The third generation watch in the Richard Mille RM 56 series of sapphire-encased timekeepers outdoes its predecessors when it comes to both characteristics and price. As two previous models, RM 56-02 has its case made entirely from sapphire which is not only extremely difficult to achieve, but also in this instance requires as much as 40 entire days to be fully complete. Additionally, the newcomer has components of its movement such as tourbillion and barrel bridges made in the same material that further complicates its construction. As if it was not impressive enough, RM 56-02 also has its caliber suspended in air and attached to the sapphire case with braided cables and pulley system. All of the amazing features combined raise the price of the 10-piece limited edition timekeeper to whooping $2,020,000.
Sapphire Components and Cable Held Caliber
RM 56 collection by Richard Mille is centered on a very unusual idea. Its basic trait that makes it special is the presence of a housing made of sapphire which is, as it is well known, exceptionally hard to create. The first iteration in the series came two years ago when the watchmaker presented the timekeeper made for Felipe Massa which was a spilt-seconds chronograph. The next version RM 56-01 took the idea a bit further by incorporating more sapphire components to the movement, so it even had a baseplate and bridges made in the material. The third member of the series which we are now presenting takes the idea even further by incorporating even more of the material as well as a special system that keeps the titanium mainplate suspended in air with the use of extremely thin cables. This approach was initially premiered in RM 27-01 made for Rafa Nadal.
The progression of the idea of sapphire-cased timepieces and its further enriching with the use of intricate calibers can be demonstrated with the value of the pieces from the RM 56 series. While the first iteration had the price of $ 1.65 M and the second one brought it closer to $2 M ($1.95 M) the third one even surpasses this magic $2 M figure by $20,000.
Nearly 57 Days of Machining just for Sapphire Parts
Most of the value is caused with the demanding process of machining the sapphire that requires a lot of time. As it has been mentioned, it takes 40 days just to create the case, while the sapphire bridges of the movement require nearly 17 additional days. In order to create such amazing amounts of sapphire, Richard Mille turned to the undisputed champion in the field, Stettler Saphire from the Swiss town of Lyss.
Apart from the plethora of sapphire parts, RM 56-02 can also proud itself with the system that is used to attach the movement to the entirely transparent case. It looks as it is floating in mid-air since it is conjoined with the system that includes ten pulleys (four on the case and six on the main-plate) and a hair-thin cable which is just 0.35 mm wide. There is even an option to adjust the tension of the cable by means of a ratchet and inspect whether it is in optimal values on the indicator at the top of the dial.
RM 56-02 is topped off with an Aerospace Nano white bracelet made of synthetic material which was developed for the brand by Biwi SA.