next event. This highly practical function, described as ‘very playful’ by Richard Mille’s engineers, was particularly difficult to develop because of its high levels of torque transfer. During the ageing tests, the function was activated thousands of times.
The model was also enhanced with a new gearbox, taking the form of a function selector housed in the crown. This system makes it possible to switch between ‘traditional’ winding (W), semi-instantaneous date adjustment (D) or setting the time (H), all done simply by pressing the crown.
For a supremely legible dial, the RM 65-01 uses colour-coding to match watch functions with the pushers. Yellow is for time: hours, minutes, small seconds at 6 o’clock, whereas green refers to the date display. Orange identifies the chronograph’s sweep seconds hand as well as the 30-minute and 12-hour totalisers. Red is linked to the winding mechanism. To avoid all confusion, the split-seconds hand is blue. Here, function is what drives the aesthetical choices.
As for the case, its every surface boasts extremely elegant detailing. Sporting a Carbon TPT® bezel, caseband and caseback, it has a microblasted, polished and satin-finished grade 5 titanium crown, framed by the chronograph buttons, also in polished and satin-finished grade 5 titanium. The same material and finish are used for the plate engraved with RM 65-01 on the caseband. The rapid-winding pusher stands out with its red Quartz TPT® button.
Available in Carbon TPT®, Gold and Carbon TPT®, the RM 65-01 has over 600 components, further evidence of the immense technical expertise of the development teams. Embracing the brand’s ancestral codes whilst affirming its own identity, the RM 65-01 is set to take its place in the gallery of illustrious Richard Mille models with technicity at its heart.
Richard Mille RM 65-01 Automatic Split Seconds Chronograph Technical Specifications
Available in Carbon TPT®, Red Gold and Carbon TPT®.
CALIBRE RMAC4: Skeletonised automatic winding movement with hours, minutes, seconds at 6 o’clock, date, split-seconds chronograph with 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, 12-hour counter at 9 o’clock, function selector, rapid winding and variable-geometry rotor.
Case dimensions: 44.50 x 49.94 x 16.10 mm
Circa 60 hours (±10%) without chronograph running.
Actual power reserve results will depend on the period of time the chronograph is utilised.
BASEPLATE AND BRIDGES MADE OF GRADE 5 TITANIUM
The baseplate is grey electroplasma treated and the bridges are black PVD and grey electroplasma treated. Grade 5 titanium is a biocompatible, highly corrosion-resistant and remarkably rigid alloy, which enables the gear train to function effortlessly. The alloy is 90%grade 5 titanium, 6%aluminium and 4%vanadium. This combination further increases the material’s mechanical properties, which explains its frequent use in the aerospace, aeronautics and automotive industries. The baseplate of the RMAC4 calibre has been optimised for an extremely low weight/resistance ratio.
The skeletonised baseplate and the bridges were subjected to intensive and complete validation tests to optimise their resistance capacities.
The modern architecture of this movement enables for the consistent and rational arrangement of its constituent parts, avoiding unnecessary superimpositions and permitting the best possible use of the functions thanks to technical solutions.
The RMAC4 calibre is equipped with the latest-generation split-seconds mechanism developed by the engineers at Richard Mille. The new column wheel controls the different levers of the split seconds function and optimises the chronograph’s operation. The 6-column wheel ensures optimised simultaneous movement, maximal function locking, and greater adjustment durability.
The virtually complete elimination of initial jumping in the chronograph seconds hand and reduced energy consumption of these mechanics are the fruit of a great number of studies leading to the design and manufacture of dedicated gear wheels and levers.
SPLIT-SECONDS CHRONOGRAPH OPERATION
Start or stop the chronograph function via the pusher located at 2 o’clock. The hands are reset by pressing another pusher, located at 4 o’clock.
Split-seconds chronograph function
By pressing the pusher at 10 o’clock, you can stop the split-seconds hand to read an intermediate time while the chronograph is engaged.
Pressing the pusher again allows the split-seconds hand to rejoin the chronograph hand.
Split-seconds and second hands
These hands are located at the centre. The split-seconds hand has a blue arrow, while the seconds hand has a orange arrow. The tachymeter scale and minute counter are both on the upper flange, while the inner flange shows the 1/10th second scale.
While the chronograph function is activated, the minutes passed are indicated by the subdial at 3 o’clock.
The subdial located at 9 o’clock indicates the hours that have passed since the chronograph was started, up to a maximum of 12 hours.
