This is what the world's thinnest watch is made of

With a thickness of 1.75mm, the RM UP-01 Ferrari truly pushes the envelope

In the world of watches, we often reference ‘complications’. Can a watch give us the date? Or adjust for leap years? Can it chime the hours or record intervals? Independently, these are complications, and each is a triumph of engineering and design. The one complication not often given the credit it deserves is thinness, which, in itself, is highly challenging to achieve – because the thinner you go, the less stable the movement within becomes. Just think of the number of moving parts in a movement and how these layers stack up on each other (and that is before we discuss the dial, case and crystal).

The race for extreme thinness, however, has been a ferocious one for many years, with players such as Piaget and Bulgari in the mix. So, when Richard Mille launched the quite frankly bonkers RM UP-01 Ferrari, becoming the world’s thinnest watch, in 2022, and measuring a mere 1.75mm thick, the watch world took notice. Previously, Bulgari held the micro-watchmaking record, with its 1.80mm-thick Octo Finissimo Ultra, introduced in 2021, and Piaget – for a prototype Altiplano – before.

Technically speaking, to achieve such a feat, Richard Mille opted to distribute the components across a 'large' surface area rather than stacking them, as generally is the case. The baseplate and bridges are made out of grade 5 titanium, a particularly rigid alloy. Moreover, the function selector, winding crown, time subdial and balance wheel/hairspring are all displayed on the same plane, with space left over for Ferrari’s prancing-pony logo. If you can believe it, the sapphire crystal has been reduced to just tenths of a millimetre.

The case, like most other Richard Mille watches, is tonneau, but it’s an east-west tonneau (51mm/39mm). Ultimately, the collab element of the watch works because both parties are in the business of pushing the envelope of performance and design; not all link ups have such an authentic feel. The final element is the price. No biggie: just a cool $1,888,000. The model is limited to 150 watches, so you will sleep well in the knowledge that you won’t be seeing one at the next Red Bar meet up.

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