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The Millennium Watch Book
Richard Mille - Useful Technical Prowess

Richard Mille Useful Technical Prowess

Discover this exclusive extract from the Millenium Watch Book.RM032 Diver Flyback Chronograph

Dive watches must address a cruel dilemma: meeting basic requirements in a straightforward, efficient way to ensure divers’ safety, whilst at the same time constantly including the kind of innovative solutions that are so crucial to watchmakers winning over more aficionados. Richard Mille’s RM 032 Diver Flyback Chronograph strikes the perfect balance, being both simple and effective — as well as new and creative.

Something else entirely

You don’t need to be a highly skilled diver to see at first glance that the RM 032 doesn’t resemble a traditional dive watch. Forget the usual black dial, and indeed the dial itself: the RM 032 doesn’t have one. Forget the usual sobriety of a dive watch, its traditional steel case and ‘HMS’ (hours, minutes and seconds) indications, too: the RM 032 has done away with them as well, making every effort to throw out the traditional style guide and impose its own, while asserting a highly technical, exclusive, and unique identity — in a nutshell, the Richard Mille ethos. 

The first thing to note is that to ensure the dial is visible underwater, Richard Mille doesn’t do things by halves, unashamedly adopting an imposing diameter of 50 millimetres. The RM 032 is a professional diving instrument and its extra-large format leaves no doubt in that respect. 

Useful Technical Prowess

RM 032 © Richard Mille

A complex and sophisticated case

The second noteworthy point is that the brand offers three different versions of its RM 032: in titanium, red gold, and TPT quartz, all certified water-resistant to 300 metres. This is achieved by means of a unique, three-piece architecture. In the world of watchmaking, the RM 032 case is one of the most complex ever produced. After one and a half hours of turning on the lathe, 830 milling operations over a period of nine hours are needed to create it. Machining alone requires almost 11 hours’ work.

Like any other ISO dive watch, the case is topped by a unidirectional bezel, with the first quarter of an hour indicated by three red hour-markers. This bezel alone comprises three parts, secured by 22 screws. The use of additional screw fixings to hold the bezel and case together delivers increased stability and prevents any unintended movement or loosenin

A new approach to the Mechanism

The third thing to note is that the RM 032 doesn’t simply offer traditional dive watch features: in addition to hours and minutes, it sports a flyback chronograph with a totaliser between 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock, an annual calendar with a large date display located at 12 o’clock, as well as a month indicator (in the form of numerals running from 1 to 12) located between 4 and 5 o’clock. The two wide hands mark off the hours and minutes. One of the slimmer hands is the chronograph’s gliding seconds hand, while the other is a jumping hand to count the minutes. 

The decision to include a chronograph is rather an unusual one: any pusher, including those needed for a chronograph, is a moving part and so liable to let water into the movement, not to mention the fact that it can be accidentally activated if knocked or touched inadvertently. 

To prevent this happening, Richard Mille has developed a second locking crown that is fully water-resistant to as deep as 300 metres. The crown and pushers are locked simply by rotating the ring, with green and red markers showing whether it’s secured or released. Compressing the related seals as much as possible also prevents the movement from being damaged due to overpressure or any impact on the winding crown, as well as improving watertightness still further; the locking crown mechanism used has been patented by the brand. 

While some may question the usefulness of a large date display on a dive watch, occasional use of the chronograph seems quite plausible: it might be triggered to time a decompression stop, say, alongside counting minutes on the graduated bezel, thus lowering the risk of any mistake to zero, Richard Mille having solved the problem of pusher watertightness that had previously tripped up most other brands. The only serious remaining problem for divers would be the watch stopping — but this risk has also been mitigated by creating a running indicator at 3 o’clock that takes the form of a luminous rotating disc. The RM 032 is coherent, efficient, unique and effective, offering a real breath of fresh air for the dive watch as it enters the 21st century. 

This year GMT Magazine and WorldTempus have embarked on the ambitious project of summarising the divers watch since 2000 in The Millennium Watch Book - Divers watch, a big, beautifully laid out coffee table book. This article is an extract. The Millennium Watch Book - Divers watch is available in both French and English here:

 

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