News March 2008

Originally the pocket watch was the ultimate symbol of freedom and prestige, a personal timekeeper that released one from the constraints of the public clock tower or the standing clock in one’s home or office. It was the first timepiece that could be carried anywhere, and because of this portability horologists applied all their know-how in bringing it to the perfect realization of its mechanical essence.

RM020 Tourbillon pocket watch

Richard Mille has revisited that golden age of timekeepers

The Watch Quote™ - March 25th, 2008

Never prepared to just accept the past as it is, Richard Mille has revisited that Golden Age of timekeepers in order to bring a thoroughly modern and improved reinterpretation of a classic; a personal timekeeper that is ready to bring new impulses for today’s collectors — the RM 020 tourbillon pocket watch.

The RM 020 is the first pocket watch ever created to make use of a non-metallic baseplate made of carbon nanofiber, originally utilized in U.S. Air force jets. This is an isotropic composite material created from carbon nanofibers molded under a high pressure of 7,500 N/cm2and a temperature of 2,000˚C, resulting in a material with high mechanical, physical and chemical stability in all directions. It is ideally suited for guarantying the stability of the going train under varying conditions and temperatures.

The tourbillon escapement, (which was originally invented in the 19thcentury for the pocket watch format timepiece to begin with), is driven by a double winding barrel. Both barrels are directly coupled and supply circa 10 days of power reserve.

The RM 020 is further supplied with a titanium watch chain with a quick attach/release mechanism, and it can also be used as a pendulette de bureau with the additional desk stand. Perhaps the ultimate “time machine”, The RM 020 represents the perfect synthesis of the greatest 18thcentury horological values in combination with 21st century technology and aesthetics.

All versions will have a central caseband in titanium, with a choice of both front and back bezels in either 18ct red gold, white gold or titanium.

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Richard Mille Tourbillon pocket watch RM 020

Technical specifications

Part of a series of new horological advances realized by Richard Mille was the successful creation of a non-metallic movement baseplate, the first in watchmaking history. The new material utilized was carbon nanofiber, and the innovation was first tested with great success in the RM 006, an experimental model. The technical results were remarkable and Richard Mille therefore decided to expand the use of carbon nanofiber further throughout his tourbillon range. Progress in this important area of horological research begun by Richard Mille has now opened up a new era of applying new materials in the watchmaking industry. The RM 020 furthers this development by being the first pocket watch ever built using a baseplate structure of carbon nanofiber. The RM 020 is supplied together with a special type of titanium watch chain comprising a new design of fast release/attach mechanism.

In the tradition of fine pocket watches of the past, the RM 020 can also be used as a pendulette de bureauwith a specially designed stand in complementary style.

Caliber RM 020:
Manual winding tourbillon movement with hours, minutes, power reserve and function selector.

Dimensions : Length 62 mm x 52.00 mm (widest point) x 15.60 mm (thickest area)

Main features
(Many of which are major technical innovations)

Carbon nanofiber movement plate
This is an isotropic composite material created from carbon nanofibers molded under a high pressure of 7,500 N/cm2and a temperature of 2,000˚C, resulting in a material with high mechanical, physical and chemical stability in all directions. The ribbed perimeter of the movement plate assures the highest rigidity between the plate and bridges. Carbon nanofiber composite structures such as this are amorphous, chemically neutral and dimensionally constant within a very wide range of operating temperatures, including those outside of normal ranges. This stability assures the highest integrity of the movement’s going train under all conditions.

Power reserve: circa 10 days, supplied by two directly engaged winding barrels, visible via a numeric sale located between 9 and 10 o’clock.

Variable inertia, free sprung balance
The free-sprung balance with overcoil spring (originally designed for pocket watches in particular), gives better reliability in the event of shocks, movement assembly and disassembly, and also guarantees excellent chronometric results over an extended period of time.

Barrel pawl progressive recoil
This device permits an appreciable winding gain (circa 20 %), especially during the start of winding. It also aids in the even distribution of the mainspring’s internal tension.

Function selector
In a manner similar to a car’s gearbox, pulling the crown located at 12 o’clock allows one to select the winding, neutral and hand setting functions accordingly. A hand at 4 o’clock displays the selected function: W(Winding) – N(Neutral) – H(Hands).

Modular time setting mechanism fitted against the case back
Provides the following advantages for longevity and maintenance:
  • Since the component is mounted outside of the movement, the time setting assembly can be changed without affecting the integrity of the bottom plate in the event of a possible defect or during maintenance
  • The mounting and dismantling of this module from the back will not require the removal of the hands and the dial

Wheel based time setting system
Provides smooth time setting functions through the elimination of engaging friction by replacing it with rolling friction.

Zircon endstones for the tourbillon cage
This reflects a technical and long-term view towards the elimination of wear phenomena, resulting in improved technical tribology.

Central bridge in rigidified arcap
The ribs ensure better rigidity for the bottom plate/bridge assembly.

Spline screws in grade 5 Titanium for the bridges and case
This permits better control of the torque applied to the screws during assembly. These screws are therefore unaffected by physical manipulation during assembly or disassembly and age well.

Winding barrel teeth and third-wheel pinion with central involute profile
The central involute profile of the winding barrel teeth and pinion provides an optimal pressure angle of 20°. This promotes effective rotary motion and allows for compensation of possible variations in the engagement of the going train, thus insuring excellent torque transmission with a distinct improvement in performance.

Central caseband in titanium (all versions), with both front and back bezels in either 18ct red gold, white gold or titanium.

Other features
  • Movement dimensions: 42.20 x 42.20 mm
  • Thickness: 8.40 mm
  • Tourbillon diameter: 12.30 mm
  • Balance wheel diameter: 10 mm
  • Number of jewels: 28
  • Balance: GLUCYDUR, 2 arms, 20 setting screws, inertia moment 10 mg cm2, angle of lift 53º
  • Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
  • Balance spring: ELINVAR by NIVAROX
  • Shock protection: KIF ELASTOR KE 160 B28
  • Stone setting in white gold
  • Barrel shaft in nickel-free chronifer (DIN x 46 Cr 13 + S) with the following characteristics: stainless- antimagnetic- suitable for tempering


  • Anglage and polishing by hand
  • Locking sections hand polished
  • Sapphire blasted milled sections
  • Lapped and polished contact points
  • Burnished pivots

Steel parts
  • Sapphire blasted surfaces
  • Anglage and polishing by hand

gear wheels
  • Concave chamfering with a diamond tool
  • Circular finished faces
  • Gilded (before cutting the teeth)
  • Minimum correction applied to the wheels in order to preserve geometry and performance

From Daytona
to the Cosmograph Daytona

a lot
very much indeed
not at all

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