True Colors: Richard Mille’s RM 07-02 Automatic Sapphire Showcases A New Approach To The Jewelry Watch
Why would you want a plain, old gold watch case when you can have a colored, sapphire-studded, diamond-set one instead?
If there is anyone in the watch industry that likes playing with different materials, it is Richard Mille. He is famous for experimenting with everything from carbon nanotubes to gold-fused carbon and toughened ceramic in the creation of cases that are both aesthetically and technically inspiring.
A Feminine Approach To The Technical Side Of Watchmaking
For his latest women’s collection, the RM 07-02 Automatic Sapphire, Richard Mille replaces the traditional 18-karat gold case with an array of different colored sapphire options. Formed in a tonneau shape, these colored sapphire cases bring both transparency and a new type of sparkle to the ladies’ jewelry watch.
Colored Sapphire Cases
Creating colored sapphire crystal cases is a long and meticulous task. The process starts with a single block of colored crystal that has been carefully controlled to avoid imperfections (go inside the manufacture HERE). The next step is machining, which takes a staggering 40 hours to complete due to the hard and resistant nature of sapphire crystal. Like rubies, sapphire rates a 9 out of 10 on the Mohs scale, surpassed only by diamonds.
Once the shape is complete, and the case is inspected again to ensure that the color is uniform throughout, the gem setter will start to set the case by laser-cutting the material to insert the hand-polished, gold prongs that will hold the diamonds. The gem setting takes twice as much time as setting ceramic or Carbon TPT and requires micro-precision.
Dials and Diamonds
There are four colored cases to choose from that are paired with matching colored dials. Specifically, the green sapphire case comes with a nephrite dial, the blue model is fitted with a mother-of-pearl dial, the pink case comes with a jasper dial, and a transparent sapphire version is adorned with a full, diamond-paved dial.
The CRMA5 Caliber Decoration
The beauty of these striking exteriors carries over to the CRMA5 automatic movement, which comes in 18-karat rose gold for the pink version and 18-karat white gold for the other models. The baseplate and the bridges are also crafted from 18-karat gold and have been micro-blasted and beveled by hand. The baseplate is also decorated with hundreds of diamonds.
A Rotor With A Difference
The automatic rotor is of particular interest as it is not only gem-set but also includes a variable geometry feature allowing the timepiece to be adjusted according to its owner’s activity level. The setting is modified by regulating two weights that can be moved and fixed in place by spline screws. The inertia of the movement is increased when the two weights are closer to each other, thus allowing the barrel to wind more quickly. If the weights are positioned at the extremities of the rotor, the inertia is decreased, and the barrel winds more slowly.
Additional Features For Female Watch Geeks
There are some pretty cool additional features in the movement too. Including a fast-rotating barrel to increase performance (five hours per revolution instead of 7.5 hours), a gear-teeth profile with a 20-degree pressure angle for better transmission of torque to the balance wheel and superior chronometric results, and there is also a free-sprung balance with variable inertia, which again, translates into better timing precision.
A Work Of Art
“This watch is a complete work of art, because every detail has been consciously expressed and everything you see complements and supports every other part. When you look closer through the sapphire, you see all the details of the movement structure and finishing that have also been designed to be pleasing to the eye, as well as the fine diamond setting of the interior,” shares Richard Mille.
Sparkling And Serious
It is always a pleasure to see brands put as much effort into their women’s pieces as they do their men’s models. The RM 07-02 Automatic Sapphire brings ground-breaking mechanics, innovative materials, and cool design to the female wrist, and for that, I say thank you!
(Images provided by Richard Mille)