Richard Mille are constantly looking to push the boundaries of haute horology with their relentless quest for mechanical excellence and breath-taking beauty. The RM 011-03 is a clear example of said passion, with a brand new design and new innovative mechanisms to boot, the watch is certainly at the forefront of the watch industry today. Ever since the brand’s debut, Richard Mille watches have distilled performance in an unparalleled range of areas. To appreciate this, one must not look no further than the Richard Mille RM 011 model, that is said to be the refined jewel in an already blossoming crown. As the third generation of the RM 011 model, the RM 011-03 has paved the way for unique design, materials used, intricate detailing, mechanical performance and extraordinary adaptability. With a hands on review, and a chance to photograph this incredible watch, this article marks the start of a weekly hand on review at Time Journal.
We first have to look at the new design of the RM 011-03, with an obvious re-design of the bezel and case from its RM 011 predecessor. The new shape gives a new dimension to the watch, whilst retaining the overall concept and style of this watch. The RM 011-03 still retains the classic and iconic Richard Mille tonneau shape, but have included the ‘blockier’ bezel shape of the RM 027-02 Nadal, adding both a sportier feel and a dynamic attitude. The upper bridge is made from satin-brushed grade 5 titanium, offering a stark contrast to the inner movement, that is also made of grade 5 titanium, but PVD-treated. Despite effortlessly looking sportier and more dynamic then the RM 011, the Swiss manufacture insist that the redesign of the case is to reinforce the structural integrity of the watch.
The openworked dial and clear caseback serve to show the ingenuity employed by Richard Mille, with a clear emphasis on producing the wow-factor for customers, collectors and fans alike. The openworked dial crafted in grade 5 titanium, features a date and month display, three chronograph subdials and a conventional minute and hour display. When looking deep into this watch, you feel a sense of inspiration. You not only see the physical presence of number, cogs and titanium, you also feel the craftsmanship, skill, dedication and number of hours produced to create the watch. Richard Mille employ the best for their watches, and in this instance Richard Mille have used the very best sapphire crystal with anti-glare treatment.
The RM 011-03 debuts a new variable geometry rotor that has been redesigned and manufactured in order to create a new automatic winding movement that is wholly dependent on the wearer’s activity. The rotor, that has been created with mixture of grade 5 titanium, 18K white gold and ceramic, is allowed to work by constantly shifting its center of gravity, and is considered to be the optimized new way of rewinding watches. The new rotor is said to have drawn inspiration from the aerodynamic appendages of each and every Formula One car. Nonetheless, this small defining detail shows the pioneering work shown at Richard Mille, along with the innovation and adaptability.
The timepiece features the RMAC3 skeletonized caliber movement, which features an automatic winding movement with an automatic flyback chronograph and date and month indicators. Richard Mille have also taken time to re-design the bridges and the baseplate for the RM 011-03. Both the baseplate and bridges are crafted from grade 5 titanium, a biocompatible, highly corrosion-resistant and rigid material which enables the gear train to function effortlessly. The baseplate and bridges have all been optimised to achieve an extremely low weight / resistance ratio in order to be one of the most reliable timepieces in existence.
In this particular model, the buckle and clasp are made from grade 5 titanium, but the RM 011-03 is also available in white gold and red gold. The small intricate detailing of this watch add together to create something quite special, and give a true reflection of the craftsmanship and innovation over at Richard Mille. The crown which is manufactured in grade 5 titanium, features state of the art crown technology with a double seal O-ring and rubber collar attached to the crown designed to minimize the damage caused by over winding the watch. The chronograph pushers feature a combination of carbon fibre and titanium, again drawing inspiration from the automobile and aerospace industries.
It’s fair to say that Richard Mille have once again shown why they are considered to be amongst the best within the haute horology industry. The Swiss manufacture strive for both sumptuous aesthetics along with mind-blowing mechanical excellence. In the case of the RM 011-03, Richard Mille have pushed the boundaries or watchmaking, creating a watch that is bolder and sportier than its predecessors. The beauty of this watch (for me anyway) comes from the openworked skeleton RMAC3 movement with chronograph subdials and blockier bezel. The shape and materials used in the RM 011-03 are testament to the complexity of the watch, and the level of mastery, research, development and manufacture that goes into Richard Mille.