Richard Mille RM016 04

Richard Mille RM 016 Automatic Extra-Thin: Explosive in Daytona Mode

Richard Mille has managed to mix traditional, decorated and state-of-the-art in one watch with the RM 016 Automatic Extra-Thin. The unique piece is, however, in line with the brand's style.

By Rémy Solnon
Specialised journalist

Richard Mille recently introduced the RM 67-01 Automatic Extra-Thin at the SIHH 2016. Now it’s time for a little trip to discover the RM 016, the manufacture’s first ever extra-thin watch. The piece is worth the trouble, so much so as it brings into the picture the wonderful gardens of the "Château de Chantilly", designed by Le Nôtre, on the occasion of the prestigious Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille 2015. The Château is a very beautiful place and has gathered some of the world's most beautiful cars. Therefore, it suits this elegant and precious watch perfectly.

Richard Mille RM 016 Richard Mille RM 016 devant la Ferrari 365 GTB/4

It was the best place to organize a photoshoot of this elegant timepiece whose presentation-case and decorations evoke the legendary Ferrari 365 GTB/4. The car, aka the "Daytona" (its unofficial nickname) is a tribute to the 330 P4's victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1967. No surprise there because since the first RM 001 was introduced, cars have been constantly present in the brand's work. Said association earned the brand’s pieces the nickname "F1 of watchmaking" because of their sporty lines and their typically Formula 1 materials (ceramic, titanium, and carbon nanofiber). In its ultimate quest for perfection, in 2004, Richard Mille asked Brazilian F1 driver Felipe Massa to wear a different watch for each Grand Prix in order to test them in the confines of a moving single-seater and thus prove the extent of their shock resistance. Their partnership is today still active.

Richard Mille RM 016 Richard Mille RM 016 au porté

In 2007, Richard Mille created a buzz by revealing the result of its first incursion into extra-thinness. And it was a master stroke: the RM 016 automatic extra-thin was a trendy yet traditional and timeless piece. As a flagship of new-generation watchmaking, Richard Mille presented here its own vision of extra-thin watches. It should be remembered that the manufacture was the first to try its hand at ultra-light watches with the RM 009 it released in 2005. At the time, it was the world's lightest tourbillon watch with a case-movement assembly that weighed less than 30 grams.

Richard Mille RM 016 Richard Mille RM 016

The RM 016 Automatic Extra-thin writes a new chapter in the brand's history by inaugurating a slim rectangular case that is new for the brand yet is a smart reinterpretation of its iconic tonneau-shaped case. And so, the RM 016 still irrevocably reminds us of a Richard Mille watch, thanks to the 12 spline grade 5 titanium screws and its crown equipped with a conical cabochon. The medium-sized 49.8 x 38-mm case stands out due to its incredible thinness; only 8.25 mm. Its taut lines are slightly curved like those of the long hood of the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 designed by Pininfarina; thus, it fits the wrist perfectly and ensures comfort. It took more than 200 different operations to shape and assemble the three parts of the case.

Richard Mille RM 016 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona

The two-sided antireflective sapphire dial features the brand's signature codes with its large white numerals and its semi-instantaneous date placed at 7 o'clock. It offers an unhindered view of the assembly of the skeletonized movement with high-end finishes, revealing platinum and bridges in PVD-treated titanium or Titalyt. The self-winding RM 005S also features the exclusive titanium and palladium rotor, whose variable geometry helps to adapt the winding to the user’s movements. It provides a comfortable 55-hour power reserve double barrel system which helps improve the stability of the couple in the long run.

Richard Mille RM 016 Richard Mille RM 016

All in all, this exceptional piece is striking due to its elegant, balanced and contemporary style that will surely bring its lucky owner some attention. In 2010, the RM 016 became the RM 017 with the embedding of a hand-wound tourbillon movement in the middle of the extra-thin case. Only 8.70 mms thick, it is one of the thinnest tourbillon watches ever created.

Richard Mille RM 016

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