It boggles us, should Richard Mille be making watches or space shuttles; instead?!No, we are not jumping to conclusions here, because with the new RM 21-01 Tourbillon Aerodyne, we find Carbon TPT® at the heart of the baseplate, combined with an orthorhombic honeycomb structure embodying the concept of air itself and made of HAYNES® 214® with a blue PVD treatment, a first for the brand.
This nickel-chromium-aluminium-iron alloy is primarily intended for use in thermal environments exceeding 955°. Optimal resistance to high-temperature oxidation makes this material—which can nonetheless be moulded and assembled by conventional methods—an especially suitable choice for combustion chambers. Consequently, the RM 21-01’s baseplate offers unsurpassed stiffness, an extremely low thermal expansion coefficient and exceptional torque resistance, which you may not survive, but the RM 21-01 sure would.
Bridges are crafted of grade 5 titanium, a biocompatible, highly corrosion-resistant and remarkably rigid alloy, which enables the gear train to function effortlessly. The alloy is 90% grade 5 titanium, 6% aluminium and 4% vanadium. This combination further increases the material’s mechanical properties, which explains its frequent use in the aerospace, aeronautics and automotive industries. They are coated with a 5N gold PVD treatment.
The signature tonneau shaped case may look like the previous RM cases but with the RM 21-01, Richard Mille presents a new case design. The complex structure of the case in 5N red gold is reinforced with an exoskeleton in Carbon TPT®, used for the bezel and pillars. This extremely light and durable composite is made by stacking hundreds of layers of carbon fibers thanks to an automated process that rotates 45° between each layer, then heated to 120° in an autoclave before being machined to the nearest micron. Just like armour, these reinforcements perfectly protect the case, and are firmly held in place by 20 spline screws. The striking appearance of Carbon TPT® layers perfectly complements the gleam of gold and the royal blue honeycombed motif of the baseplate.
The sapphire glass dial provides a flawlessly transparent window into the manual-winding calibre RM21-01. The power-reserve indicator is placed in lieu of the number at 11 o’clock, while the torque indicator occupies the 1 o’clock position. The latter makes it possible to immediately know the barrel- spring’s tension and thus optimise the movement’s functioning.
At 4 o’clock sits the function selector, operated by a pusher integrated into the centre of the crown, which is crafted in Carbon TPT® and 5N red gold with a gasket in the same material as the white rubber bracelet. A simple press suffices to switch from the Neutral (N) position to Winding (W) to Hand-Setting (H).
From the thoroughly meticulous hand finishing of the movement that includes bevelling, polishing, burnishing and chamfering of the components, to the use of innovative and technical materials and the incorporation of a tourbillon to counter the effects of Earth’s gravity, the new RM 21-01 Tourbillon Aerodyne, issued in a limited edition of 50 watches, for you to explore new horizons with.