Richard Mille has developed a new kind of watch. The RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph seeks to embody the watchmaker’s unrivalled know-how while making an indelible mark on its era as a work of art. Benjamin Millepied and Thomas Roussel, two modern hybrid artists, are leading the project W I T H I N, both technically and artistically.
W I T H I N – At the heart of creativity
Every new creation is a world unto itself. A wholly new space born of a play between spirit and sensation. Singular yet timeless, innovative and performance-driven, the RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph is poised at the intersection between Haute Horlogerie, dance and music. Movement is all. Movement of time, of bodies, of notes.
The latest ‘face’ of Richard Mille — the ultimate metronome of emotion—is a work in which technicity serves and drives elegance. It’s also an in-house creation, featuring the first flyback chronograph entirely developed and designed by the brand. An achievement crowning no less than 30 months of full-time work on the part of a dedicated team.
The new RM 72-01 keeps time, three beats to a measure, a rhythm emphasising three numbers: three, eight and eleven. Three beats for the three counters that immediately capture every eye. The hands dance in stylised harmony within their three respective timescales (blue for seconds, orange for minutes, green for hours), orchestrated by a six-column wheel.
The transfers from minutes to hours have been isolated from the seconds wheel in this flyback chronograph which incorporates a double oscillating pinion mechanism developed and patented by Richard Mille. The brand has submitted a patent application for its double-clutch chronograph. ‘This pinion, which can enmesh or withdraw from the gear teeth, has been twinned. There’s now one for the minutes and another for seconds. This system is thinner than a vertical clutch, which would be hard to fit into the heart of the movement,’ explains Salvador Arbona, Technical Director for Movements. As a result, the chronograph function has little impact on the power reserve. The Calibre CRMC1 thus remains quite slim, at just 6.05 mm thick, despite comprising 425 different components.
Equipped with 24-hour and 60-minute counters positioned at 5 o’clock and 2 o’clock respectively, it proves that a chronograph need not be limited to timing only short periods. This mechanism was entirely imagined, manufactured and assembled in Les Breuleux, at the brand’s facilities. Its sublime precision can be viewed through its openwork caseback, a hallmark of the Richard Mille brand.
This model is available in four different combinations—5N red gold, titanium and black or white ceramic. It features an automatic winding movement, with a 50-hour power reserve irrespective of how much the chronograph is activated. It is a strikingly architectural watch offering true ease of use. Embodying pure mechanics and hand finishing, it is designed for everyday use.
It was evident that renowned artists such as choreographer Benjamin Millepied and composer Thomas Roussel would be needed to fully express in technical and artistic terms, the tremendous ambitions of this project. Like Richard Mille, both of these hybrid creators have built their oeuvre, W I T H I N, on a resolutely singular vision and an obsession with perfect timing and harmonious movement.
Be it in the realm of ballet or symphonic orchestra, Benjamin Millepied and Thomas Roussel both rely on a wealth of heritage and tradition to shape modern visions of their respective arts. They fashion singular works that powerfully combine the quintessence of their disciplines and their contemporary sensibilities. And it is precisely this hybrid synthesis of science and emotion that prompted them to embrace the watchmaking brand’s new project.
For their a work titled W I T H I N, Benjamin Millepied took place behind the camera this time, at the Joshua Tree, in the heart of sand and stone. This stark mineral environment exalts the nobility and beauty of the materials Richard Mille employs for its watches. Amidst this sublime decor, the dancers unfurl a choreography of cyclical parallels that sifts and winnows the seconds, clothing time and space with intense vitality and energy.
This mysterious setting, in which humanity appears to reconnect with our origins, was a perfect source of inspiration for Thomas Roussel. After sampling the watch’s chronometrice function, the compositor built a tempo around it, a musical rhythm anchored in the raw energy and abandon of the dancers. Around a whirlwind of vitality, he weaves a music redolent of origins, repetitive and mysterious. The composition was recorded by the fifty musicians of the prestigious London Symphony Orchestra in the studio at St. Luke’s church in London.
The RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph encapsulates the original movement.
Benjamin Millepied and Thomas Roussel – revisit space/time
Time is not just a technical concern. It’s also the loom on which great art is created. The accelerations, repetitions and breath-like motions of clocks constitute the pulse of living, dancing and sonorous artworks, the underlying rhythms of our life force. Richard Mille has embraced this vision of time to create a hybrid watch, a point where art and technology meet.
