By Kien Lee
Richard Mille has taken one of the most expressive hand gestures, the devil's horn in which the index and pinky fingers are raised as the thumb holds down the ring and middle fingers, as the centerpiece identity for its latest novelty, the RM-66 Manual Winding Flying Tourbillon.
Heir to centuries of diverse traditions, beliefs and superstitions, the horn has become a cultural, social and even political phenomenon. Today, it symbolises kinship and inclusion, with a pinch of rebellion and darkness, or on the outstretched arm of a guitarist as he riffs his instrument in the concert.
The skeletal hand is created by teams overseen by Olivier Vaucher, a renowned Genevan engraver, tcrafted in 5N red gold and attached to the barrel bridge. Microblasted, polished and finished entirely by hand, each component is the result of extremely careful craftsmanship.
And whilst the devil's horn sits in the middle, the other showcase feature positioned at 12 o’clock is the flying tourbillon, a complex regulating mechanism. The distinctive feature of the so-called ‘flying’ tourbillon is that its cage is assembled without an upper bridge, creating the impression of weightlessness, and offering perfect visibility.
The free-sprung balance offers better reliability in the event of shocks or movement assembly and disassembly, and also guarantees better chronometric results over an extended period of time. The regulator index is eliminated, and a more accurate and repeatable calibration is possible thanks to 4 small, adjustable screws located directly on the balance.
This timepiece comes in a tripartite tonneau-shaped case, fully curved allowing the watch to be ergonomic and comfortable - the production of which is highly complex and requires a high level of quality control.
The bezel and caseback are machined from Carbon TPT®, an exclusive material with a unique damascene appearance. Carbon TPT® is composed of multiple layers of parallel filaments obtained by dividing carbon fibres. These layers, with a maximum thickness of 30 microns, are impregnated with matrix then woven on a special machine that modifies the direction of the weft by 45° between layers. Heated to 120°C at a pressure of 6 bars, the Carbon TPT® is then ready to be processed on a CNC machine at Richard Mille’s factory. Carbon TPT® improves the rate of occurrence of breaking stresses by 25% and of micro-cracks by 200% compared to other technically advanced forms of carbon material.
The caseband is in grade 5 titanium with 5N red gold polished inserts.
The tripartite case is water resistant to 50 metres, ensured by 2 Nitril O-ring seals. The case is assembled with 20 spline screws in grade 5 titanium and abrasion-resistant washers in 316L stainless steel.
The RM 66 Flying Tourbillon is one of the brand’s most insubordinate watches, displaying the sign of the horns for all to see, the emblem of an entire generation, a way of thinking, of a state of mind.
Issued in a limited edition of 50 watches, it is an electrifying and dynamic timepiece right down to its finest details, fascinating for its spirit and a faithful reflection of the brand.