Richard Mille’s first watch from its McLaren-Honda F1 partnership incorporates a brand new, graphene-based material
Richard Mille has launched the RM 50-03 McLaren F1, an ultra-light split-seconds tourbillon chronograph. It comes almost a year after Mille – a known car enthusiast – announced a decade-long partnership with the McLaren-Honda F1 team.
The RM 50-03 McLaren F1 is the first watch to emerge from the collaboration, and Richard Mille is initially focussing on the materials side of F1 racing. The watch is ultra-light, weighing in at 40g including the strap, thanks to the inclusion of graphene, or Graph TPT.
It’s a material that McLaren-Honda is working on incorporating into its cars, and its appearance in a watch case is thanks to the combined energies of McLaren Applied Technologies and North Thin Ply Technology.
The University of Manchester also helped with the collaboration – it’s where professors Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov isolated graphene and won the 2010 Nobel Prize in physics for their work.
Graphene is a very light nano-material that is two-dimensional and two hundred times stronger than steel. It’s also an allotrope of carbon, meaning that the same elements are bonded differently – diamond and graphite are two other allotropes of carbon.
Graph TPT has made its way into the three-part case as an improved form of Richard Mille’s Carbon TPT, which is still used along with Grade 5 titanium in the skeletonised movement.
Graphene is also present in the rubber strap, made by BIWI S.A, and has the effect of improving both elasticity and resistance to wear and tear.
Other F1 design cues appear on the dial: at the top, a wishbone-shaped transverse cage supports the entire RM50-03 calibre as well as the barrel and tourbillon bridges. Decorated in red, yellow and green, its shape is inspired by the wishbone suspension structure of a McLaren-Honda car.
The chronograph pushers are designed to resemble the car’s air intake ducts, while the outermost part of the crown is modelled after racing competition wheel rims.
Just 75 pieces will be released, priced at £996,500 including tax. The word on the ground at SIHH is that all pieces have already been sold.
For more information on the RM 50-03 McLaren F1, visit here.