Richard Mille RM 33-02

Watch of the Week: The Richard Mille RM 33-02 has cast a spell on us

Crafted from titanium, platinum, carbon fibre and red gold, colour us charmed by the Swiss watchmaker’s enchantingly versatile latest

Are you looking closely? Because Richard Mille is about to show you something really rather fascinating. The luxury Swiss watchmaker — the brand you know and love for creating bold, colourful, striking statement timepieces — has created a watch you can wear every single day.

That’s right. Though it sounds a little jarring, the RM 33-02 is an everyday Richard Mille. But here’s the catch: although the watch looks like it has pared itself back — you could argue that a round shape and startlingly restrained colour palette are almost conventional?! — this is still every inch a next-gen, future-facing, technologically-ticking Richard Mille. Allow us to explain.

Firstly, let’s talk about those materials. Although they may not be cast in iridescent green or incandescent orange, each individual component you can see on the RM 33-02 is fashioned from materials that sounds straight out of sci-fi. Those bridges? Black PVD-coated Grade 5 titanium. That skeletonised baseplate? Treated with Titalyt. Both front and back bezels? Carbon TPT.

In fact, the innovative Carbon TPT — a material created by layering hundreds of sheets of carbon fibre together to change the orientation of the weft between layers — is a perfect metaphor for Richard Mille’s latest. To look at it, you wouldn’t think that this case had been heated to 120°C and machined in the same manner as aeronautic components. And yet it has. This is a new breed of understated Richard Mille; at once unassuming and tremendously impressive.

Watch of the Week: The Richard Mille RM 33-02 has cast a spell on us

Of course, it’s not all humility and restraint. If you know where to look, there’s still plenty behind those 12 titanium spline screws to get horophiles ticking. The caseband is crafted from red gold, the watch is fitted with Incabloc shock protection and two Nitrile O-ring seals keep the movement water resistant to 30 metres.

It’s a good thing, too, because it’s quite the movement. The RM 33-02 is admirably equipped with the RMXP1, a calibre based on the Vaucher 5104 with power reserve of 45 hours. Skeletonised, automatic-winding and with an off-centre monoblock platinum rotor, the movement has hour, minute and seconds functions — and is rightfully shown off through the anti-glare front and back sapphire crystals.

All that meticulous watchmaking is fronted by a titanium dial, itself boasting numerals created from solid metal, sculpted and mounted on two linked, rigid titanium rails. It is this ‘mask’ that affords the RM 33-02 its dress code-spanning style; marrying the performance of a sports watch with the opposing elegance of a round timepiece.

But we’re afraid it may be a case of ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ with Richard Mille’s latest magic trick. With just 140 enchanting pieces being created — each with a price tag of $145,000 — be under no illusion: they’ll be gone before you know it.

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