Now in their fifth year of partnership, luxury supercar maker McLaren Automotive and Richard Mille have unveiled their latest and most ambitious collaboration to date — the RM 40-01 Automatic Tourbillion McLaren Speedtail.
By all accounts, this is the most extreme watch ever made at Richard Mille — matched to a specific hypercar design of the fastest road-going car McLaren has ever built: the Speedtail. Like the vehicle on which it’s based, the watch’s lines mimic the form of a water droplet while bezel indentations evoke the bonnet openings and pushers that recall the air outlets behind the car’s front wheels.
As with the Speedtail, the watch’s aerodynamic design takes inspiration from the teardrop “the most efficient shape found in nature.” Limited to 106 timepieces, representing the exclusive 106 Speedtail hypercars build by McLaren Automotive, the RM 40-01 Automatic is the fastest, most advanced, and exotic road car McLaren has yet produced.
An automatic tourbillon with function selector, oversize date, and a power-reserve indicator delivers the combined appeal of an attractive display and useful indications, whilst preserving visual simplicity.
“The watch has one of the highest levels of finishing ever executed at Richard Mille. There has also been a lot of development with our anglers and polishers.” explains Richard Mille’s Technical Director Julien Boillat.“ The attention to detail is extreme, with mirror polished, plain, and satinized effects in different areas and the combined use of titanium and Carbon TPT®. The case itself is made from 69 individual parts.”
Due to the unprecedented complexity of the design, five prototypes were created before the optimum shape was achieved. The challenge lay in the fact that the case is significantly wider at 12 o’clock than at 6 o’clock, with a further taper between the titanium bezel and case back, which are separated by a baseband made from Carbon TPT® and unequal length titanium pillars.
Grade 5 titanium has been used for key components such as the bridges, the bridge screws, the baseplate and the rotor core. The CRMT4 movement that drives the RM 40-01 introduces the mechanism’s first power reserve display as well as the oversize date and function selector complications, all of which are firsts at Richard Mille for an in-house tourbillon.