The latest timepiece by Richard Mille is the RM 72-01, equipped with their first flyback chronograph entirely developed and designed by the brand. The in-house calibre CRMC1 was entirely imagined, manufactured, and assembled in their facilities at Les Breuleux. It took them at least 30 months to conceive and actualise this movement.
The new mechanism of the RM 72-01 presents a unique, patented design that incorporates a double clutch system with oscillating pinions mounted on rockers. These pinions reduce the space taken up by the chronograph within the movement. This system is thinner than a vertical clutch, measuring just 6.05 mm thick and contains 425 components.
This new flyback chronograph architecture breaks ground by splitting the torque between the chronograph’s various counters. The display and the connection to the minutes are disengaged from the chronograph’s seconds wheel. The seconds and minute wheels of the movement permanently interlock with the lower teeth of the two oscillating pinions. However, when the rockers are moved, their upper teeth – which link to the chronograph’s seconds and minute wheels – engage or disengage depending on whether the chronograph is activated or stopped.
The performance of this chronograph is superlative. Drawing power directly from the barrel to supply the chronograph’s three counters, this heightened energy is transmitted to the chronograph train by a coupling system consisting of two oscillating pinions mounted on rockers, activated by a 6-column wheel. The disassociation of the chronograph function from daily time counter does not affect the rate of the time-keeping movement in any way when the chronograph is engaged. And because of this, its power reserve of 50 hours remains virtually unchanged. The distinct advantage of transferring the torque directly from the barrel to the minutes and hour counters is that the energy it receives is much greater. The performance of the movement as a whole is thus optimised. This invention represents a major advancement in the calculation of time.
The beauty and symmetry of design of the movement is also reflected on the face of the watch. Taking much of the space is the three counters at 1, 5, and 9 o’clock. The blue-tipped hand indicates the seconds, orange for the minutes, and green for the hours of the chronograph. Reflecting their positions on the face are the Arabic numerals 11, 3 and 8 at their respective hour positions. Taking its place at the 7 o’clock position is a unique date display, oriented in a vertical fashion. Discretely located to the immediate left of the 3 o’clock hour marker is a function indicator with the letters W (Winding), D (Date), and H (Hand setting). When the crowns pulled out, the little hand will indicate whether you are setting one of the three functions.
The calibre CRMC1 has a free-spring balance with variable inertia. This type of balance wheel guarantees greater reliability when subjected to shocks, and when assembling and disassembling the movement. The regulator index is eliminated and a more accurate and repeatable adjustment is possible with the help of 4 small, adjustable weights located directly on the balance. It has a fast rotating barrel which takes 5 hours per revolution (instead of 7.5 hours). This type of barrel is advantageous for two reasons: 1) the phenomenon of periodic internal mainspring adhesion is significantly diminished, thereby enhancing performance, and 2) Excellent delta of the mainspring curve with a power reserve that offers the ideal balance of performance and regularity.
The RM 72-01 is available in four different combinations: 1) full grade 5 titanium, 2) full 5N red gold, 3) black TZP ceramic, and 4) white ATZ ceramic with the case band in 5N red gold. For each version, the pushers are in black TZP ceramic and 5N red gold.