Passion, daring, and pushing beyond limits—these are the qualities that unite Richard Mille, the renowned watch brand, and the prestigious Le Mans Classic. Since their collaboration began in 2002, Richard Mille has demonstrated unwavering support for the automotive world, championing racing circuits, teams, drivers, and particularly women in motorsports. With every Le Mans Classic edition since 2008, Richard Mille has crafted specially designed timepieces, each reflecting the event’s vibrant colors. The latest addition to this iconic series is the limited-edition RM 72-01 Le Mans Classic, a horological masterpiece celebrating the centenary of the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
Unparalleled Technical Prowess
Limited to just 150 pieces, the RM 72-01 Le Mans Classic watch pays homage to the 13.626-kilometer Le Mans circuit, where race cars showcase their exceptional performance. Powered by the in-house Calibre CRMC1, this skeletonized timepiece boasts an automatic bidirectional winding mechanism, displaying hours, minutes, small seconds, date, flyback chronograph, function indicator, and stop seconds. The separation of the chronograph function from daily timekeeping ensures seamless operation of the base movement, even while the chronograph is engaged.
The baseplate and bridges of the RM 72-01 are meticulously crafted from grade 5 titanium—a biocompatible alloy known for its exceptional corrosion resistance and rigidity. Composed of 90% titanium, 6% aluminum, and 4% vanadium, this alloy finds extensive use in aerospace, aeronautics, and automotive industries. Employing micro-blasted grade 5 titanium and a gray electroplasma treatment, the watch’s baseplate and bridges exhibit remarkable rigidity and perfectly even surfaces, thanks to rigorous validation tests.
Revolutionary Flyback Chronograph
Richard Mille’s patented flyback chronograph mechanism enhances the watch’s performance by distributing torque across its various counters. By disengaging the display and connection to the minutes and hours from the chronograph’s seconds wheel, this mechanism ensures exceptional accuracy. Drawing power directly from the barrel, the chronograph’s three counters are supplied with enhanced energy, transmitted through two oscillating pinions mounted on rockers. These rockers, activated by a 6-column wheel, optimize the simultaneity of actions, guarantee proper latching of functions, and maintain long-lasting settings. An ode to Le Mans tradition, the number 16 on the hour counter is highlighted in red, marking the traditional start time of the endurance race.
Exquisite Case Design
Richard Mille’s commitment to excellence extends to the meticulous design and execution of the entire watch—movement, case, and dial. To achieve uncompromising quality, the RM 72-01 features a casing ringless construction, with the movement mounted on chassis mounting rubbers (ISO SW) secured by titanium screws. The case itself is crafted from Quartz TPT®, a material comprising over 600 layers of parallel filaments created by separating silica threads. With a thickness no greater than 45 microns, these layers are impregnated with a special white or green resin developed exclusively for Richard Mille, and then woven using a unique machine that adjusts the direction of the weft by 45° between each layer. After undergoing heating and pressurization processes similar to those used in aeronautics, the material is ready for CNC machining, revealing the random arrangement of Quartz TPT® layers and ensuring the uniqueness of each component. Known for its exceptional resistance to high temperatures, strength, and electromagnetic wave transparency, Quartz TPT® is a favored choice for high-performance applications.
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