One of the most intriguing pieces that Richard Mille unveiled at the SIHH 2014 was the model dedicated to its ambassador, legendary racing champion Sebastan Loeb. The watch displays just how far the modern watchmaking engineering has gone with the addition of the latest version of the brand’s G-Sensor complication which is used to measure the forces that race drivers are exposed to. This feature is calibrated to measure forces up to critical 6 Gs and it even allows measurement of forces from a specific direction. Peculiarly, the reset button for the function is placed on the center of the watch’s dial. Apart from the odd complication, RM 36-01 is a manually wound tourbillon movement which incorporates modern materials when it comes to both its caliber and its round case. This doubly-skeletonized racing instrument is made in 30 copies and will be sold at the extremely high price of $625,000.
The Ultimate Racing Accessory
Rm 36-01 G-Sensor Tourbillon timekeeper is the first timepiece created specifically for the brand’s promoter Sebastian Loeb. It is based on the technology that was first implemented in the creation of RM 036 watch made for Jean Todt which had its premiere at the last edition of the Salon International de Haute Horlogerie in Geneva. However, as the brand’s founder explained, the new watch is in many ways quite different than its predecessor. Not only that it features different exterior most visible in the shape of the housing, it is likewise made in different spirit. Whereas Todt’s piece is used for safety on the road, RM 36-01 is designed for speed and racing. Therefore, Richard Mille has adjusted the functioning of its G-Sensor which has the maximal reading of 6 Gs and is divided to green, yellow and red section in order to show whether the encountered forces are safe, potentially dangerous or critical, respectively.
Furthermore, now the wearer has the option to choose the direction of forces that he desires to measure. This is done by rotating the brown ceramic bezel with aluminum oxide inserts to the proper direction (this also moves the G-sensor scale). As the brand’s representatives explain, this is supposed to enable the driver to measure the forces experienced while turning, breaking, accelerating etc. However, a simple logic that the driver than has to keep his wrist horizontally, which is nearly impossible while driving and especially while racing. One does have to wonder about the overall functionality of the complication which should probably be observed as Richard Mille’s ability to demonstrate its engineering excellence. Another novelty when it comes to the feature is that its reset button is not placed on the case-band, as it was the previous time and as one might expect. Just to make it a bit odder, the brand’s designers placed this pusher on the center of the dial. This peculiar placing is explained with the desire to facilitate the driver to press it while driving. It should be also said that G-Sensor function itself is structured from 50 components and has the width of 17 mm.
This G-force measuring complication with admirable complexity and questionable application is the most interesting feature of its hand-wound tourbillon movement with free sprung balance with variable inertia and the operating frequency of 3 Hz (its tourbillon cage is 13.7 mm wide, while the Glucydur balance with ELNIVAR balance spring has the diameter of 10 mm). The 37-jeweled caliber with the width of 36.60 mm and the thickness of 3.96 mm is interesting because of its material and the supported features. When it comes to functions, one of them is that the winding crown includes a pusher inside of it that is used for shifting between winding, neutral and hand-setting as it is indicated on the watch’s dial. Speaking of time-setting, we should also say that the movement for it utilizes a wheel based system on the back which can be removed separately and fixed without messing around with other parts of the caliber which notably facilitates the servicing.
The main-plate of the movement is in the brand’s usual practice made of a modern alloy which is comprised of 90 percent of grade 5 titanium, 6 percent aluminum and 4 percent vanadium in order for it to provide extreme resistance and rigidity, as it should be expected in a racing timekeeper. The alloy is moreover treated with PVD coating. Its resilience is furthermore raised with a central bridge made of ARCAP alloy and the addition of KIF Elastor KE 160 B28 shock-protection system. For the power storage, the caliber possesses a fast-rotating barrel which powers the movement for 70 hours.
There are also several other advanced technical features that Richard Mille tends to use in its calibers to enhance its functioning. Similarly, there is a common heap of different embellishments on the movement such as anglage, polishing, sapphire blasted milling, concave chamfering, rhodium plating, etc.
Sapphire Exposes the Mechanics
Richard Mille RM 36-01 G-Sensor Tourbillon Sebastian Loeb is placed inside a circular housing comprised of three segments. It combines anthracite polymer with carbon nano-tubes used for the central part with the inner bezel and the case-back in grade 5 titanium. The light-weight body of the newcomer has the diameter of 47.7 mm and the height of 17.37 mm. Its ceramic bezel surrounds a sapphire crystal with glare proof treatment on both sides. The front crystal which possesses hardness of 1,800 Vickers is 2.45 mm thick at its thickest section in the center, and 1.72 mm at the thinnest parts on the periphery. Sapphire is likewise used for the transparent case-back, as well as for the see-through dial of the piece.
Apart from being skeletonzied, the dial is mostly distinguished with the mentioned G-Sensor scale. Moreover, it includes displays that show the current setting mode (at the four o’clock place) and the remaining power reserve (at the two o’clock position). RM 36-01 is also made with unorthodox and upward curved hour and minute hands which are made in accordance with the overall high-end engineering racing theme.