Watchuseek Blog

Friday, October 19, 2012

Best watch of the year: Richard Mille RM056 Felipe Massa Sapphire Tourbillon Competition Chronograph


The Richard Mille Watch RM 056 Felipe Massa Sapphire Tourbillon Competition Chronograph, launched in January 2012, has just been voted “Best Watch of the Year” at the 5th SIAR «Salon International Alta Relojeria», which took place in Mexico at the beginning of October.

Richard Mille's incredible $1.7m timepiece is equipped with a movement originally developed for the RM 008. The result is a watch that is un-equalled in performance and long-term reliability.

The RM 056 is made from a three part case cut entirely from sapphire. It is the first time in watchmaking history that a case has been produced in this exceptionally hard material (9,0 on the Mohs scale - The Mohs scale of mineral hardness charts the scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of a harder material to scratch a softer material. German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs developed the system in 1912.)

The bezel, case-band and back are cut from the sapphire in 3 complete pieces with no additional structure or support in their assembly. The fabrication of the RM 056 is the result of several years research and testing for it to comply with all the resistance and comfort criteria. Sapphire is made up of aluminium oxide (Al203) which is known for its high resistance to scratches and its transparency and purity are a result of this composition. The most difficult challenge for Richard Mille has been the machining of such a watch. The bezel, caseband and back require at least 1,000 hours of machining per case. 

This includes 430 hours of cutting and 350 hours of polishing.  This heavily skeletonized and see-through watch is also the perfect showcase for the lightest split-second chronograph tourbillon in the world. The RM056 features the hours, minutes, split-seconds chronograph, power reserve, function and torque indicators.

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