Richard Mille Expands the RM 65-01 Automatic Split Seconds Chronograph

Richard Mille Expands the RM 65-01 Automatic Split Seconds Chronograph Line with a Quartz TPT Version

This new execution of what is probably Richard Mille’s most racing-aligned model is pushing the pedal that much closer to the (non)metal using next-gen materials.

By Mike Espindle
Executive Editor

Here is a picture of a GT race car steering wheel (which also happens to be a 2020 Porsche 911 RSR):

Here is a picture of the RM 65-01 from Richard Mille made from titanium:

Is there any denying that the watchmaker’s alignment with and inspiration from racing isn’t merely spot on? After all, the connection between racing and the RM 65-01 line is not just the colors. It’s not just the excitement, technicality, or the directionality of its presentation.

That is because, just as an advanced race car steering wheel is all about legible, tactile access to option selections in the heat of a lap, the RM65-01 has as many pushbuttons, gauged indicators, and touch-and-feel technical elements as you’d find in the pits at a Grand Prix race. Not to mention a horological engine that is second to none.

So, while we’ve had a few years to digest the RM 65-01’s high-velocity beauty in Carbon TPT, 5N red gold, and titanium, the new grey Quartz TPT version only recently joined the fleet. And it is a perfect addition to the livery.

The Engine

Richard Mille makes no bones about calling this automatic split-second chronograph “the most complex timepiece to ever leave the workshop,” so it’s a good thing we’re not ones to quibble.

The skeletonized Calibre RMAC4 movement, created in partnership with Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, boasts, among other perks:

• A 6-column wheel architecture that ensures ultra-efficient split-seconds chronograph function (virtually eliminating the initial “jump” of the chronograph seconds hand);
• A 60-hour power reserve (without the chronograph running);
• A rapid 5Hz frequency for precision; and,
• A 1/110th-of-a-second timing measurement (ideal for multiple-interval split-second racing timing)

The central chrono sweep seconds hand has an orange arrow; the split-seconds hand has a blue arrow; and the pushers at 2 (start/stop) and 4 o’clock (reset) perform the traditional chronograph tasks. Meanwhile, the pusher at 10 o’clock allows you to stop the split-seconds hand to get a reading (again, to an accuracy of 1/110th of a second) even when the chronograph is still engaged.

Moreover, if you engage the 10 o’clock pusher a second time, the split-seconds hands will rejoin the primary chronograph hand. Totalizers at 3 o’clock (30 minutes) and 9 o’clock (12 hours) handle the longer-term tallying, and a small seconds indicator rides at 6 o’clock.

That pusher at 8 o’clock? That takes us to the RM 65-01’s next special feature, which is, of course, included in the new Quartz TPT execution.

Manual Gearbox

The RMAC4 movement is a highly efficient automatic calibre. In fact, a new variable geometry rotor comprising a grade 5 titanium central flange, multiple weight segments (one of which is platinum), brass wings, and ceramic ball bearings maxes out every rotor swing for optimal winding.

Of course, while manual winding from the crown is also possible, RM’s designers have added another very tech-cool winding method: The so-called “rapid winding mechanism” lives on the 8 o’clock pusher. So, if you need to juice up your watch quickly, 125 pumps will refuel the tank of the barrel to the top.

Further adjustments to the “gearbox” are selectable from the center button of the crown. You can switch between traditional crown-winding (W), semi-instantaneous date adjustment (D), and time-setting (H) modes with the active mode displayed in a colorful crescent mini-gauge in the lower right corner of the dial. The date is displayed in an out-of-the-box vertically stacked window in the opposite corner of the dial.

All of this complexity has been tested by Richard Mille using a battery of shock-and-drop, accelerated aging simulation, waterproof, and magnetic resistance trials. And all of this complexity is visible, front and back, in the watchmaker’s signature top dial transparent approach and an uninterrupted caseback view to a virtual cathedral of movement components: wet sand-blasted, PVD and electro plasma-treated titanium; hand anglage and polished finishing; burnished pivots; undercut pinions; and sand-blasted, rhodium-plated and chamfered wheels.

The Body

The grey Quartz TPT version is the latest addition to the RM 65-01 family and brings with it a slightly different blue, orange, and yellow colorway than its siblings. However, that said, the entire line (the existing Carbon TPT, 5N red gold, and titanium models) deserves a thorough review.

Quartz TPT comprises layers of filaments, no thicker than 45 microns, that are stacked at 45-degree angles, heat-cured, pressure set, then machined to create the case. Thus, delivering a modern take on a striated Damascus steel look, the grey Quartz TPT 44mm x 49.9mm tonneau case reads as almost steel-toned on the wrist, with the fiber striations and matte finish softening that metallic quality and creating a lighter, more eye-catching, almost stone-like package.

Interestingly, Carbon TPT is produced by the same process (for the most part) as Quartz TPT. The most obvious difference is that the Carbon TPT version of the RM 65-01 sports the menacing black you expect from carbon fiber construction.

What the brushed 5N red gold executions add in weight, it more than makes up for in savoir-faire and style, with the bright gold tone playing as well with the racing-color-inspired details as the other models. In titanium, the 65-01 Split Seconds Chronograph achieves a perfect balance between metallic automotive authenticity and the weight and durability benefits of the TPT options.

Still, no matter which version gets your motor running, park any of these on a black rubber strap with repeated dual-across venting (think a vented sports car hood), and you’re wearing an ode to the intersection of horology’s cutting-edge and the free-wheeling spirit of modern racing on your wrist.

Pricing & Availability

As is its occasional practice, Richard Mille is being a bit cagey about the new Quartz TPT RM 65-01’s pricing and limited edition nature, providing only the phrase “beyond limited edition” in its press materials.

That said: We’ve spotted some unverified pricing ranging from $353,000 to $350,000. So, your guess is as good as ours. Your mileage may vary, but your starting line should be the Richard Mille website.

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RM 65-01 Collection — RICHARD MILLE