Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo McDonough

Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo McDonough

11 March 2018 | Richard Mille , Futuristic Watches

That precise moment of the year when you wear Richard Mille's new releases is extremely important, because, in those thirty minutes, you can assimilate years of research and development and, above all, you can find out which new technological innovation the brand has now brought to the world of watch-making. Polo is not familiar to me - and it definitely isn't a popular sport in Italy either -, but the general idea that we have about it is that it is an elite sport and no more than that, it is usually associated with other sports such as golf that, instead, has a decent following in our country and an excellent array of world-class professionals too.

For a brand that makes Formula 1 its main sport and of McLaren its main partner, when you realize that this brand is also associated to the champion Pablo McDonough, you see it under a different light and you immediately link it to a more "human" environment; that of sprinters and tennis players for example.

Richard-Mille-RM-53-01-Tourbillon-Pablo-McDonough-8Among all the sports in which the brand is involved, Polo is probably the one that presented the greatest technical challenges, since the R&D team had to combine its recognized abilities to craft high technical level calibers with a resistance to shocks you would expect from a G-Shock - where there is nothing mechanical.

Richard-Mille-RM-53-01-Tourbillon-Pablo-McDonough-6Mine is obviously a provocation, but it helps understand what Pole represents and which are the dangers that a player would encounter during a tournament. Pablo McDonough, who has been an ambassador for Richard Mille since 2012, knows something about it, because he had to face the risk of losing an eye at the age of 10, when the hammer of the pole club hit his occipital lobe and shattered it; an event that almost compromised his career.

The Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo McDonough

The first chapter of the genesis of the Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo McDonough is dedicated to the resistance and its sapphire glass; probably the biggest challenge to win to craft this watch. In a McLaren, the focus is on the caliber,  its ultra light design and a  resistance similar to that of many g, in a Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo McDonough the first concern was to conceive an indestructible glass perfectly integrated with the case. The sapphire crystal is therefore laminated and is made up of two cylindrical elements containing a thin layer of vinyl inside.

Richard-Mille-RM-53-01-Tourbillon-Pablo-McDonough-2Richard Mille does not provide any additional information for reasons related to the intellectual property of their patents, but it maintains that, after the two glass have been joined together, a 16-hour-milling-process is necessary to obtain a glass that is virtually resistant to any type of impact, with particular focus on those caused by the impact of the hammer of a Polo club, which is impulsive (resilience) and is therefore extremely severe.

Richard-Mille-RM-53-01-Tourbillon-Pablo-McDonough-5If it should eventually crash, the glass won't break into a thousand small pieces, thus preserving the correct functioning of the watch. An assembly ready to be replaced, if necessary. Richard Mille is keen to highlight, as it is well-understandable, that much of the final cost of its Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo McDonough is due to the development costs of the glass which, together with the TPT case, is a small armor.

The TPT case

Richard Mille is the only manufacturer to make extensive use of carbon fiber composites made of TPT, a North Thin Ply Technology patent. And the case of a Richard Mille is immediately identifiable even to those, who are unfamiliar with carbon fiber composites. The prepregs (pre-impregnated) made by NTPT have a structure that is different from traditional composites; the ratio between the number of fibers and the empty spaces is definitely higher, so the density is greater than that present in any other pre-preg. In the case of the Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo McDonough there are over 600 layers and each one of them is 30 microns thick. Once deposited on each other and impregnated with resin the layers are then processed so as to be staggered 45 degrees from each other.

Richard-Mille-RM-53-01-Tourbillon-Pablo-McDonough-3This process might tell little to those who are not working in this field, but filament densities and their disposition are responsible for the resistance of a composite. A composite in TPT® is far more resistant than a traditional composite and Richard Mille was the first (and only brand to my knowledge) to have made a watch with a TPT case (RM 011), then continuing with some of his versions, like the Quartz TPT. Last February Richard Mille and NTPT renewed their agreement and will continue to craft cases using this technology, which has also become a trademark and a sign of aesthetic recognition of a Richard Mille timepiece. Richard Mille's crafting and autoclave heating process are carried out entirely in-house.

The RM 53-01 caliber

The RM 53-01 caliber doesn't seem to be the major element of the Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo McDonough. Instead, here are 10 pulleys and 2 tension systems used to create a caliber hoovering in space through tiny metal cables; a tribute to suspended structures, bridges in particular, which represent modern civil works.

Richard-Mille-RM-53-01-Tourbillon-Pablo-McDonough-7The structure of the caliber is made of a first baseplate - that is actually a slotted frame - joined to the inside of the case, which contains the tension system that, in turn, supports a central baseplate on which the whole caliber is then mounted, including the charging system . The central plate is connected to the side ring through two twisted cables (measuring 0.27mm each). The RM 53-01 caliber is a 3Hz hand-wound tourbillon, where every single element is skillfully finished, whether it is the anglage on the steel parts or the trimming of the profiles of the gears (one of Richard Mille's strengths).

Final thoughts

The Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo McDonough is yet another of Richard Mille's strenght effort. Is it my favorite one? Not exactly, as I think nothing can currently surpass what Richard Mille is doing with McLaren and its recent RM 11-03 McLaren is the perfect testament to that. Richard Mille and the world of motors represent such a well-blended set-up that it overshadows all the rest.

Richard-Mille-RM-53-01-Tourbillon-Pablo-McDonoughHowever, this does not take anything away from the Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo McDonough and the exceptional new technological results achieved by the brand;  the crafting of a virtually-indestructible glass through a completely new process. This ability to completely think out of the box continues to be the winning philosophy that sets the manufacturer apart from the rest of its watch-making competitors, and that the Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo McDonough meets your preferences, is then an indisputable fact.

(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)

Gaetano C @Horbiter®

@Gaetano Cimmino

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