Richard Mille RM 56-01 Sapphire Crystal Tourbillon

Richard Mille RM 056 - The quest for the all-sapphire

With the complicity of Rob Kitto, manager of the Richard Mille boutique in Geneva, Watchonista is shooting one of the rarest Richard Mille pieces, his tourbillon sapphire manufactured in only 5 copies.

By Joel Grandjean

Notwithstanding the fact that you would need a financial surface exceeding a million Swiss francs, this timekeeper is rather difficult to approach. This is so as this split-time counter RM 056 tourbillon chronograph with flyback-hand is manufactured in only 5 copies. On the occasion of the Geneva stay of one of these pieces, which crystallizes both the particularities of a talking piece and the expectations of some aficionados collectors, the Watchonista team, with all its lenses in the open, has indulged in a moment of photographic connivance. In some ways a private trial.

Richard Mille RM 56-01 Sapphire Tourbillon

Richard Mille and the grail of limpidity

Transparency remains the key word of this micromechanical feat, conjugated, on the background of materials knowledge, in the all-sapphire mode. To begin with, each component of the tripartite case – bezel, middle and back – is created from a sapphire unit, exemplarily machined and cut in mass, then a calibre with double platinum manual winding, the Richard Mille RM056, where the exemplary workmanships remind that the Richard Mille house has made itself an excellent reputation in the world of skeletization and construction. Remember how it paid tribute to Boucheron through the studies of the RM 018.


Richard Mille RM 56-01 Sapphire Tourbillon
To obtain as much light as possible, Richard Mille lays its tourbillon movement on a sapphire plate. A movement which has hours and minutes, two indicators, one for the power reserve of approximately 70 hours, the other for the ideally defined torque between 53 and 65 dNmm, respectively at 11 and 2 hours, as well as a function selector at 4 hours. The lightness of titanium, which participates in the legend of the watchmaker, is celebrated by the rest of the construction.

Richard Mille RM 56-01 Sapphire Tourbillon

Mastering sapphire with the RM 056 case

More than 40 days of machining, 24 hours a day, on a specific CNC machine dedicated to sapphire and functioning in the shops of the important specialist of this material, the Stettler house in Lyss.

Richard Mille RM 56-01 Sapphire Tourbillon

Without saving on water-resistance to 30 meters, thanks to two transparent Nitril O-rings assembled around the RM 56-01 calibre via 24 grade 5 titanium spline screws! As for the wristlet, in collaboration with Biwi, it extends the concept of this exclusive transparency by the innovative use of the Aerospace nano®, a material which profits from nanotechnology to put on a kind of invisibility cape while claiming its total resistance.

Richard Mille RM 56-01 Sapphire Tourbillon
The most exciting of all is that this piece is worn like a charm. Whatever angle is chosen, we see through without these backward-looking deformations to which the polymers had made us used to. The idea of Richard Mille, stating that a watch should fall within cantilever with the notion of perceived value, that it must be so light to wear that it may be forgotten, finds a visual continuation in the expression of this transparency set up in the quest for the all-sapphire.

Richard Mille RM 56-01 Sapphire Tourbillon Hands-on

Technical transparencies:

21’600 alternations per hour (3Hz). Balance with varying inertia, for an improvement of the chronometrical measures on the long run. Barrel with rapid rotation, a turn in 6 hours instead of 7,5 hours which guarantees the best regularity-performance ratio.

Ratchet barrel with gradual recoil for a jump 20% improved, especially when the spring is less wound. Hand-setting mechanism situated on the back side and modular.

Hand-setting system by rolling laid-out at the back of the movement. Balance with 2 arms and 4 Glucydur adjusting screws, Spiral in ELINVAR of Nivarox, jewels set in white gold settings, 28 rubies. Sapphire dial (0.40 mm in thickness), treated anti-reflection on both sides, protected by 8 silicon clamps inserted in the superior and inferior grooves of the flange.

Richard Mille RM 56-01 Sapphire Tourbillon

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