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Richard Mille - RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson

Richard Mille RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson

Through the roof pink!

Golf is an excellent testing ground for our watches because it is a sport that requires physical strength. On the wrist of a great hitter like Bubba Watson, a watch must be able to withstand the stresses of hard stops and drastic accelerations… These were all part of the considerations when designing the RM 38-02 — but not only…!

RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson

RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson © Richard Mille

‘I have been pushing Richard for a pink watch for ten years and here it is!’ said Bubba Watson on seeing the RM 38-02 for the first time.

Inspired by the audacity of the previous calibres signed Bubba Watson and by his ‘lucky’ colour, the RM 38-02 is built around a baseplate in Carbon TPT®, which comprises many layers of parallel carbon filaments. This material, omnipresent in the RM 38-02, is very demanding in terms of machining, both because of its hardness and because of the skeletonisation it is subjected to. As for the entire watch, many extensive tests were carried out on the baseplate to ensure that its skeletonisation in no way affected its mechanical properties. 

RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson © Richard Mille

The baseplate supports grade 5 titanium bridges providing the movement powerful dynamics. They firmly maintain the involute gear wheels and the tourbillon fitted with a variable-inertia balance. The open-work bridge incorporates two tubes that pass through the movement on either side. In grade 5 titanium and hand painted in the coveted pink colour, they further accentuate the general lines of the calibre. The colour is a nod to Bubba’s iconic Ping driver, and brings subtle touches of pink into the movement. This colour is also present on the back of the calibre on a monumental micro-perforated bridge, echoing the pattern on the head of the driver Bubba employs in competition. The assembly of these PVD-treated bridges does not afford the watchmaker even the slightest error. A clumsy gesture, the merest scratch on a part, and the component is simply binned. The nec plus ultra in rigour for ultra-performance.

Evolutions, both physical and technological, have greatly changed the face of golf over the ages. New training techniques mean these sportsmen are striking the ball ever further. The arrival of new construction processes, like the discovery of new materials have enabled the manufacture of clubs now at the cutting edge of technology. Considering that a golf ball today undergoes an acceleration of up to 50,000 g’s, it was critical to ensure that the RM 38-02 could withstand shocks of no less than 10,000 g’s. These volumes are staggering at the scale of a calibre some 9.19 mm thick. The engineers paid particular attention to its size to deliver both a strong architectural dimension, which expresses its complexity and the compactness necessary for its shock resistance.

RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson

RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson, savoir-faire © Richard Mille

Pink it is. There is no question but that the new RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson fits the brief. Inside and out, the watch and even the case are made of a unique pink Quartz TPT®, white Quartz TPT® and Carbon TPT®, to match Bubba’s quirky personality. The association of different colours and materials without merging them was a real technical challenge. However, this model embodies a wish close to Bubba’s heart from the first day of the partnership. A wish now fulfilled by this asymmetrical case, tapering between 2 and 5 o’clock and cancelling out any friction with the torque-limiting crown on the wrist. The open-work bezel provides visual power and accentuates the sportiness of this timepiece, while the Carbon TPT® and pink Quartz TPT® caseband provides that fantastic contrast of genres that ultimately defines the identity of this colourful watch. The RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson is the fourth watch of the collection bearing Bubba’s name over the sportsman’s 10 years with the Richard Mille family. Produced in an edition limited to 50 pieces, it’s pretty much the watchmaking equivalent of a hole in one.

RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson

RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson, savoir-faire © Richard Mille

The color pink

Pink is a colour that has fascinated Bubba since his childhood. Initially, it expressed his youthful desire to stand out from the crowd. Since then it has become his trademark, adorning his clubs, his golf balls, his signature driver and his clothes. Bubba also uses his iconic shade of pink to realise other dreams, increasing the visibility of causes he supports through his charitable commitments.

RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson

RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson © Richard Mille

Carbon TPT® and pink Quartz TPT® caseband

The caseband of the RM 38-02 holding in place the Carbon TPT® baseplate is made of the same material, here combined with pink Quartz TPT® fibres. It was no small technical challenge to combine the different colours and materials so subtly. To complete this piece, the notches on the caseband visually extend the openings on the bezel.

Asymmetrical case

Threads of silica no more than 45 microns in thickness are saturated with a pink matrix developed specifically for Richard Mille. They are then stacked by an automated depositing system that modifies the orientation of the fibres by 45° between white and pink layers of silica. The asymmetrical shape of the case ensures optimum comfort, preventing the dynamometric crown from rubbing against the wrist.

RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson

RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson © Richard Mille

Carbon TPT® Baseplate

Machining the openwork of this skeletonised plate is an engineering tour de force. A major component of the RM 38-02 this part was subjected to a battery of extreme tests to confirm its mechanical properties such as resistance to shocks of up to 10,000 g’s for the tourbillon calibre. 

RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson

RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson © Richard Mille

Grade 5 titanium bridges

The baseplate supports PVD-treated, grade 5 titanium bridges providing the movement with powerful dynamics. The minute bridge incorporates two rods that run through the movement on either side. Also made of grade 5 titanium and painted by hand, their lines visually accentuate the sense of power emanating from the calibre, as does the monumental micro-perforated bridge which recalls the motif adorning the head of Bubba’s driver.

RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson

RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson © Richard Mille

 

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