Jewels & Time 2020: Richard Mille Achieves Milestone With its RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph
For a watchmaker known for its avant-garde and remarkably complicated creations, it’s somewhat surprising that Richard Mille hasn’t, for so long, been tempted to further seal its repute by putting its mark on an in-house chronograph movement. Not until this year, that is. With the release of the RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-house Chronograph, the brand has officially introduced the calibre CRMC1, a skeletonised flyback chronograph movement completely developed and produced in-house.
This is a new type of flyback chronograph, patented by the watchmaker, that is designed to divide the “torque” generated in the movement. The objective? To provide each of the counters with its own energy source—achieved via the watch’s unique feature of double oscillation pinions. Without going into the deeper complexities, the advantages this innovation brings include a more compact size for the movement—compared to standard alternatives—as well as less sensitivity to disturbances.
This explains why the RM 72-01 can be kept at a thickness of 11.68mm, which is relatively thin compared to other watches of its kind. Aesthetics-wise, this new chronograph bears the most distinctive hallmarks of the Richard Mille line-up—namely the tonneau-shaped, slightly curved case, and the five-pronged bezel screws along its outline.
What’s unusual though, is the placement of the hours, minutes and seconds counters at 5, 2 and 9 o’clock respectively, instead of the typical tri-compax (3, 6 and 9 o’clock) arrangement seen on most other chronographs. The date display is located at 7 o’clock, and the crown-function indicator at 3 o’clock, while three large Arabic-numeral hour markers complete a dial that gives the watch a modern slant. The transparent case-back provides a clear view of the works inside and the pushers and crown are beautifully finished in true Richard Mille style.
Calibre CRMC1 is an automatic winding movement that boasts a 50-hour power reserve no matter how regularly the chronograph is activated. The watch is available in four different combinations—5N red gold, which has a higher copper content that other red-gold or rose-gold variants; titanium; and black or white ceramic.
The complexity of this new chronograph belies the inclusion of the word “Lifestyle” in its name. Aesthetically, it stands out with its slightly off-kilter dial layout while retaining the very essence of the signature Richard Mille style.
(Related: Editor's Note: High Watchmaking Is Not Dead in 2020)