With its curves, warm colours and studied scaling, the RM 72-01 is in equal measure a high-technology device and a metronome of emotion. The latest timepiece from Richard Mille’s workshops is designed for people who believe that performance should not be achieved at the expense of feeling, and that even the best technology must meet the imperatives of elegance.
‘Piece by piece,
I’m constantly working
to perfect the art of choreography. This relationship
to accuracy is something
I share with fine watchmaking.’
Only renowned artists could embrace such an ambitious project. Like Richard Mille, choreographer Benjamin Millepied and composer Thomas Roussel create works imbued with a unique power of imagination and an obsession with perfection.
In the tradition of great jewellers, their determination to achieve perfect balance and harmony in movement acts as a guide in their creative process. Every day, they are prepared to repeat the same movement a hundred times to produce the perfect gesture. ‘I fully appreciate the ascetic craftsmanship of Richard Mille’s work. I too like to think of myself and my dancers as craftsmen,’ explains Benjamin Millepied, choreographer, creator of the ballets for the film Black Swan, and former head of the Paris Opera, as well as founder of the L.A. Dance Project. Unsurprisingly, his comment rang true among the teams at Richard Mille.
And, like Richard Mille, Thomas Roussel and Benjamin Millepied have no qualms about using the latest technology in their creations, with technicity deployed as a means of transcending their discipline. In ballet and orchestral music respectively, Benjamin Millepied and Thomas Roussel both draw on heritage and tradition to bring their art to life in resolutely modern ways. They craft unique works that combine the quintessence of their discipline and their own, contemporary sensibilities. It’s this hybrid synthesis of science and human emotion that led them, almost logically, to become involved with this new project from the watchmaking House.
Watchmaking and art
To the herald the new star in the Richard Mille firmament, the RM 72-01, the two artists decided to create a new and singular work, swiftly converging on the medium of film, W I T H I N. Benjamin Millepied stepped behind the camera for the occasion, and chose to shoot in the middle of the Joshua Tree desert, surrounded by the arid terrain of rocks and sand. ‘This project called for an endless landscape, out of time,’ explains Millepied. And indeed, the stark mineral environment exalts the nobility and beauty of the materials favoured by Richard Mille.
At the heart of a landscape fashioned by time and space, evocative of humanity’s earliest origins, Benjamin Millepied induces an expression of raw human energy. Each in turn, a female and a male dancer, respond to one another, unleashing their natural vitality via an unstructured and organic pas-de-deux. In the style of Terrence Malick, whose influence is palpable, the choreographer has superbly caught the couple’s spontaneous, instinctive movements. ‘I enjoyed filming such primal energy in a landscape like that. In order to capture something more alive, more real, more sincere, I purposefully gave them tremendous freedom.‘
‘Like orchestral music, Haute Horlogerie feeds on its own traditions,
respecting very strict and precise rules.
Based on this guidance, it is
up to us to break down
the codes and offer works that are singular.’
Metaphysics and watchmaking
This sublime environment proved inspirational for Thomas Roussel. And no surprise, the composer has for many years been fascinated by the metaphysical questions. In his 2015 opus, Prequell, for example, he set gravitational waves to music as a sign of the distortion of time. ‘Because the Richard Mille film project drew on space/time, I was drawn to it immediately. I created music where time dilates and duplicates itself, to fit the production. Inspiration is born of emotion’ explains Roussel. Starting from a sample from the watch’s stopwatch function, the composer then injects a tempo, a musical rhythm that matches the raw, unbridled energy of the dancers. Around a tourbillon of vitality, Thomas Roussel weaves a repetitive and mysterious primordial music. The percussion keeps the beat as though counting seconds. As a return to our roots, this joint work takes us back in time, to when the core elements of earth, stone and water served as the cradle of humanity. To fix this special piece in time, the composition was performed by the 50 musicians of the prestigious London Symphony Orchestra in a truly intimate and time-honoured setting, the recording studio at St. Luke’s Church in London. In its own way, the RM 72-01 itself embodies the primordial pulse of movement, this fusion of human bodies, sounds and time.
