Having relied on external suppliers for its chronograph movements since the very beginning, Richard Mille has just unveiled its first in-house chronograph calibre in the RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph. Richard Mille RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph

Ironically, the “Lifestyle” model name doesn’t do justice to the new CRMC1 movement within. Like most high-end chronographs, the CRMC1 has a column wheel as the one-off switch for the stopwatch, but in a novel twist, it has a pair of oscillating pinions to connect the chronograph wheels to the timekeeping gear train.Richard Mille’s bestselling chronograph is the RM 11, which is powered by a modular calibre made up of a Vaucher base and a Dubois-Depraz module, making it uninteresting from a technical perspective. The new RM 72-01 is the opposite: it’s powered by a new movement that features a patented construction for the chronograph. Though the innovation in the movement is incremental – essentially reinterpreting existing ideas – it is still original.At the same time, the RM 72-01 is a notably compact watch for a sports chronograph, which should leave it sitting low on the wrist. In fact, the wearability of the RM 72-01 should trump the already excellent ergonomics of most Richard Mille watches. Richard Mille RM 72-01 In-House Chronograph

And perhaps most surprising is the price. It costs about the same as the RM 11, but boasts a clearly superior, proprietary movement. Even though the RM 72-01 is an extremely expensive watch – the base model costs about US$185,000 – it is usually good value by the stratospheric standards of Richard Mille.While the traditional chronograph construction uses a single wheel to transmit energy from the going train to the chronograph, the CRMC1 relies on twin oscillating pinions. richard mille tourbillon replica

The oscillating pinion itself is not new: the best-known movement to use an oscillating pinion is the no-nonsense Valjoux 7750, and it is also found in more upscale calibres by IWC and F.P. Journe. richard mille nadal

Richard Mille is the first brand to install two oscillating pinions in a movement. Offering the benefits of being compact and quick to mesh, the oscillating pinion is doubled up in the CRMC1 – one pinion each for the seconds and minutes wheel of the chronograph.

The two pinions are driven by a long, multi-part coupling lever that swings them into place; it appears likely that the set up and adjustment of the lever for perfect start and stop of the chronograph is a complex process.The use of two pinions in the CRMC1 serve to “split the torque” according to Richard Mille, which means each elapsed time register of the chronograph has its own power supply. richard mille mclaren

And the brand also states the double-pinion construction means that running the chronograph “does not affect the rate of the base movement in any way… Whether the chronograph is activated or not, the power reserve remains virtually unchanged.”

In short, the twin-oscillating pinion construction has all the advantages of the more common vertical clutch, but requires less space, resulting in a thinner movement. The gain in thinness is substantial: the RM 72-01 is just under 12 mm high, compared to over 16 mm for the RM 11.One consequence of the movement construction is a departure from the symmetrical dial layout found on most Richard Mille watches. The RM 072-02 has an unusual three-counter layout that has the registers at one, five, and nine o’clock, with oversized Arabic hour numerals in between.At seven o’clock sits the date display, and at three the crown-function indicator. Originally invented by Renaud & Papi, the movement specialist that’s owned by Audemars Piguet – but used in so many Richard Mille watches it’s become synonyms with the brand – the display indicates if the crown is in winding, setting, or neutral position.The case is a slim 11.68 mm high – a little thinner than a Rolex Daytona – and compact at 38.40 mm wide and 47.34 mm, making it one of the smallest watches in the Richard Mille catalogue. richard mille bubba watson

While the case does retain the traditional Richard Mille form and details, the pushers and crown have been streamlined. The vents and text found on earlier chronograph models have been done away with in favour of a sleek interface.At launch four variants of the RM 72-01 will be available: all titanium, all red gold, as well as black or white ceramic combined with the case middle in red gold. All variants feature black ceramic pushers on a red gold base. richard mille for sale
The RM 72-01 is a first for Richard Mille – a relaxed, playful flyback chronograph that, while remaining as interesting and eye-catching as its siblings, is quite a different mechanical beast from the others. cheapest richard mille

Technically it is a powerhouse, but the RM 72-01 does dance to a newer, more fluid beat. It is colorful without being ostentatious; sleek without having an ultra-slim case; and decidedly modern without breaking with Richard Mille’s previous design language.It is not surprising to me, then, that Richard Mille’s marketing department has paired the RM 72-01 with a pas-de-deux choreography called “Within” that was created by brand ambassador Benjamin Millepied and beautifully danced in the Joshua Tree National Park in California by two contemporary ballet dancers.The RM 72-01 was holistically conceived – the case and movement going hand in hand – so no movement holder ring was necessary; the movement fits the case like a glove and is mounted on blocks secured to the case with four titanium screws. richard mille rafael nadal

Elegance and refinement are the name of the game with the RM 72-01 chronograph. But there is another element that becomes obvious by just looking at it – an element underscored by the modern ballet crafted to introduce it: playfulness.

Looking at the RM 72-01 for the first time, what perhaps jumps out are the Super-LumiNova-filled markers placed at 3, 8, and 11 o’clock. These play hopscotch with the trio of subdials dominating the openworked dial while continuing to reveal the skeletonized movement below.

The subdials are not positioned the same way traditional chronograph counters would be – though to be fair most modern chronographs are not housed in tonneau-shaped cases, either. Traditional is not Richard Mille’s style.These counters at 1, 4, and 9 o’clock are different sizes and decorated with a discrete amount of bright color in the tabs sticking out from the subdials and hand tips: orange on the minute totalizer at 1 o’clock; blue on the running seconds at 9 o’clock, and green on the 24-hour totalizer between 4 and 5 o’clock.

The sweeping second hand is so unobtrusive it does not disturb the design. Yet its red-and-Super-LumiNova tip make it quite legible if you need it.

