The Iceman Gets A Very Cool Watch: The New Richard Mille RM50-04 Tourbillon Split-Seconds Chronograph
Ahead of this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix, Richard Mille launched a new timepiece in collaboration with Alfa Romeo Racing driver Kimi Räikkönen, aka the 'Iceman.'
Known for his iconically concise answers, the 2007 F1 Champion Kimi Räikkönen finally has a watch bearing his name, a piece which honors him and Alfa Romeo Racing Team. The new Richard Mille RM50-04 Tourbillon Split-Seconds Chronograph. Let's hit the grid!
Kimi started his Formula One career back in 2001 with Swiss Racing Team Sauber (renamed Alfa Romeo in 2019). After his tests drive with the team in 2000, Kimi was signed by Peter Sauber on the spot. However, the FIA (International Automobile Federation) initially refused to grant him a "Super License" because he only had 23 races to his name. But, after a lot of convincing, he was granted the license and scored his first Championship point on his debut at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix.
From 2002 to 2006, Kimi raced for McLaren. Unfortunately, his time with the team was marred by multiples engine failures. Despite this, Kimi scored nine wins with the British racing team. Nonetheless, he showed impressive racing skill, even challenging multiple champion Michael Schumacher. In 2003, he finished the championship in 2nd place just after Schumacher and was quickly seen as a rising star in Formula 1.
Leaving Mclaren in 2007 for Ferrari was a blessing for Kimi as he started the season with a win at the Australian Grand Prix. The Scuderia had a more reliable car, and it was perfect for Kimi's nimble talent on the circuit. Scoring 15 podiums and six first places, he became F1 Champion in 2007, in front of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.
In 2010, Kimi took a break from F1 to try new racing activities such as NASCAR and Rally. But he quickly returned to Formula 1 in 2012 with Lotus; he ended 3rd in the championship on his return year.
Going back to Ferrari in 2014, Kimi didn't have a great first year, finishing 12th in the championship. However, he returned to form the following year, finishing in 4th and 3rd place in the following years. In his last season with Ferrari in 2018, Kimi only scored one win, at the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas which I had the chance to witness and I quickly became a Kimi fan.
This year, Kimi decided to go back to his roots with the Alfa Romeo Racing Team, stressing the fact that he now races more for leisure than winning: "I no longer feel the same pressure, and I can just have fun at the wheel. That's what I enjoy doing, even if I'm still concentrated on doing my best to achieve the result that the car deserves."
Kimi also became an internet phenomenon thanks to his legendary reserved disposition and the fact that he keeps his cool in any circumstance, for which he gained the nickname "Iceman." Also, as a bonus point, his in-car radio conversations with the Alfa Romeo team are priceless (view HERE).
The former Sauber Racing team is the only Swiss team in Formula 1. Founded in 1970 by Peter Sauber, it's the perfect example of hard work and perseverance. Indeed, if Peter had taken the easy route, he would be running his parent's traffic light business. He founded Sauber C1 (C is for his wife, Christiane) in his parent's basement. He went from World Sportscar Championship to Formula 1 in 1993. Following a promising sponsorship and technical deal, and this year, Sauber was renamed Afla Romeo Racing.
Sauber has attracted some of the best talents in Formula 1, from Kimi to Charles Leclerc, multiple drivers have raced with the Swiss Team. Known for their reliability and their avant-garde cars fitted with Ferrari engines, Alfa Romeo is a team that should not be overlooked.
Should you be a Formula 1 driver, Richard Mille might be the best brand to have as a sponsor. Since all Richard Mille sponsored drivers get a watch, and if you're important like Kimi Räikkönen you get your own limited edition.
For the RM50-04, Richard Mille went the extra mile, paying homage to the world of F1, the manufacturer built the timepiece in the same analytical engineering manner that an F1 team would use to build a car. Everything in the watch has been constructed and assembled in perfect harmony.
In an F1 car, every ounce of added weight can affect performance. Richard Mille took this point very seriously making the chronograph tourbillon movement with a total weight of 7 grams. To make this featherlike weight possible, Richard Mille created the caliber and tourbillon out of grade-5 titanium and Carbon TPT. The caseback is engraved with the number 7, which is Kimi's number.
The weight of this manually wound tourbillon split-seconds chronograph does not affect its accuracy. If you doubt this, you can check the torque indicator, that will indicate the mainspring tension. The crown gives homage to a car’s gearbox, with the possibility to see the winding, neutral, and hands positions when the crown is pulled out.
To make sure the watch would be suitable for a race, Richard Mille put the timepiece through tests worthy of an F1 car; the watch is capable of handling up to 5,000 G's!!
Kimi couldn't hide his excitement about the timepiece made especially for him: "We in Finland are known for our "guts" and determination. We even have a word for it – sisu. However, in my sport, sisu is not enough. I have to rely on high-performance technology and team-work but most of all, though, there has to be sheer passion! Richard Mille has powered his own engine for years with all three of these: guts, technological prowess and above all fun. That's why I am more than happy to be at the wheel with the ground-breaking RM 50-04 on my wrist."
A tourbillon escapement is paired nicely with the chronograph, adorned with the skeletonization of the movement visible through the sapphire glass, transforming this timepiece into the perfect chronograph for the Iceman.
With a power reserve of 70 hours and limited to just 30 pieces, we know that there will be only 29 available since one will accompany Kimi during every race weekend. It can be yours for $1,063,000.
Overall, the RM50-04 a great novelty from Richard Mille, and as Ron Dennis said, "If you wanna win, get the Finn."
(Photography provided by Richard Mille)