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Richard Mille: Wave of Innovation

December 10, 2014

A driving passion for high-tech innovation propels Richard Mille to answer questions that have never been asked - with astounding results.


Colin Chapman, the man behind the success of the legendary Lotus Motor Company, once famously decreed that the ultimate way to make a sports car go faster and handle better was to “add lightness,” a winning formula that countless automakers and racing teams have been following for decades.

It is fitting, then, that Richard Mille, the man behind one of the industry’s most exciting modern timepiece makers, comes from a background of high-tech material design and production. When Mille launched his namesake brand in 2001, he instantly made waves with his dynamic design and use of those same ultra-lightweight materials. Both visually outrageous and technically brilliant, his watches are an answer to the question of just how far modern watch design can go.

Rising Tide

The RM 60-01 Regatta Flyback Chronograph is in a league of its own. A first for the brand, the RM 60-01 is intended for use in the high-energy sport of sailboat racing Sailing watches, also commonly known as regatta or yacht timers, are a specialized type of chronograph used to time the countdown to the start of a regatta. Unlike auto racing, where drivers start from pre-determined places on a stationary grid, sailboats are in constant motion. At a predetermined time before the start of a regatta, captains begin jockeying their yachts into position with the goal of being as close to the starting line as possible when the gunshot signaling the start of the regatta rings out.

This chronograph counter allows a captain to anticipate the start of a yacht race. Specialized nautical watches have helped captains keep track of this countdown for decades, but never has the sport seen anything like this, as the RM 60-01 was designed from the ground up to be the ultimate expression of technical prowess for this intense sport.

Utilizing the titanium RMAC2 caliber, the RM 60-01 includes a minute counter for the chronograph at 9 o’clock that actually counts up and down simultaneously. As the inner disc turns, the 60 serves as a hand to count up the minutes on the green outer register. At the same time, the display can be read as a regatta countdown timer by using the yellow arrow, which indicates the minutes printed on the inner ring. Another technical breakthrough the RM 60-01 brings to the sport is its functionality as a navigational instrument. By using the UTC hand (Coordinated Universal Time), a geographical direction can be determined, enabling the wristwatch to function as a compass. To do this, use the UTC pusher at 8 o’clock to line up the red indicator with the sun and then rotate the engraved bezel to line up with the current local time. As a result, the bezel will display compass bearings (highlighted by large red indicators) for both the Northern (printed in green) and Southern (in white) hemispheres. In signature Richard Mille fashion, all of this technical functionality is presented in a distinctive and unmistakable package. From the large crown and rectangular pushers to the skeletonized dial with colorful accents, there is no mistaking this maritime marvel for anything else.

At Home on the Edge

If sailing isn’t your thing but you still appreciate the ingenuity that comes from Richard Mille’s performance-inspired design, don’t despair! The RM 11-02 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Dual Time Zone shares the same movement as the Regatta Flyback Chronograph, but sheds the nautical specialization in favor of a simplified design geared for daily wear.

The dial includes an unusual month display, framed in yellow and red,

The self-winding movement includes titanium components coated with black PVD, which are visible through the clear back. The titanium case, which is comprised of three main sections, comes in the brand’s familiar tonneau-shape.

An impeccable traveler’s watch, its prominent green-tipped hand indicates the hour in a second time zone. The watch also includes an annual calendar function, automatically adjusting the large date display to compensate for the irregular length of the months. The display requires a manual adjustment only once a year, when February turns to March. Nestled between the 4 and 5 on the dial, there is also a display for the month, a function not often seen with an annual calendar.

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