The elegance of the RM 72-01 is also reflected in the technological prowess involved in creating it. Signalling the start of a new era, the RM 72-01 is the first watch in the history of Richard Mille to be equipped with a flyback chronograph that is end-to-end in-house. Drawing on a double clutch system with oscillating pinions patented by the brand, the chronograph makes this latest timepiece a truly exceptional object. The RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph reimagines tisets its own tempo, imposes its own rhythm and makes an indelible mark on its era.
In-house patented flyback chronograph – A unique design
The mechanism of the new RM 72-01 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. This same movement has undergone numerous certification tests to confirm its reliability, its durability (accelerated five- and ten-year ageing simulations) and the solidity of its architecture (resistance tests with various impact intensities).
In a traditional chronograph (figure 1), with a horizontal coupling clutch, torque is transferred to the chronograph seconds (in green) by the movement’s seconds wheel (in red) by means of a coupling clutch (in yellow). The chronograph seconds then drives the minute counters (figure 2) through a multiplying gear train. Yet the seconds has the least energy of all the movement’s components and any disturbances affecting it will also impact the watch’s rate, the power reserve and the operation of the various other mechanisms.
Operation of the oscillating pinion
The new flyback chronograph architecture breaks ground by splitting the torque between the chronograph’s various counters. The display and the connection to the minutes are disengaged from the chronograph’s seconds wheel. The seconds and minute wheels of the movement (A) thereby permanently interlock with the lower teeth of the two oscillating pinions (B). However, when the rockers are moved, their upper teeth (C), which link to the chronograph’s seconds and minute wheels (D), engage or disengage depending on whether the chronograph is activated or stopped (E).
This invention represents a major advancement in the calculation of durations. The disassociation of the chronograph function from the daily time counter does not affect the rate of the base movement in any way when the chronograph is engaged. Whether the chronograph is activated or not, the power reserve remains virtually unchanged. Controlling the start, stop, flyback and reset functions in particular, these rockers are activated by a six-column wheel, the geometry of which optimises the simultaneousness of actions and the proper latching of functions, whilst guaranteeing the longevity of the settings.
Comprised of a stem and two toothed wheels, the two oscillating pinions replace the large wheels normally found in traditional chronographs. Their upper teeth link to the seconds wheel (right-hand pinion) and minute wheel (left-hand pinion) of the chronograph.
Gear train of the chronograph minute counter
This new chronograph configuration limits the torque transferred from the base movement through the chronograph seconds. By separating the other counters from the chronograph seconds, the use of two oscillating pinions breaks this classic kinetic chain. There is a distinct advantage to transferring the torque directly from the barrel to the minute and hour counters as this energy is received at the source and is much greater. The performance of the movement as a whole is optimised as a result.
Richard Mille RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph Technical Specifications
IN-HOUSE CALIBRE CRMC1: skeletonised movement with automatic bidirectional winding and hours, minutes, small seconds, date, flyback chronograph, function indicator and stop seconds.
Case dimensions: 38.40 x 47.34 x 11.68 mm.
Circa 50 hours (±10%)
BASEPLATE AND BRIDGES IN GRADE 5 TITANIUM
The baseplate and the bridges are crafted in grade 5 titanium, a biocompatible, highly corrosion-resistant and remarkably rigid alloy, ensuring the gear train functions smoothly. The alloy is 90% titanium, 6% aluminium and 4% vanadium. The use of micro-blasted grade 5 titanium in combination with a grey electroplasma treatment confers great rigidity on the entire assembly and gives rigorously even surfaces. This combination enhances the alloy’s mechanical properties, which explains its frequent use in the aerospace, aeronautics and automotive industries.
The skeletonised baseplate and the bridges were subjected to long and exacting validation tests to ensure they meet the most rigorous standards applied to resistance and ageing.
Semi-instantaneous and displayed in a vertical aperture at 7 o’clock.
FLYBACK CHRONOGRAPH WITH OSCILLATING PINIONS (PATENTED MECHANISM)
This new type of flyback chronograph, patented by Richard Mille, splits the torque between the chronograph’s various counters. The display and the connection to the minutes and hours are disengaged from the chronograph’s seconds wheel.
