Richard Mille RM002-V1 Tourbillon - White Gold
There are few success stories quite as exponential as the one of Richard Mille. From niche beginnings with immense ambitions to appearing on the wrist of sporting greats, music artists, and the whos who of Hollywood, Richard Mille has become the hottest watch brand culturally in the 21st century. Even more impressive is how it's taken a little over 20 years for its success to flourish into a singular embodiment of how modern watchmaking can maintain its allure in today's fast-paced world. Richard Mille was nearly fifty when he founded his namesake brand, with a prolific career in the industry being the keystone to its future success. With an evergrowing network during said career, Mille set out to forge his own path in 1999; a course made easier to navigate thanks to the talents of Giulio Papi and Dominique Renaud. Launched in 1986, these ex-Audemars Piguet employees founded Manufacture d'Horlogerie Renaud et Papi SA, a company specialising in the supply of watch complications. In the early 1990s, Audemars Piguet acquired a controlling interest in the company before it was renamed 'Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi (APRP)' – to this day, the company still works closely with Richard Mille.
Renaud and Papi were paramount in the realisation of Richard Mille, with the RM001 marking the first phase of their relationship. This piece outlined its core principles of linking to the automotive world via lightweight materials, hyper complications, and a totally fresh perspective on watchmaking, laser-focused on pure modernity. The RM001 was more of a proof of concept than full-scale production, crucially defining the brand's intended path – for example, the tourbillon movement demonstrated extreme shock resistance capabilities never seen before. The RM001 was groundbreaking, sending waves throughout the industry. In 2001, Richard Mille and Renaud et Papi SA refined the 001 for production on a larger scale: the RM002 was born.
With 'a racing machine on the wrist' as the brand's earliest slogan, the RM002 was a creation with a holistic approach to movement construction, dial implementation, distinct case design, and, most notably, its time-setting function. Rather than a pull-out crown with various positions, the RM002's crown is a push function selector with three different modes. Combined with its additional complications, it's no wonder this piece debuted to an outstanding reception and at a high retail price to match. Version 2 of the RM002 came to fruition in 2005, using carbon nanofiber for its dial. It is believed that only 75 pieces were produced of the original RM002-V1 model in three different metals: Platinum, rose gold, and white gold.
Crafted with an uncompromising commitment to robustness and rigidity, this RM002-V1 is ultra-high watchmaking free from comparison and packed with innovation. The RM002 played an instrumental role in defining all things Richard Mille, with the most ubiquitous trait throughout the entire catalogue being its industrial tonneau case design. Presented here in 18-carat white gold, the top is profoundly vertically brushed, only pausing for its eight screws and high polished anglage case edge. Its recessed body adds depth and gives this intricate piece its signature character. In total, 12 spline screws in titanium hold the tripartite case together, with three Nitril O-ring seals ensuring 50m of water resistance.
In more ways than one, the RM002-V1 carries a dimensionality, with the most tangible being the various levels of depth throughout its dial. The coated titanium main plate at the base yields a lightly grained texture in a muted black/grey tone. It's an ideal canvas for the complex mechanics it houses, but more on that in a moment. The second layer comes in the form of a clear crystal where digitalised crisp white numerals and the power reserve and torque meter scales create a floating illusion. Finally, the periphery of the face is a tonneau-shaped ring where round hour marker dots sit, just below the curved crystal above.
In reality, further depth is accomplished due to the baseplate housing essential aspects of this spectacular movement. It could be said that the definitive line between where the dial stops and the movement begins is debatable, as both elements are seamlessly at one. At the top, a power reserve indicator and a torque meter are simultaneously integrated and poetically sit above the industrial mainspring barrel. Scaling down the right side of the dial is the spectacularly visual motion work system with the gradual step up in gear positions, ultimately reaching the classic Richard Mille handset. Meanwhile, the lower half of the dial may have one dominating and noticeable feature, but the element next to it sets the piece even further apart. The unavoidable tourbillon at the centre is suspended via skeletonised bridges made from grade 5 titanium, with the adjacent 4:30 position housing the genius function selector. See, a traditional pull-out and set crown maintains an element of vulnerability that Richard Mille aimed to mitigate with this clutch-based configuration. The crown utilises a button at the crown centre with three positions denoted on the dial. N represents neutral, W is selected when seeking to wind the watch and H for time setting. This approach delivers a reliable and risk-free interaction with the timepiece, further demonstrating the brand's robust and innovative complexities while aligning with its motorsports inspiration.
Regarded as the watch that launched the brand to its unprecedented lofty heights, the RM002-V1 is the quintessence of their philosophy, with extravagant innovation around every corner.
Possessing the same name as the watch itself is the Calibre RM002-V1. This manual wind tourbillon movement features a power-reserve and torque indicator, as well as a first: the aforementioned function selector. Visible through the watch's front and back, this calibre vibrates at 21,600 vph, is adjusted to five positions, and has a running time of 78 hours. The movement is mounted on chassis mounting rubbers (ISO SW) and is fixed by four titanium screws. Visible through the watch's caseback is the keyless work system providing a unique view of the inner workings of this high standard of movement. The movement uses ARCAP alloys for its centre bridges to deliver a higher degree of rigidity – this proprietary group of alloys is also free from iron which means they're not magnetic. Hand finished, with black polishing and frosting throughout, this is a superlative example of high-end watchmaking.
How It Wears
If you're familiar with how a Richard Mille fits on the wrist, then you'll be pleased to know that this RM002-V1 is incredibly wearable; business as usual. For those unfamiliar, let us explain. The tonneau shape of the case, combined with its curvature and matching crystal, conforms to the wrist for maximum comfort. At 45mm x 38.3mm, it is by no means an understated watch, but it's also not monstrously large. Despite its outstanding level of elaborate watchmaking, dial's grey tones, titanium preference, and industrial execution, it has a casual aura. At a glance, it's another prevalent Richard Mille, but its imposing importance is unmistakable for those in the know.
The Richard Mille RM002-V1 Tourbillon is offered complete with its box, warranty papers, Richard Mille rubber strap as well as being fitted to a new Richard Mille black velcro strap. The watch is in good condition with small signs of wear.
If you desire to take a closer look at this precious timepiece, don't hesitate to contact us and make an appointment. We are based in Ghent, Belgium.
|45mm x 38,3mm
|Richard Mille black velcro strap