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Saturday, July 12, 2014

$2 Million Richard Mille RM 56-02 Sapphire Tourbillon

Cutting edge watchmaker, Richard Mille, has introduced the RM 56-02 Sapphire Tourbillon with a new movement. It will be unveiled at the Watches & Wonders event in Hong Kong in late September but here is an early look at the luxury brand’s latest example of extreme horology. It is reportedly priced at just over $2 million and is limited to 10 examples worldwide.

This new piece incorporates the same sapphire case design and sapphire baseplate, bridges and third wheel of its previous two models, the RM 56 and RM 56-01, and took cues from the mechanical architecture of the cabled suspended movement in its highly acclaimed RM 27-01 Rafael Nadal. 

The baseplate of the RM 56-02, created from grade 5 titanium, is entirely suspended within the sapphire watchcase by a single braided cable of 0.35mm thickness, woven within a system of four pulleys on posts at the movement’s corners and another six pulleys placed along the movement’s periphery. The tension of the cable is controlled by a miniature ratchet at 9 o’clock. This entire cable unit is attached to a separate indicator located below 12 o’clock so the cable tension is easily seen.

Other parts of the movement have also been optimized for transparency. In this case Richard Mille’s engineers have added to the previous use of sapphire movement parts in the Rafael Nadal watch with a new design of a winding barrel bridge, tourbillon and center bridges in sapphire. 

The three-part ergonomically curving sapphire case of the RM 56-02, designed to hug the wrist, is milled and ground from blocks of solid sapphire by Stettler in Lyss, Switzerland. It took 40 days of 24/7 continuous machining in order to produce one case followed by 400 hours of machining and finishing for the different movement bridges.

The case of the RM 56-02, with anti-glare protection on both front and back bezels, is waterproof to 30 meters due to two transparent nitrile O-rings assembled with 24 spline screws in grade 5 titanium. The partially translucent strap created from Aerospace Nano by Biwi SA, exclusively for Richard Mille, provides a silky and almost organic responsiveness to the skin that complements the ergonomic attributes of the RM 56-02 on the wrist, the company said. 

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