The displays are rounded out by the tachymeter scale around the tonneau-shaped flange and an unusual, rather technical-looking vertical date at 7 o’clock.

Despite all that detail, this model is sleek, comparatively pared down, and ready to give you what you need and definitely all you want.Automatic Caliber CRMC1 is the first flyback chronograph produced in-house at Richard Mille. It is based on the brand’s manufacture automatic movement. Fully designed, crafted, and assembled in Richard Mille’s Les Breuleux factory, its manufacture status is worth noting because Richard Mille has generally worked with both Vaucher and Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi (APRP) throughout most of the brand’s 19-year lifespan.Richard Mille’s standard chronograph, the dynamic RM 011, was powered by a bespoke Vaucher movement with a Dubois Dépraz module for the large date and annual calendar. A curious aside is that the fresh, new RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph comes in at about the same price – and while the price is very likely far beyond the means of the average watch buyer, for Richard Mille’s clientele the in-house movement at the same price is likely to be a big plus.

The most interesting thing about this new chronograph, though, apart from its modern, skeletonized movement and funky-fresh design, is its new technology, the result of about 30 months’ worth of full-time research and development.

With its two-pusher system, the RM 72-01 chronograph looks pretty standard from the outside. But the freshness begins with these pushers: they are attached to double-toothed levers calibrated to require the same push force whether starting, stopping, resetting, or even – as this is a flyback chronograph – returning to zero.The pushers’ pressure was precisely calculated by the engineering team so that the feel always remains gentle yet determined. The shape and surface of the pushers are very conducive to pushing and the click audible and pleasant, all of which I can personally attest to after spending some time with this stunning chronograph.

Richard Mille chronograph Caliber CRMC1: torque transfer and maintaining the same power reserve
Richard Mille’s technical director for movements, Salvador Arbona, explained that his team started with the in-house automatic caliber’s barrel, going train and regulator, after which they suspended torque transfer with the goal of separating the chronograph functions from the hour-and-minute display. This is a new achievement in watchmaking, and it was accomplished with a specific goal in mind: not having these two functionalities feeding from the same energy source.

This means that the RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph’s power reserve is always 50 hours, regardless of whether the chronograph is running or not. That is a big deal, especially for those who actually use their chronographs rather than just admire them.

The RM 72-01 differs from traditional chronographs in looks, but also – importantly – in mechanics. In a standard chronograph, the movement’s fourth wheel normally feeds the chronograph; that does not happen here.“We separated the hours from the rest of the piece and also the minutes from the seconds,” Arbona explained in a statement. “Independent from each other, the three time scales are coordinated by one wheel with six columns. We also completely separated the chronograph’s torque from the minute and hour display.”

In other words, the counters are separate from each other rather than being linked. And the time is separate from the chronograph. Which is also why the power reserve always remains the same – there is no power drain in sharp contrast to a “normal” clutch chronograph, whose power comes down from the fourth wheel.

The only real disadvantage I have ever noticed with the standard chronograph system is the drain on the movement’s energy when the chronograph is in use, though that is not usually a concern in an automatic watch except for heavy users. However, I’m guessing it was a point of pride for Richard Mille to develop something new in chronograph technology.

The next question, of course, is how did the team do it? The answer is that this new clutch system is fitted with double oscillating pinions, a first in the industry and patented by Richard Mille.“This little pinion that goes in or out of the teeth has been doubled,” Arbona continued. “There is one for minutes and another for seconds. The system is less bulky compared to a vertical coupling, which is difficult to fit in the middle of the movement.”

In this system, where torque is split by the two pinions, it is also uninterrupted and constant. Compare that to a traditional chronograph, where the fourth wheel feeds into the third wheel every 60 seconds using meshing gears, which, according to Arbona, creates a jolt.

In Richard Mille’s new system, the seconds and minutes are each driven by their own oscillating pinions; torque transfer is kept to a minimum and remains constant for as long as the chronograph continues to run.Also unusual is that the minute totalizer can tally up to an hour, while the hour counter totalizes up to 24 hours. Those are pretty long totalizers – even able to time the 24 Hours of Le Mans!

Richard Mille Caliber CRMC1: other notable features
Richard Mille watches have included function selectors almost right from the beginning – an original invention of APRP – which are built into the crown, and this functionality has carried over into the brand’s in-house chronograph movement. By pulling out the red gold and TZP ceramic crown you can choose between winding (W), date adjustment (D), and time setting (H). No need to fiddle with pulling the crown out just the right amount.

One other fun function reinterpreting a beloved element of previous Richard Mille watches is the vertical date display, which is not exactly new – it was prominent on the RM 67-01 of 2016, for example, which also included a function indicator. That watch was an extra-flat automatic, so saving space with this configuration made a lot of sense. The date on the 67-01 is at 5 o’clock, and on the 72-01 it is across the dial at 7 o’clock.The automatic movement’s platinum rotor is crafted from a single block to save on height – which is why Arbona and his team didn’t use their normal variable inertia geometry rotor. The high density of platinum maximizes the winding power, while the ball-borne reversers optimize bidirectional winding efficiency. Despite its 425 components, Caliber CRMC1 is slim, only 6.05 mm in height.

The RM 72-01 is available in four case variations: 5N red gold, titanium, white ATZ ceramic, and black TZP ceramic. The substantial and easy-to-use crown on all variations are made of red gold and TZP ceramic.All of this effort was well worth it: the new RM 72-01 comes in at 11.68 mm in height, making it wearable for even those with small wrists. To compare, the previous RM 011 iterations were more than 16 mm in height. And while the RM 011 was rather comfortable, even on my small wrist, because of its well-thought-out design, I can attest that the slimmer case is even more comfortable.