For 2011, a new tourbillon using precious stones is being added to the Richard Mille collection, a welcome addition for everyone who values a unique combination at the highest level of watch making with high quality jewelry.
The new RM 026 is a combination of esoteric sensibility and technical horology. The design and inspiration of this new tourbillon are fully grounded in the eternal themes of nature, Gaia and the passage of time.
For the RM 026, two creatures adorn its precious movement, writhing and searching within the tourbillon movement whilst simultaneously holding the tourbillon movement in place.
We can admire a ruby & diamond encrusted 18k white gold snake and an emerald & diamond encrusted 18k white gold snake with red coral tongue. But there are several other versions available of these coupled snakes, such as precious stones or semi-precious stones encrusted or engraved stones and even enameled bodies. It took many hours and extremely precise work to engrave by hand the scales of these two exceptional jewellery pieces. Each model created is a unique piece.
Serpents in mythology have complex roles that can be either good or evil. In connection with the positive properties of Black Onyx they however take on a protective role, representing the potent guardians of temples and other sacred places. Thus, they are natural guardians of treasures or sacred sites that are intimate and require protection.
The baseplate of the watch has been created of pure Black Onyx, a variety of cryptocrystalline quartz
chalcedony composed of siliceous dioxide, (SiO2). Onyx varieties with rectilinear black and white parallel stripes are actually a part of the agate family, whereas the fully black type is what one commonly calls true Black Onyx. This is a gemstone able to deflect and channel harmful energy towards the Earth, thus providing stability. Due to this ability, Black Onyx is considered a stone of protection against negative thoughts, as well being the stone of equilibrium and inspiration.
Keeping with the technical nature of all watches created by the brand, the RM 026 Tourbillon utilizes
a newly developed power reserve indicator that makes use of a differential gearing system, directly connected to the winding barrel. Via a red line etched on its surface, the direct turning of the 48 hours power reserve barrel allows the wearer to easily note if the watch requires winding. Coupled with an additional security system, a torque limiting crown, prevents any chance of accidental overwinding, which could possibly cause damage to the winding stem or exert extreme pressure on the mainspring barrel. The caliber RM026, with 21 jewels and beating at 3Hz, measures 30.20 mm x 28.60 mm while its thickness is only of 4.97 mm.
In the world of horology, the case of Richard Mille watches is currently considered as one of the most
difficult to manufacture. This tripartite tonneau-shaped case is fully curved, which enables the watch to be ergonomic and comfortable but is time consuming during its production and requires a high level of quality control. These front and rear curves are part of Richard Mille watch cases whatever their shape (tonneau, round, rectangular). They demand ultimate precision and no stress in the metal. The bezel side and the case back have to be perfectly assembled in the case middle with no constraint, to prevent the sapphires from any damage. These manufacturing specifications required one year of research and development.
The specific tonneau shape of the RM 026 requires 47 stamping operations including 21 for the forming. Tooling takes 4 hours and the RM 026 is obtained after 255 milling operations. The finishing process requires a full day for grinding, glazing and polishing. The tripartite case is water resistant to 50 meters.
An elegant and mysterious timepiece that unites the powers of Nature with the ingenuity of Fine
Watchmaking, the RM 026 Tourbillon represents the world of emotions behind Richard Mille’s thorough approach to Timekeeping.