Though finished last week, the SIHH left us with so many things to talk about since over a hundred new watches were presented at this event. Now when it is over and we take a look at the overall impressions, it seems that Richard Mille was the brand that attracted most attention with their timepiece bearing the name of Formula 1 racer Felipe Massa.
All of this attention is definitely deserved as it took the most delicate craftsman skill produce this gem. This is unquestionably a masterpiece of watch engineering. The Competition Chronograph RM 056 Felipe Massa sapphire is completely skeletonized, and through its case we can see the meticulous mechanism, with a split seconds chronograph, function and torque indicators and fast rotating barrel, just to mention some of the features. But first of all, I would like to bring your attention to the watch case. It is transparent from all angles and is made entirely from sapphire crystal. This being one of the hardest materials on Earth, it took arduous work to mold it. Over a thousand hours of machining actually, 350 of which were spent on polishing. The case is treated with anti-glare coating from all sides as well. The machines had to be meticulously precise and tipped with a diamond. It is no wonder Felipe Massa is limited to only 5 pieces (all of which are already sold).
Now we come to the mechanism. It is a bit adjusted version of the standard RM008 -movement – the RM CC1. As the RM008 proved excellent in the past years, the CC1 is also a tourbillon caliber with split seconds chronograph, but 20% of the caliber weight taken off by introducing about 400 new parts. Let’s talk about the details… The baseplate is skeletonized and is a grade 5 titanium alloy. This combination of materials, also used in aerospace and automobiles, provides for the shock and weight resistance of the watch. The split seconds chronograph power consumption is reduced by 50% by reducing the friction of the spindle. Furthermore, the jumping of the hands when stopped is practically eliminated. The pusher operating this feature is located at 4 o’clock. Also contributing to the precision of the mechanism is the torque indicator and the balance wheel with variable inertia. The torque indicator is located on the dial, left of the barrel. This feature will inform you of the tension of the mainspring, as excessive tension can damage the mechanism. At four o’clock we have a hand displaying the winding (W), neutral (N) and hands (H) setting positions when the crown is pulled out. This is the function indicator. But as you are probably already used to, I will always be captious. This being such an exceptional, unprecedented timepiece, associated with the endurance of Formula 1 cars, the 50 m water resistance is a bit disappointing (not that I’d take it swimming in any case). Another thing is the really tough to notice indicators on the crammed dial, but this is after all a sports watch and I guess the wearer gets used to it.
Many parts of the mechanism were manually treated. This includes polishing of the minute pieces, sanded parts and satin finishes even of parts that can not be seen. Richard Mille has definitely set a new standard in watch engineering with this level of devotion and precision.Richard Mille most talked about at SIHH,