The world’s lightest split-seconds tourbillon chronograph: RM 50-03 McLaren F1


For its part, the 7-gram movement completely deserves the qualifier ‘ultralight’. The secret to its featherweight lies in the use of grade 5 Titanium and Carbon TPT™ for the baseplate and bridges, and in the extreme skeletonisation of components. Likewise, the density, stiffness and low thermal conductivity of Titanium make it a material of choice in McLaren Racing’s Formula 1 engineering build programme, where it’s not only used to lighten and reinforce chassis and aerodynamic elements, but also to produce gearboxes, connecting rods and valve systems. Watchmaking expertise can be found throughout this movement withdrawn, polished, satin-finished and soft-polished surfaces all created by hand. For example, each grade 5 titanium dial requires 3 hours of anglage and polishing in our workshop to highlight its edge. Other parts, such as the barrel-drum, the minute-wheel and the small and large medium-wheel are circular-grained both above and below then hand-beveled and rhodium-plated before the teeth are cut.

A transverse cage, crafted of Carbon TPT™ and inspired by the wishbone suspension structure of a McLaren-Honda Formula 1 car, is affixed to the caseband, and supports the entire RM50-03 calibre. By eliminating the casing ring, this unusual architecture enables a perfect fit between the movement and case. Taken together, these technical solutions provide complex calibre with tremendous resistance properties. Indeed, the casing has withstood shock loadings of 5,000g in our own workshops – and survived unscathed.

The RM 50-03 McLaren F1 is chronographic perfection brought to life: it combines a tourbillon escapement with a split-seconds function. In order to perform without fail, the combination of these two complications within a single mechanism demands perfect transfers of energy. The ensuing need to reduce friction led to research on how to improve the profiling of the teeth on the barrel and gear train. The result is superbly balanced torque and optimised yield.

The movement’s performance and the quality of the energy delivered can be easily read via coloured indicators denoting the 70-hour energy reserve and torque sensor. The hollow pushers of the chronograph are representative of the air intake ducts on the McLaren-Honda car, while the shape of the crown takes its cue from the racing competition wheel rims used by the British team.

Design of a new split-seconds mechanism and extensive research on the work of the split-seconds clamps have permitted a 50% reduction in the chronograph’s energy consumption, while at the same time reducing arbor friction. The 6-column wheel that controls the various rockers for the split-seconds function was designed to guarantee flawlessly simultaneous movement, clean function lock, and highly stable settings.

The extraordinary properties of graphene encouraged us to pursue additional developments in conjunction with our strap supplier, BIWI S.A., and to incorporate this nano-material into the rubber strap of the RM 50-03 to increase its elasticity and resistance to wear. These various applications of graphene represent significant technical advances that are of capital importance for both Richard Mille and McLaren-Honda.

The RM 50-03 McLaren F1 will be produced in a numbered limited edition of 75 pieces and will be available only at Richard Mille boutiques. Each watch will be accompanied by a 1:5 scale model of the McLaren-Honda racing car driven in 2017 by Double-World Champion Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne.

Price: from  980,000.00

Available from: Richard Mille Boutiques

The Breakdown


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