Richard Mille, in association with McLaren Automotive has unveiled the the RM 40-01 Automatic Tourbillon McLaren Speedtail timepiece. Claimed to be the most extreme watch ever made at Richard Mille, it matches a specific hypercar design of the fastest road-going car McLaren has ever built, the Speedtail.
The watch uses in-house developed power reserve indicator and large oversize date and function selectors on the Richard Mille automatic in-house tourbillon. It took Richard Mille's casing department, led by Technical Director Julien Boillat, an unprecedented 2,800 hours over 18 months to perfect the lines. “As well as taking inspiration from the teardrop shape of the Speedtail, we also faced the challenge of seamlessly combining existing Richard Mille cues with those of McLaren,” explained Boillat. “The watch has one of the highest levels of finishing ever executed at Richard Mille. There has also been a lot of development with our anglers and polishers. The attention to detail is extreme, with mirror polished, plain and satinized effects in different areas and the combined use of titanium and Carbon TPT. The case itself is made from 69 individual parts,” Boillat added.
Based on the form of a teardrop, the most aerodynamically efficient shape found in nature, the Speedtail is the apotheosis of the streamlined hypercar, a three-seat hyper grand tourer that became the third car in McLaren's Ultimate line-up. With its 1,070-horsepower hybrid powertrain, the Speedtail covers 112 meters per second when travelling at its top speed of 250mph, making it the fastest McLaren road car to date.
“There are many similarities between the way that Richard Mille and McLaren approach common design and engineering challenges, such as saving weight, reducing vibrational impact and minimizing resistance.’’ said Rob Melville, McLaren Automotive’s design director. “When it came to the RM 40-01, we had considerable input in sharing the highlights of the car and the philosophy behind it. With the Speedtail, we set out to produce a car that had an artistic quality to it. That has certainly come through in the watch, which beautifully mirrors the many various details of the Speedtail in its finish, materials and its uncompromising design,” Melville added.
Due to the design’s complexity, five prototypes were created before the optimum shape was achieved. The case is significantly wider at 12 o'clock than at 6 o'clock, with a further taper between the titanium bezel and case back, which are separated by a caseband made from Carbon TPT and unequal length titanium pillars. To protect the RM 40-01's movement, Richard Mille developed an upper crystal featuring a 'triple contour' to account for the decreasing taper and thickness of the bezel. Apparently, this alone took 18 months to perfect.
The strap is asymmetrical with the rubber version using Vulculor technology from Biwi SA, a special process that enables colored rubber to be over-molded - allowing the iconic McLaren orange accent colored stripe seen at 6 o'clock on the movement to extend to the wrist.
Grade 5 titanium has been used for key components of the RM 40-01 Automatic Tourbillon such as the bridges, the bridge screws, the baseplate and the rotor core. The CRMT4 movement that drives the RM 40-01 introduces the mechanism’s first power reserve display as well as the oversize date and function selector complications, all of which are firsts at Richard Mille for an in-house tourbillon.
Richard Mille says the entirely new movement architecture demanded a remarkable 8,600 hours of development, much of which went into finalizing the extreme level of detail.
To reflect the 106 McLaren Speedtails manufactured, 106 RM 40-01 Automatic Tourbillon McLaren Speedtail watches are planned.