Richard Mille Alexis Pinturault’s RM 035 Ultimate Edition
Skiing causes violent shocks to the watch, which nonetheless is becoming lighter. Marketing director, Tim Malachard, explains how.
After the ultra-light trilogy produced for Rafael Nadal, the RM 035, the RM 035-01 and the RM 035-02, last month Richard Mille launched the RM 035 Ultimate Edition, so-named because it will be the last in the series. The number 4 has been a virtual second skin on Alexis Pinturault’s wrist since April 6th when Tim Malachard delivered it to him from the Breuleux factory in the Swiss Jura. “In the beginning, Alexis skied with an RM 010, and we then adapted a prototype of the Nadal that we had at Breuleux, and RM 035 in aluminium and magnesium that was therefore slightly less thick and much lighter. He took to it immediately and asked if he could keep it for his competitions, which he did for three years. After this he asked if it would be possible to make it even lighter. It was at that point that we developed this version in NTPT carbon (which stands for North Thin Ply Technology), a composite material that had never before been used in watchmaking and is both lighter and tougher. Its nano-layers of carbon are no more than 30 microns thick and are covered in resin and then structured in a highly sophisticated manner and heated under pressure. When Richard Mille says high tech he means it.
Chic but above all shock-proof
“The equipment worn by Alexis implies specific constraints: he wears a suit and gloves, so he needed a timepiece that was both light and robust to withstand shocks when his wrist hits the poles at more than 60 km/ hour during slalom. Sometimes the blows are so violent that the movement once stopped as a result of the impact, but the case withstood everything and the crown wasn’t torn off nor the crystal broken. It’s harder for the wristbands that he sometimes shatters altogether and we have made him a Velcro version.” The model in which the movement stopped was analysed at the factory so that we could understand what happened, as is the case with all the ambassadors’ models in other disciplines. “A skier has a far greater range of movement than a racing driver for example and we have understood that skiing shocks reach quite incredible proportions, compared to those that might occur during tennis, motor racing, golf or even polo. Our engineers have learned technical lessons with regard to reinforcing this Chronofiable calibre and which are useful for all future developments. But for Alexis above all, his new NTPT carbon watch is trimmer than ever and he can feel it even less than its predecessor.”
There is life after the Ultimate Edition
Whether they cover lifestyle, skiing or watchmaking beats, the few journalists selected to meet Alexis Pinturault during the specially organised press event at Courchevel were full of praise for the ski champion’s open, attractive personality. For Tim Malachard who has extended his sponsorship contract by three years, “Alexis has at least ten years ahead of him and there is no reason that we wouldn’t remain loyal”, as indeed has been the case with Filipe Massa since 2004. Into the bargain, the head of Richard Mille does not discount the possibility of designing a specific watch for Alexis Pinturault, because “we are aiming for the long term with him. It’s simple, he has his head squarely on his shoulders, he likes our brand and he is obsessed with technique. He also provides advice with regard to comfort and ergonomics.” Off the record, the brainstorming that takes place on Courchevel chairlifts also concern joint developments with regard to skiing. “We talk about a hundredth of a second for both Alexis and Richard Mille. He is also very sensitive to materials, and when it comes to his equipment supplier, Head, he works directly with the engineers, as we do with ours or those at McLaren for example” continues Tim Malachard. “There are engineers who are entirely dedicated to him at Head, in order to design skis for combined, slalom, downhill and Super G races – each of which have different criteria. He uses between 60 and 80 pairs of skis in a season and they guarantee him personalised technical support. At Richard Mille, we love that.”
Richard Mille did not simply try to find his place in the watchmaking world – he carved one out for himself, constantly striving not to take anything for granted, and to make innovation and extreme technical prowess his driving forces.Find out more >
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