Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph

New & Noteworthy: The Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph

In the future, when the progenitors of a new wave of humanity are sifting through the rubble of a planet destroyed millennia prior, seeking clues as to how such destruction could have occurred, they will encounter relics of The Before. Some of the artifacts will be perfunctorily indexed or perhaps even discarded, so quotidian are they as to not merit further consideration. Some, though, will send ripples throughout the excavation site—whispers of an important recovery, hints that this found thing may have had a part in the fall of humankind. Those items will be Richard Mille watches. For so grand and ostentatious are they that not only will they have survived the End Times, they will be posited by those intrepid archaeologists to have brought it on. Soon after its discovery, the Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph will be put on display at the center of an exhibition, perfectly lit, showcasing at once the astonishing capability and the folly of society as we know it today, before the reckoning. 

Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph
Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph

History

Richard Mille is not known for its round cases: just 14 of the 106 wristwatches it has made are round. Yet, those round models offer some of the boldest and most interesting timepieces from the brand, including the RM 25-01 Adventure developed in collaboration with Sylvester Stallone and featuring a torque indicator, spirit level, and compass. As is the case with RM’s compass watches (there are two), the round case is necessitated for a diving bezel, and that’s where the  Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph fits in. Along with the RM 025, a manual winding tourbillon chronograph diver (because, why not?) and the RM 025, an automatic diver that is restrained compared to the other two, the RM 032 forms the brand’s divers line. While all three offer different functionality, they are differentiated from other RMs not just by their round cases, but by their unique locking bezels. Following the 2009 releases of the 025 and the 028, the RM 032 was released in 2012, and functionally falls somewhere between the other two. 

Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph
Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph

Design Details

The curved case of the Richard Mille RM 032 is a staggering 50mm wide and 17.80mm tall. The tripartite case—here in 18k rose gold, but also offered in titanium or white gold—takes 11 hours to machine plus a full day of QC, plus 10 days of machining for the crown and pushers. Simply put, this is one of the more complex cases to construct, likely in the entire industry. The case is predominantly brushed, including the vacuated side channels, with some polished bevels. The columnar formations on the 9 o’clock side are functional, serving as the channels for the spline screws that hold the case parts together.

Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph
Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph

As one can see on the bottoms and sides of the lugs, the vented rubber strap with matching buckle is secured with spline screws to ensure it stays in place and maintains the curvature of the case onto the wrist. Of particular note are the bezel and the crown and pushers. The bezel features satinized rose gold with spline screws to fix the assembly in place, with 5-minute numbering in black and gold. The 120-click unidirectional bezel is locked in place until unlocked by pushing simultaneously on the buttons at 12 and 6 o’clock. The crown and shouldered titanium pushers also feature a locking mechanism, as the pressure endured a deep dive (the watch is water resistant to 300m) can begin to depress the pushers. This is achieved by rotating the black ring on the interior of the crown, changing the red arrow to a green one to indicate that the crown and pushers are operational. You may say this is overkill, but it’s far more intuitive and convenient than pushers that lock individually like those on the Rolex Daytona. 

Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph
Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph

The dial, as with almost every dial from Richard Mille, is an extremely delicate balance between functionality and legibility. Under a sapphire crystal, the dials printing is done upon a second sapphire disc, just .4mm thick, secured by 8 silicon braces to a carbon flange, which features the tachymeter scale and the protruding lume plots for the hours. The sapphire disc also features lume plots, plus the apertures and scales for the myriad additional features—let’s discuss those. First and foremost is the flyback chronograph: with the ability to be restarted without stopping the mechanism, the seconds and minute chronograph hands are both centrally-mounted for improved legibility, with a 12-hour totalizer at 6 o’clock.

Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph
Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph
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The watch also features a surprising complication: an annual calendar. Certainly not common for a dive watch, the big date is displayed at 12 o’clock, with a hard-to-read month at 4:30. It’s hard to say what the purpose of having the annual calendar is, but this watch is beyond rationale, so such questions are moot. The final display on the dial is a running indicator at 3 o’clock, with alternating sections in lume to allow for low-light visibility (as required to meet diving spec ISO 6425). Last but not least, the large handset features partial-cutout hands with chevron-shaped lume plots.

Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph
Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph

Inner Workings

Making a fuss of itself through the sapphire dial is the Calibre RMAC2. This caliber features a Vaucher base with a Dubois-Depraz flyback chronograph module with an annual calendar—but that doesn’t mean it’s anywhere near off-the-shelf. The 62-jewel features multiple components in PVD-coated grade 5 titanium, including the spline screws, with a blend of sandblasting and hand-polishing. The free-sprung balance oscillates at 28,800 bph, while a double-barrel mainspring offers 50 hours of power. The unidirectional rotor is a unique RM creation: constructed of titanium and white gold and mounted on ceramic ball bearings, the rotor can be fine-tuned using the adjustable ribs to speed up or slow down the winding process, depending on the wearer’s usual activity level. The movement is set in the case against a number of bumpers that serve to provide additional shock protection. 

Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph
Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph

Versus the Competition

You might be asking, “Is there a normal person version of this watch?” Well, I’m happy to say there sure is. It’s the Jaeger LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Chronograph. A rose gold diving chronograph with date and running indicator, it’s essentially the same watch, albeit less sophisticated and in a far quieter package. The JLC, however, is “just” 44mmx16mm, is more legible, and has more than 3x the water resistance.

Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph
Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph

Or here’s a thought: buy a watch that’s just slightly less crazy. Something like this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Lebron James LE. You still get a big, bold rose gold chronograph, but at a comparatively svelte 44mmx14.5mm, it’s much more wearable. Big and loud, but not universally overwhelming. Plus, everyone loves King James!

Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph
Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph

Okay, okay! I hear you: Richard Mille or bust. No problem. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an RM that stands out from other RMs? Did you even know Richard Mille made watches that are round, uncomplicated, and normally sized? That’s what the Richard Mille RM33-02 is! Measuring a paltry 43mmx12mm, this thing basically disappears on the wrist. Don’t worry, it still features all those great RM hallmarks: jumbo crown, skeleton dial, and carbon TPT and rose gold case.

Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph
Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph

Personality

The Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph is for the bravest of watch enthusiasts (and the largest, if they want any semblance of proportion). It is a demonstration piece for those that wear it: there is no need for it except to show it off—it exists solely to exist. The owner of this watch will be happy being visible and standing out, and this watch will likely not be the loudest thing they have on. 

Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph
Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph

Final Thoughts

Richard Mille has once again created a flamboyant showpiece that tramples the notion of practicality as it rampages in the name of Why Not. Not for the faint of heart, The Richard Mille RM 032 Automatic Flyback Diver Chronograph is another example of the brand’s technological prowess, presented in a way that insists everyone around the watch notices and acknowledges its magnificence.

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