It is constructed with a highly specialised gearbox design for Winding, Date and Hand Setting functions. To shift back and forth through these different functions, use the pusher located at the centre of the crown until the desired function is selected. The hand located at 4 o’clock will indicate W, D or H accordingly.
Semi-instantaneous, placed in a vertical aperture at 11 o’clock.
RAPID WINDING MECHANISM
The rapid winding mechanism was developed in addition to the automatic winding and winding with the crown.
It allows the barrel to be quickly rearmed in the event the watch stops. By pressing 125 times on the pusher at 8 o’clock, you allow the barrel to be fully reset. This function is ideal for quickly rearming the watch if not worn for a long time.
HIGH FREQUENCY BALANCE WITH VARIABLE INERTIA
Beating at 5Hz (36,000 vph), the fast-beating free-sprung balance offers better reliability in the event of shocks, movement assembly and disassembly, and also guarantees better chronometric results over an extended period of time, keeping a more accurate time. This new type of balance at Richard Mille can measure accurately to 1/10th of a second, ideal for a split-seconds chronograph watch under sporting conditions.
The regulator index is eliminated, and a more accurate and repeatable adjustment is possible thanks to 4 small, adjustable weights located directly on the balance.
The RM 65-01 uses a newly designed variable geometry to optimise the rotor’s winding motion.
• Central flange in grade 5 titanium
• Platinum weight segment
• Weight segment with 3 possible positions
• Brass wings
• Ceramic ball bearings
• Bidirectional winding system
This new and exclusive Richard Mille design makes it possible to effectively adapt rewinding of the mainspring to
the user’s activity level, in sporting or non-sporting environments.
By adjusting the 3-position weight, the rotor’s inertia is modified to either speed up the winding process in the case
of leisurely arm movements, or to slow it down during sporting activities. This invention allows the movement’s winding
mechanism to be optimised and personalised to the owner’s lifestyle.
FAST-ROTATING BARREL (6 HOURS PER REVOLUTION INSTEAD OF 7.5 HOURS)
This type of barrel provides the following advantages:
– The phenomenon of periodic internal mainspring adhesion is significantly diminished, thereby increasing performance.
– Provision of an excellent mainspring delta curve with an ideal power reserve/performance and regularity ratio.
SPLINE SCREWS IN GRADE 5 TITANIUM FOR THE BRIDGES AND CASE
This permits better control of the torque applied to the screws during assembly. These screws are unaffected by
physical manipulation during assembly or disassembly and age well.
– Movement dimensions: 31.78 x 29.98 mm
– Thickness: 8.69 mm
– Jewels: 51
– Balance: Glucydur®, 4 arms, moment of inertia 7.5 mg•cm2, angle of lift 53°
– Frequency: 36,000 vph (5 Hz)
– Balance spring: AK3
– Index assembly: Triovis n° 2
The design and execution of the watch demonstrates a highly conceptual holistic approach to the movement, case and dial. As a result, everything has been constructed according to extremely rigorous specifications, in the manner of the analytical engineering methods used in the design of Formula 1 racing cars, where the chassis and the engine are developed in complete harmony.
For example, a casing ring is no longer used, and the movement is mounted on chassis mounting rubbers (ISO SW) fixed by grade 5 titanium screws. Features such as these are evidence of uncompromising workmanship.
The tripartite case is water resistant to 50 metres, ensured by 2 Nitrile O-ring seals. The case is assembled with 20 spline screws in grade 5 titanium and abrasion-resistant washers in 316L stainless steel.
In microblasted, polished and satin finished grade 5 titanium with double seal O-ring and rubber collar.
In carbon fibre filled with an approved luminescent material.
In sapphire (thickness: 0.35 mm) with anti-glare treatment (both sides), protected by 8 silicon braces inserted in the
upper and lower grooves.
Counters in titanium.
In sapphire (1,800 Vickers) with anti-glare treatment (both sides).
Thickness: 1.50 mm
In sapphire with anti-glare treatment (both sides).
Thickness: 1.20 mm at the centre; outer edges 2.04 mm
– Baseplate and bridges in titanium, wet sandblasted, PVD and electroplasma treated
– Anglage and polishing by hand
– Hand-polished locking sections
– Burnished pivots
– Diamond-polished sinks
– Pinions with undercuts
– Sandblasted and rhodium-plated, bevelled wheels
– Sapphire-blasted surfaces
– Anglage and polishing by hand
– Screw slot and screws bevelled and polished with rounded and polished tip
– Concave chamfering with a diamond tool
– Circular-decorated faces
– Rhodium plating (before cutting the teeth)
– Minimal corrections applied to the wheels in order to preserve geometry and performance