Sporting mechanisms that are as elegant as they are immediately recognisable. An identical obsession with excellence, precision, reliability and innovation. A common goal of uncompromising performance. In 2021, Ferrari and Richard Mille, driven by their shared quest for perfection, joined forces to create a long-term partnership. Richard Mille celebrates this budding relationship with the creation of an exceptional ultra-flat timepiece, the RM UP-01 Ferrari.
- Ultra-flat watch with a thickness of just 1.75 mm (1.18 mm for the movement)
- First watch born of the Richard Mille partnership with Ferrari
- New, patented ultra-flat escapement
- Limited edition of 150 timepieces
Breaking with the brand’s established stylistic codes, but faithful to its identity and spirit, this model once again rolls back the limits of the possible by taking up the ultra-flat challenge. At just 1.75 millimetres thick, the Richard Mille RM UP-01 Ferrari constitutes a triumph of technical prowess and exemplifies a new approach to watch mechanics in which technicity more than ever dictates aesthetics. A model resulting from many year’s work, dozens of prototypes and more than 6,000 hours of development and laboratory testing… 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, in order to ensure under any circumstances total shock resistance.
‘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. ‘This is precisely what we did throughout our collaboration with the laboratories of Audemars Piguet Le Locle. Shaving off those last millimetres of depth was an extremely demanding and lengthy process.’
The collaboration between Richard Mille and the Ferrari teams, most visibly expressed in the choice of materials and execution of the watch, also precisely lent the project the competitive spirit so essential in the most exhilarating adventures. The RM UP-01 Ferrari is an allusive piece to Ferrari’s values, developing sporting mechanisms that are as elegant as they are immediately recognisable. Their models make no concessions and frequently contradict current trends to create new aesthetical codes. The RM UP-01 Ferrari bears witness to this partnership of the best know-how these two iconic brands have to offer in the combination of their ideas, understanding, respective developments and shared values.
Meeting the challenge of an ultra-flat watch precluded a traditional movement with superimposed gears and hands. Richard Mille, therefore, opted to distribute what could not be stacked over a broader surface area by creating a perfect symbiosis between the movement and case, each ensuring the necessary rigidity of the other. The RMUP-01 manual-winding movement with hours, minutes and function selector – capable of withstanding accelerations of more than 5,000 g’s – thus boasts a thickness of 1.18 millimetres, a weight of 2.82 grams, and a power reserve of 45 hours.
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 patented extra flat barrel is fitted with an extraordinarily fine hairspring and the architecture of the escapement was entirely redesigned. To reduce depth, the small plate of the balance and dart (guard pin) – two parts that prevent the anchor from slipping back during the free phase of the balance wheel’s movement – were eliminated. The new ultra-flat escapement, also patented, replaced these ‘anti-reversal’ elements with an elongated fork with new horns. Likewise, the index was set aside in favour of a variable-inertia balance crafted in titanium whose six weights allow for fine-tuned calibration of the regulating organ. To deliver a watch this thin, it was also necessary by rethinking the winding mechanism and to eliminate the winding stem, whose minimum diameter of 1.5 millimetres precluded its inclusion in such a slim watch. In its place, the two crowns, one for function selection, the other to utilise the selected function, have both been integrated in the case as movement wheels.
‘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,’ concluded Salvador Arbona, Technical Director for Movements at Richard Mille.
As a material for the case – just 1.75 mm in thickness and water-resistant to 10 metres – titanium was chosen for the advantages it offers in combining lightness and laboratory-tested resistance. The two sapphire crystals, one over the time indicators whose hands are directly affixed to the wheels, the other positioned over the regulator (balance wheel-spring assembly) to showcase the movement’s operation, were also reduced in thickness to two-tenths of a millimetre with a diameter calculated to ensure their resistance during testing phases. The narrow tolerance range and extreme slenderness of each part required the focus to be particularly meticulous and checked at almost every stage of machining. It was therefore natural that the decision to produce and machine the case in-house in our movement department was the logical step to take for the RM UP-01 Ferrari.
Like the prestigious Italian automotive legend – and consistent with the standards of the Richard Mille manufacture thanks to its extreme lightness, tonneau shape, spline screws, skeletonised bridges and level of finishing – the 150 limited-edition timepieces in the RM UP-01 Ferrari series combine innovation with performance, strength and aesthetics.
A work of surpassing prowess that meets the brand’s every expectation, ready to be worn under any circumstances.
Richard Mille RM UP-01 Ferrari Technical Specifications
CALIBER RMUP-01: Ultraflat manual winding movement with hours, minutes and function selector.
Dimensions: 51,00 x 39,00 x 1,75mm
Circa 45 hours (±10%)
BASEPLATE AND BRIDGES MADE OF GRADE 5 TITANIUM
The baseplate and bridges of the RM UP-01 are crafted of grade 5 titanium, 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.
