After the first skull-themed timekeeper RM 052 which was premiered at the last edition of the Baselworld show, Richard Mille has prepared a new version from the ghastly-styled Skull series. The new RM 52-01 Skull timepiece which was unveiled at this year’s edition of the world’s most significant watch fair follows the footsteps of its predecessor. However, like all of the pieces from the brand, it likewise includes important innovations which are in this case mostly visible in the choice of materials and the manner of the fabrication. Unlike the initial watch from the collection, RM 52-01 limited edition watch (restricted to 30 copies) has a skull made from 5N red gold, while its housing is made from a novel material known as nano-ceramic (or, more accurately, from the combination of TZP ceramic and carbon nanotubes).
Ceramics and Nanotubes
In the manner it helped the brand earn its high-end reputation in relatively short time period, the new Skull timekeeper by Richard Mille is made with the high-tech modern materials. Since the Swiss company previously made watches with bezels made from ceramics (namely RM 011 and RM 055), its craftsmen gained quite an expertise in the area. This knowledge was crucial for the ability to design and machine ceramics which features unparalleled strength. For the watch’s bezel and case back, the manufacturer used TZP. It is a high-tech material of low density and with enhanced resistance for scratches and low temperatures. Moreover, the material is very appropriate for finishing. This is why the bezel and the case back are microblasted and with hand-polished corners.
Apart from the ceramic, the other important material used for the fabrication of the housing is carbon nanotube. It is used for the mid part of the casing since it guarantees extreme protection for the watch’s movement. Not only that it features additional strength, but also the use of carbon nanotubes drastically reduces the weight of the case. When speaking in regard to the supported water resistance, the construction of RM 52-01 allows it to be submerged to 50 meters under the surface.
Furthermore, the case has 20 spline screws made from grade 5 titanium which are utilized to secure an improved torque control during the assembling of the timepiece and are well known for its longevity. Additionally, the housing utilizes washers made from 316L stainless steel which are resilient to abrasion. The crown of the piece is likewise special since it has a torque-limiting system that stops it from unwanted over-winding which has the potential to damage the mainspring barrel by exerting too much pressure on it. For the face of the watch, Richard Mille used 1.5 mm thick sapphire with double anti-reflective coating and the hardness of 1,800 Vickers. The same material of different thickness was used for the case back as well (in the center its thickness is 1.2 mm while on the outskirts it reaches up to 2.04 mm). Speaking about the dimensions, the thee-part jet-black case has the width of 42.7 mm, the length of 50 mm and the thickness of 15.95.
RM 52-01 Tourbillon Movement
As it was the case with its predecessor from the Skull lineage, RM 52-01 is equipped with RM 052 hand-wound tourbillon movement with the baseplate and bridges made from grade 5 titanium with PVD treatment which enables unrivaled rigidity and has immaculately flat surfaces. Needless to say, the most notable element in the architecture of the caliber is the skull symbol made from 5N red gold. The jewel of the tourbillon carriage is placed right between the upper and lower jaws. The brand’s proprietary movement includes a free sprung balance with variable inertia which enables improved resistance to shocks, greater precision, as well as easier assembly and disassembly of the timekeeper.
RM 052 tourbillon movement has a power reserve which lasts for around two days. The watch’s manual winding system incorporates a fast rotating barrel, a barrel pawl with progressive recoil and winding barrel teeth and centre wheel pinion with central involute profile. Each of the components improves the efficiency of the system. Furthermore, it is worth knowing that the movement is 32.8 mm long, 30.9 mm wide and 6.87 mm thick, while the diameter of the tourbillon reaches 10.9 mm. It functions at the frequency of 21,600 vph (3 Hz), incorporates 19 jewels in its construction and uses KIF Elastor shock protection system. As it is common for the brand’s calibers, it likewise displays high-end finishes such as hand-polished beveling, microblasted milled sections as well as drawn or polished outer faces.
Richard Mille RM 52-01 Skull Tourbillon timekeeper is made in a restricted edition which consists of just 30 copies.