The performance of this chronograph is superlative. Drawing power directly from the barrel to supply the chronograph’s three counters, this heightened energy is transmitted to the chronograph train by a coupling system consisting of two oscillating pinions mounted on rockers. Controlling the start, stop, flyback and reset functions in particular, these rockers are activated by a 6-column wheel, the construction of which optimises the simultaneousness of actions and the proper latching of functions, whilst ensuring the longevity of the settings.
This invention represents a major advancement in the calculation of times. Less sensitive to disturbance and taking up less space than well-known mechanisms, the disassociation of the chronograph function from the daily time measurement means that the rate of the base movement is entirely unaffected when the chronograph is activated.
Using the pusher located at 4 o’clock, the running chronograph hand can be reset without first having to stop the mechanism. This system was originally developed for pilots to avoid losing time (and accuracy) due to stopping, resetting and restarting their chronographs when passing through waypoints.
When the chronograph function is active, the hours (24-hour counter) and minutes (60-minute counter) are visible via the two counters located at 5 o’clock and 2 o’clock, the elapsed seconds being indicated by the central seconds.
Similar to a gearbox in a car, the function indicator displays winding, hand setting or date adjustment when then crown is pulled out. The selected mode is indicated by a hand situated at 3 o’clock: W (Winding) – D (Date) – H (Hand Setting).
FREE-SPRUNG BALANCE WITH VARIABLE INERTIA
This type of balance wheel guarantees greater reliability when subjected to shocks and also during movement assembly and disassembly, hence better chronometric results over time.
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.
ROTOR IN PLATINUM
By using a rotor in platinum with ceramic ball bearings in combination with a One Way® reverser system, the barrel can be optimally wound whilst keeping its size compact.
FAST ROTATING BARREL (5 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 enhancing performance.
– Excellent delta of the mainspring curve with a power reserve that offers the ideal balance of performance and regularity.
The entire going train of the calibre CRMC1 has been optimised by adopting a special profile for the teeth of the wheels to create a 20° angle of pressure. This pressure angle facilitates the work of the ball bearings and equalised any discrepancies that might arise between the axles of each wheel. These new gear trains ensure excellent torque transmission and hence optimum output.
SPLINE SCREWS IN GRADE 5 TITANIUM FOR THE MOVEMENT AND CASE
These screws enable better control of the torque applied to the screws during assembly. They are therefore unaffected by physical manipulation during assembly or disassembly, and age well.
– Movement dimensions: 29.10 x 31.25 mm
– Thickness: 6.05 mm
– Number of jewels: 39
– Balance wheel: CuBe, 4 arms, 4 setting weights, moment of inertia 7.5 mg•cm2, angle of lift 50°
– Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
– Balance spring: AK3
– Shock protection: INCABLOC 908.22.211.100 (transparent)
The design and manufacture of the watch embody a global approach to the case, dial and every part of the movement.
Thus the timepiece is created as a harmonious whole according to extremely rigorous specifications. The casing ring is eliminated, and the movement is fixed to the chassis with four titanium screws and silent blocks (ISO SW). This shows the emphasis placed on uncompromising high quality.
This model is available in full grade 5 titanium, full 5N red gold, black TZP ceramic and white ATZ ceramic with the case band in 5N red gold. For each version, the pushers are in black TZP ceramic and 5N red gold.
The tripartite case is water resistant to 30 metres, ensured by three Nitrile O-ring seals. It is assembled using 20 grade 5 titanium spline screws and abrasion-resistant washers in 316L stainless steel.
In 5N red gold and black TZP ceramic with a double O-ring and a collar in rubber.
In carbon fibre; hour-markers filled with an approved luminous material.
In grade 5 titanium
Thickness: 1.17 mm
Bezel side: in sapphire (1,800 Vickers) with anti-glare coating (both sides)
Thickness: 1.00 mm
Case back: in sapphire with anti-glare coating (on both sides)
Thickness: 1.00 mm at the centre and 1,75 mm at the outer edges
– Micro-blasted and hand-polished chamfering for the bridges
– Micro-blasted milled sections
– Micro-blasted and hand-polished sinks for the bridges
– Electroplasma treatment for the baseplate and the bridges
– Satin brushed surfaces
– Hand-polished chamfered edges
– Hand-polished sinks
– Drawn edges
– Polished tips
– Burnished pivots
– Polished post faces
– Diamond-polished sinks
– Diamond-polished angles
– Circular finished faces
– Rhodium plating (before cutting the teeth)