Richard Mille, the brand known for its panache for implementation of new technologies and materials in the watchmaking process, has announced the release of the new version of its RM 011 Flyback Chronograph model which will hit the stores later this year. The newcomer will be the first timepiece fitted into a case made from North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT) which is the new and improved version of carbon fiber material that previously had its application in sailing, Formula One racing and aeronautics. This new material features a specific wood-like appearance and has better qualities when compared to carbon fibers already in use, especially when resistance to stress and micro-cracks are concerned. However, it is likewise bound to significantly raise the price of the already expensive model without including any new horological improvements per se.
NTPT- Initially Developed to Craft Sails
NTPT was originally invented by Gerard Gautier in 2001 with the world of sailing in mind. However, the first machinery and prototypes were not released for another two years, while the production of first sales started in 2007. Another three years were necessary to adapt the material in order to use it for the creation of rigid structures. In the last two years, NTPT has been utilized in the construction of Formula One vehicles, as well as in Solar Pulse 2 aircraft. Finally, this year sees the start of the construction of watch cases made from NTPT. The first housings made of the carbon fiber material are currently being constructed in Richard Mille’s Proart case factory which commences its production this year.
The new high-tech composite material is made of multiple layers of parallel thin threads which are got by dividing carbon fiber. It consists of very thin sheets with the top thickness of 30 microns which are soaked in resin and then treated with a special machine while they are heated to 120 degrees Celsius and pressurized to 6 bars. The final result is a resilient composite structure with the specific texture which reminds of the surface of a luxurious wood. Not only that the material looks different and more organic when compared to carbon fibers already in use, it also features a 25 percent higher resistance to breaking and twice as high resilience to micro-cracks.
Flyback Chronograph with Date and Month Indications and a 50 Hour Power Reserve
As it is appropriate, the first model to implement the new type of housing will be RM 011 Flyback Chronograph model made for the Formula One driver Felippe Massa. According to the initial photos released by the company, it is fairly obvious that the new model will have the same functions as its predecessor which runs with the help of its RM 011-S skeletonized self-winding mechanical movement with adjustable rotor geometry. Apart from the flyback chrono function, the 62-jeweled caliber with the frequency of 28800 vph likewise provides oversized date indication of its annual calendar at the top of the sapphire dial and a month indication at the four o’clock position.
Moreover, it includes a countdown timer and utilizes a double barrel system to provide a power reserve of around 50 hours. The dimensions of the toneau-shaped case which will be the first one ever to be constructed of NTPT are 40 mm (at the widest point) x 50 mm x 16.15 mm (at the thickest point). It also includes a host of finishes on its movement with the titanium base-plate and bridges. Prior to the announced newcomer, the watch with a sapphire case-back, water resistance to 50 meters and a black leather strap was available with housings made of titanium or 18 K red gold. The exact date of the release of the NTPT housed newcomer and its specifications are yet to be disclosed by the Swiss watchmaker.