After the release of an ultra-thin model of a round shape, Richard Mille has prepared a new model which will have the same flattened profile, but it will also come in a tonneau shape which is more usual for the watches by the brand. The new model comes with a new type of automatic movement (with the thickness of just 3.6 mm) and it will be premiered at the SIHH 2016 exhibition in January. It is based on one of the brand’s best known models and it is called RM 67-01 Extra Flat. Its price is still not revealed, but it is expected to be around $100,000.
Richard Mille has obviously decided to join the ranks of watchmakers which are capable of creating complex watches with thin profiles which are more ergonomic because of their reduced dimensions. After round shaped RM 033, the brand opted to make the same type of timekeeper that will be in a tonneua case which is much more associated to the manufacturer and, undoubtedly, the first type of housing that pops up to one’s mind when Richard Mille products are concerned.
The novelty is in fact a thinner version of RM 010, one of the most iconic models by the Les Breuleux watchmaker. It is also the first slim model by the brand in this shape which is far rarer than the common round one.
To make all of these possible, Richard Mille needed to come up with a brand new caliber of reduced profile which is like the case in a tonneau shape. The end result of the work of the brand’s designers is a new self-winding CRMA6 movement whose total thickness measures to just 3.6 mm. The novel movement which is visible from both sides of the watch is made with the main-plate and bridges in grade 5 titanium which were treated with the mixture of gray and black electroplasma treatments, respectively, which gives an additional aesthetic effect and retains the recognizable three-dimensional appearance of Richard Mille’s movements.
Despite being of reduced flatness, the movement does not have a micro-rotor, but the central one that is skeletonized and made of platinum, and which looks like a half of a wheel with six spokes.
Furthermore, the caliber also possesses some of common up-scale technical traits of other Richard Mille models, such as a free-sprung balance with variable inertia for greater accuracy and easier adjustments. Additionally, it features a fast-rotating barrel which completes a revolution every 5 hours, 2 ½ hours faster than it is common, which further improves its functioning by providing optimal ratios of performance and power reserve, as well as of regularity. During its creation, the watchmaker also came up with a new type of gearing tooth profile which is inclined to 20 degrees.
The supported power reserve of the self-winding movement is 50 hours. It should be also said that it operates at the higher frequency of 4 Hz. As it is customary, the caliber is also treated with a host of high-end finishes. Apart from the mentioned electroplasma treatment, there are microblasted sections, as well as satin finished sections, anglage, hand polishing and burnished surfaces for its steel parts.
The Les Breuleux manufacturer is likewise known for the creation of very complex housings for its models, and the new ultra thin one was even harder to make than it is commonly so. It requires six additional hours of machining to make it (when compared to a common one by the same manufacturer) and its creation demands as much as 216 total operations. These include the creation of necessary changes and the adjustment of the tools, as well as the actual creation itself which lasts for several days. After this, the case is brushed and polished by hand. This complex tree-part case is made of titanium. It is 38.7 mm wide, 47.52 mm long and 7.75 mm thick which is not so small (despite its exceptionally thin movement), but that makes the watch much more wearable than other complex models in the brand’s offer.
Inside the fixed bezel of the watch which is secured with eight screws there is a crystal made of sapphire that was also used for the rear transparent section. The front one with the hardness of 1,800 Vickers is 1 mm thick, while the back one is of the same profile in the center and with the thickness of 2.37 mm on the periphery. Both sapphire sections are treated with double anti-reflective coating.
Richard Mille RM 67-01 Extra Flat features a skeletonized dial with a flange made of carbon which is the setting for its dot-shaped hour markers filled with luminous coating. Inside it, there are eleven Arabic numerals, while the five o’clock position is used for its aperture of its vertical semi-instantaneous date indication. The dial also includes a display which the brand compares to the ones seen in cars and which corresponds to the chosen setting. Depending on the position of its peculiarly shaped crown, it will show whether the wearer has chosen winding (W), date setting (D) or hand setting (H).
It is announced that the exact price of the watch will be known when the timepiece premiers at the SIHH 2016 event in January 2016.