These components in grade 5 titanium provide the whole assembly great rigidity as well as precise surface flatness, which is essential for perfect functioning of the gear train.
The skeletonised baseplate was subjected to separate and extensive validation tests to ensure it met rigorous optimal strength requirements. the calibre RMUP-01 can withstand accelerations of over 5,000 g’s.
Movement thickness: 1,18 mm
Integrated into the bezel, the function selector located between 10 and 11 o’clock allows one to select the winding (W) or the hand-setting (H) function with a simple rotation of the crown.
Setting the time or winding the barrel is then possible by turning the second crown located between 7 and 8 o’clock.
PATENTED ULTRAFLAT ESCAPEMENT WITH VARIABLE-INERTIA BALANCE WHEEL IN TITANIUM
In the course of developing the RM UP-01 Ultraflat, engineers from Audemars Piguet Le Locle and Richard Mille developed a new type of escapement with a balance wheel in titanium that drastically reduces the calibre’s thickness whilst providing the same security as a conventional Swiss anchor escapement.
The parts that add the most height in a traditional escapement are the dart (aka guard pin) and the safety roller.
Both serve to bank the lever in case of shock.
The new patented, ultraflat escapement eliminates both parts and resituates the banking function directly on the anchor fork. To do so, the fork itself was elongated and its horns modified. As a result, the dart-free anchor is significantly reduced in height.
The escapement transfers energy to a variable-inertia balance wheel, thus ensuring great stability during assembly, disassembly and exposure to shock or strong vibrations. The movement thus offers optimal chronometric precision for an extended period. The regulator index is eliminated and a more accurate and repeatable calibration is possible thanks to 6 adjustable weights located directly on the balance.
(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.
- An excellent mainspring delta curve with an ideal power reserve/performance and regularity ratio.
WINDING-BARREL TEETH AND THIRD-WHEEL PINION WITH CENTRAL INVOLUTE PROFILE
The central involute profile of the winding-barrel teeth and pinion provides an optimal pressure angle of 20°. This promotes effective rotary motion and compensates for possible variations in the engagement of the going train, thus ensuring excellent torque transmission with a distinct improvement in performance.
SPLINE SCREWS IN GRADE 5 TITANIUM FOR THE BRIDGES AND CASE
This permits better control of the torque applied to screws during assembly.
These screws are therefore unaffected by physical manipulation during assembly or disassembly and age well.
- Movement dimensions: 41.45 x 28.85 mm
- Thickness: 1,18 mm
- Jewels: 23
- Balance: in Grade 5 titanium, 3 arms, 6 setting weights
- Moment of inertia 3 mg•cm2, angle of lift 54°
- Frequency: 28’800 vph (4 Hz)
- Balance spring: AK 3
- Shock protection: Kif
CASE IN GRADE 5 TITANIUM
The design and execution of the entire watch bears witness to a comprehensive conceptual approach to the movement and the case, which are developed in complete harmony. It represents the first appearance of this new and highly identifiable form within the Richard Mille collection. Its uncompromising slimness perfectly symbolises the Richard Mille philosophy of letting technique dictate aesthetics, once again transforming the tonneau shape and adapting it to new circumstances.
The RM UP-01’s case has the same characteristics and exhibits the same sleek lines and attention to minute detail, as the large number of manufacturing operations required for its bezel and its monobloc caseband and caseback attest. The entire case is machined from grade 5 titanium, a material offering great lightness combined with levels of resistance proven in the laboratory through a rigorous battery of tests. The monobloc construction also optimises rigidity while guaranteeing water resistance to 1 atm (10 m).
Due to the low profile of the RM UP-01, all the components are machined at the Richard Mille movement department to meet the extremely demanding machining tolerance of a single micron.
Surrounding the crowns, two black ceramic inserts protect the bezel from friction and ensure water resistance.
The caseback and bezel are satin-finished, with polished bevels. The iconic prancing horse and all the references present on the case are laser-engraved. This unique ultra-thin case is assembled using 13 grade 5 titanium spline screws and abrasion-resistant washers in 316L stainless steel.
- Hour dial
- In sapphire (1,800 Vickers) with anti-glare treatment (both sides).
- Thickness: 0,45mm
- Balance dial
- In sapphire (1,800 Vickers) with anti-glare treatment (both sides). Thickness: 0.20 mm at the centre; 0.30 mm at the outer edges
- In DLC treated 316L stainless steel
- Baseplate in hand-ground grade 5 titanium, wet sandblasted
- Bridges in grade 5 titanium wet sandblasted, top surface polished by hand
- Locking sections hand polished
- Burnished pivots
- Diamond-polished sinks on the bridge side
- Pinions with undercuts
- Microblasted and hand-drawn surfaces
- Sapphire-blasted surfaces
- Anglage and polishing by hand
- Concave chamfering with a diamond tool
- Circular-smoothed faces
- Rhodium plating (before cutting the teeth)
- Minimal corrections applied to the wheels in order to preserve geometry and performance