The Geneva watchmaking Grand Prix

Richard Mille awarded the prestigious “Aiguille d’Or”,
for his model RM 012

The Watch Quote™ - November 15th, 2007

The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie, the annual watchmaking awards, took place yesterday, 14 November 2007. This is the major watchmakers’ event of the autumn season and was held at the Grand Theatre, presided by the City of Geneva and the State of Geneva.

The overall winner of this 7th edition was Richard Mille, who was awarded the prestigious “Aiguille d’Or”, for his model RM 012. This award takes into account all watches entered in all categories of the competition

Entered in the ‘Complications’ category, the RM012, a limited edition of 30 pieces, was selected for this special award by an international jury composed of experts from the watchmaking, jewellery and specialised press sectors.

As winner of the L’Aguille d’Or 2007, the rules stipulate that Richard Mille will not be eligible to compete in 2008, but will be however a jury member.

RM012: architectural tubular tourbillon

The RM012 is a model that represents the best in technical, architectural and aesthetic detail. Moreover, this is the first time in watchmaking history that the concept of a solid metal plate has given way to a tubular structure.

It is here that Richard Mille has pushed the boundaries once again with the architectural character of this watch. The new and original tourbillon movement with minimalist structure and impressive lines has never been seen before and the RM012’s contemporary and extremely complex tubular construction has perfect visual harmony.

This exceptional piece proved to be a manufacturing challenge. It required two years of development and four prototypes before the final, successfully completed version was produced. As for the movement assembly, this required several months due to the many extremely delicate operations required.

One of the strengths of the RM012 is its apparent fragility as it has an apparently weightless chassis. And yet this structure, one composed only of tubes, is more rigid than many movement plates with a more reassuring solid aspect. But make no mistake about this, a great deal of research has gone into obtaining maximum rigidity despite the absence of material – rigidity being an extremely important factor for Richard Mille. One of the principal difficulties of this process was to insert the tubes in Invar, a highly resistant stainless steel and then join them together three dimensionally. At the same time, the pivot angle needed to be calculated with extreme precision, the strictly perpendicular axes respected and all this with tolerances of a micron – a challenge verging on folly in such small dimensions.

Another technical feat lies in the working parts and flying tourbillon that are completely integrated into the tubular structure which replaces the usual functions, ordinarily found in the movement plate.

Worth noting also is the incredible resistance of the RM012 to temperature variations, corrosion and shocks.

The RM012 Limited Edition of 30 pieces in platinum is a major innovation that will captivate all who are enthralled by mechanical details.

Calibre RM012: Hand-wound tourbillon with hours, minutes
Dimensions: length 48 mm x 39.30 mm (at widest) x 13.84 mm (at thickest)

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