Richard Mille does not bother with subtlety. The Swiss brand prides itself on innovation with materials and movements, pushing the limits with both, and testing the limits of the watch market with its designs. While the brand is better known for its curved tonneau cases, they have strayed into more traditional case shapes—though not with any sort of traditional dial or movement. That’s the case with the Richard Mille RM63-02Automatic Winding Worldtimer Titanium.
Richard Mille was not some young upstart when he founded his eponymous brand. At 50 years old, having spent an entire career in the watch industry, he set about building his own brand, something that would satisfy his need to design a watch he simply hadn’t been able to find. In 2001, after carving his first design out of a bar of soap, Mille launched the RM001 Tourbillon, a €200,000 watch that took the watch world by storm and would set the tone for the brand’s future designs with it’s tonneau case, exposed screws, sapphire dial, and an openworked movement. Since then, Richard Mille the brand has achieved new heights in ergonomics and lightness, to say nothing of its feats of shock resistance (e.g., the RM35 designed for Rafael Nadal, which can withstand up to 5,00 Gs of acceleration). The Richard Mille RM63-02 Worldtimer was released in 2015, built off the RM58-01 Tourbillon. While the RM63-02 doesn’t have the hypnotizing spin of the tourbillon, it features an innovative Worldtimer display and mechanism that adheres to Richard Mille’s focus on creating easy-to-use, beautiful timepieces.
Bold and beautiful, the 47mm microblasted grade 5 titanium case of the Richard Mille RM63-02 is comprised of more than 200 parts—that’s just the case. The segmented cutouts that run from lug to lug on either side are angular and sharp, emphasizing the contemporary design that Richard Mille has become so great at capturing. A massive crown (also a hallmark of Richard Mille) ensures 30m water resistance, is banded by a Alcryn® rubber grip, and flanked by guards that are independently secured to the midcase. The overall profile features a notable curve that makes wearing the watch shockingly easy, despite its diameter and 13.85mm height. The case wraps comfortably around the wrist and is held on by a blue rubber strap with a double-folding titanium clasp.
Under the sapphire crystal are the real stars. As expected, the dial, per se, is non-existent in the traditional sense. In it’s place: a sapphire dial with racing-inspired numerals printed directly on the surface. Given the business of the movement seen through it, the dial can be a challenge to decode. Even numerals are complimented by red triangle indices. Under 12 o’clock, an oversized date window can be made out—it changes instantaneously at midnight and is adjusted with a 10 o’clock caseband pusher. At 4 o’clock on the dial is the function indicator—the corresponding 4 o’clock pusher allows the wearer to select the crowns function between time setting, winding, or neutral. The alpha handset is brushed with polished bevels and includes segmented lume. However, it is the only lume on the entire watch, which seems like a missed opportunity.
The most impressive trick up this watch’s sleeve, though, is the bezel and the worldtime function. Most high-end worldtime watches have a separate crown or pusher to adjust the time. In seeking to simplify and speed up the adjustment process, Richard Mille has built this function into the bezel. Once you touch down at your destination, simply turn the bezel to align the local city to 12 o’clock. The day/night 24-hour wheel will rotate accordingly, and the hour hand will jump the correct time. Et voilá! You’re ready for travel adventures.
The automatic in-house caliber CRMA-4 literally cannot be missed. In fact, it’s more visible through the sapphire dial than the sapphire caseback. The movement finishing is just as striking as the case’s design. The titanium baseplate and bridges are treated with two different coatings to reinforce them for added rigidity. The watch features a blend of microblasting, satin, circular, and hand-polished finishing. The entire effect is a movement that looks like turbine vents, or perhaps the turbines themselves.
The movement also features a number of technological innovations. The gears of the going train, for example, feature a special teeth profile that mitigates isochronism variance that may result between the centers of each wheel. The free-sprung balance features a variable inertia balance for improved accuracy and shock resistance, and the regulator index has been discarded in favor of balance-mounted adjustable weights. Finally, the mainspring barrel rotates once per five hours, instead of the typical 7.5 hours, with the benefit of decreasing intermittent mainspring sticking and balancing power reserve (50 hours) and isochronism. The CRMA-4 features a 5N rose gold and titanium rotor, beats at 28, 800 vph and is constructed with 37 jewels, an Incabloc shock absorber system, and a spiral AK 3 balance spring.
Versus the Competition
The Richard Mille RM63-02 may not scratch the RM itch fully, but the Richard Mille RM005 Felipe Massa LE certainly does. It has a sapphire dial, curved titanium tonneau case, bright colored accents and matching rubber strap, and an in-house movement—all the hallmarks of Richard Mille. Other brands, however, have ensured that Richard Mille doesn’t have a corner on the contemporary statement piece. Audemars Piguet is an excellent example of a brand pushing limits, particularly with their Concept line. The Royal Oak Concept 26265FO Carbon Tourbillion provides a case in a cutting edge material, with an openworked movement that includes one of the most sought-after complications in modern horology; it’s an excellent alternative to the RM63-02, albeit a bit bolder.
Big and bold is the name of the game. Richard Mille makes statement pieces. They are meant to be seen, and they often are—by those who love watches and others alike. As opposed to more subtle strokes of haute horlogerie, Richard Mille RM63-02 is made for those who want people to see the watch they have one, to know that they have a Richard Mille and know the exceptional achievement in watchmaking that such a watch embodies. At the same time, it is arguably a more subdued model from the brand, lacking the trademark case shape and presented in more subtle colors.
The Richard Mille RM63-02 Automatic Winding Worldtimer Titanium offers a more restrained option while still providing the horological and material prowess of the brand. It is ideal for those that want the cache of Richard Mille without the immediate—and sometimes unwanted—attention the brand’s watches can bring.