Last year Alfa Romeo made a… not exactly triumphant, but a decent return to the world of Formula 1 and with them they brought Richard Mille, a watchmaker with about the same level of experience in cutting-edge materials as the new team.
Rather than the happy-go-lucky Italian driver you’d expect them to recruit however, Alfa opted for one of the most serious Finns in the business: ex-World Champion Kimi Raikonen. If anyone can appreciate a near-weightless, technically advanced watch able to survive a head-on collision it’s someone like Raikonen. They’re precisely the kind of traits the driver looks for in his cars after all.
It’s a good thing too because now, following Richard Mille’s previous Alfa Romeo limited edition last year, Kimi has his own driver-specific version – and it’s pretty intense.
The RM 50-04 is about as technical as its possible for a watch to be. First of all, the case is front and back are made from white Quartz TPT®, a material created by combining 600 layers of 45-micron thick silicon, heated to 120 °C. If that weren’t enough, the central barrel of the tonneau is made from Carbon TPT – the same, but with carbon fibre. The result is something that has cutting-edge properties and an almost alien look.
Still, it would be a let down if all that ultra-light case was let down by a weighty movement. But how does 7 grams sound? That’s how much the grade 5-titanium and Carbon TPT movement weighs. The tourbillon-equipped movement is as finely tuned and near-frictionless as any racing machine. More-so than some.
To finish off the watch, the titanium dial uses flashes of red across the various indicators – including the torque, function and power reserve indicators – which, with the Quartz TPT bezel, references the livery of Raikonen’s C38 single-seater. The final touch is the unusual inclusion of the number 7, Kimi’s personal racing number.
Only 30 examples of the limited edition RM 50-04 will be released but then Richard Mille aren’t exactly a mass production watchmaker at the best of time. Instead they push boundaries that nobody else has even reached yet – perfect for Finland’s most decorated driver. In fact, let’s leave you with a few words from the man himself:
“We in Finland are known for our “guts” and determination. We even have a word for it – sisu. However, in my sport sisu is not enough. I have to rely on high-performance technology and team-work but most of all, though, there has to be sheer passion! Richard Mille has powered his own engine for years with all three of these,– guts, technological prowess and above all fun. That’s why I am more than happy to be at the wheel with the ground-breaking RM 50-04 on my wrist.”
Price & Specs:
Model Name: Richard Mille RM 50-04 Tourbillon Split-Seconds Chronograph Kimi Räikkönen
Case/Dial: 44.50mm diameter x 49.65mm height x 16.10mm thickness, grade 5 titanium
Water Resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: Calibre RM50-03, manual winding
Functions: Hours, minutes, split-seconds chronograph, 30-minute totaliser
Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
Power Reserve: 70h
Strap: Graphene and rubber
Price: TBC, limited edition of 30 pieces
More details at richardmille.com