Let me put it this way – I am not a big fan of big bulky watches that exist just because for no actual reason. And while the RM025 is a monster of a watch it has a very particular purpose – diving; and the size along with everything about it makes perfect sense in the end. Having said that I would not recommend you to actually dive at 300m with a watch worth over 700’000 CHF if you are as bad of a diver as I am :) Now, that we got this out of the way let’s get to the actual timepiece and reasons why it costs so much and what makes it so special.
Richard Mille RM025 is no average diver’s watch and I think you can see it straight away. I’ll start with the most obvious one – there is a tourbillon function to the watch, and the tourbillon is located at 6 o’clock of the dial, but as everything else about the RM025 it is no ordinary tourbillon. First of all the balance wheel is equipped with a ‘variable inertia’. The word ‘inertia’ by itself means resistance to motion of the object, and in the balance wheel it is used to resist shock and various movements (like a shark trying to bite off your wrist) making it more practical for an extreme lifestyle of a diver or any athlete. But innovation doesn’t end there – everything in the movement, even the balance spring, was created for maximum reduction of gravity centre shifting and friction of the movement parts.
That brings me to the next point – the material use. If you ever held this beast you would know that it is extremely light (especially for a diver’s watch) and that is of course thanks to the materials used. But not only the case of the RM025 is made of carbon (even though it also comes in white or rose gold) – the baseplate was manufactured out of carbon nanofibre and that’s not something you would see in every watch. However due to the lightness of the watch one would assume it’s not that waterproof. And one would be wrong if one would take one quick look at the bezel and see not one but 22(!) screws all connecting 3 layers of the bezel to the case. The fact that the bezel is screwed in (and not tensioned while under water) also allows the wearer to adjust the watch without any discomfort.
And as we are talking about the materials I definitely should mention the strap that from a first glance looks like a simple rubber one, but in fact is yet another innovation by Richard Mille in the world of horology. The material is called ‘perfluoroelastomer Kalrez’ and I’ll only say it once (as it took me around 5 minutes to spell it right) – it makes our regular rubber straps look like cassette players next to an iPod… Its properties allow the material not to be affected by any sort of chemical, UV light, or even heat (up to 327 degrees Celsius), keeping the contamination level to minimum. It has already been used in spheres like pharmaceuticals or aeronautics, but no one has ever thought of applying it to the watchmaking industry.
Alright, now that we know this watch is extremely durable and resistant let’s take a quick look at the functionality. Apart from the tourbillon that we have already mentioned the RM025 also features a chronograph with the central seconds and a subdial minute indicator at 3 o’clock. The chronograph, in fact, also is not your average one – the column wheel was developed and constructed specifically for this model in order to ensure perfect control of all levers and maximum durability of the function. Another odd thing about it is the location of the pushers – instead of our usual 2 and 4 o’clock we get 8 and 10, which (if you think about it) is actually much more convenient, especially for a diver’s watch, where you need the crown to be on its own without anything else getting in the way of winding or time setting. Another useful function is the torque indicator. Torque by definition is a force that causes rotation (thank you, Google) so the torque indicator would tell you whether the tension on the spring is high or not. This can help you see if your watch is operating well – the indicator is located between 12 and 1 o’clock. And between 12 and 11 o’clock is yet another numerical indication telling you the power reserve (of around 60 hours).
Now last but definitely not least, for a watch meant for diving purposes is the functions indication located at around 5 o’clock. It will tell you whether the crown is in the winding, neutral or time setting position. That actually brings me to yet another point about the numeral indication – if you are underwater (fighting sharks or looking for treasure – because that’s how I imagine divers) time should be fairly easy to read, even with such a busy dial, as the numerals are very large and numbers on the bezel have a very distinctive white (or in the gold-case version red) colour from 0 to 15 minutes – it’s nice that Richard Mille has thought all of the little details like these through, and in the end we got the ultimate diver’s watch.
However all of the technicalities and descriptions aside I still have one question – who would be brave enough to go diving in a limited edition of 3 pieces watch well over half a million euros?! :) While you think of the answer (hint – 3 bravest guys in the world) I’d like to thank you all for baring with me till the end, and Tom London for modelling the watch along with his awesome card magic!