For this year, Richard Mille updates their RM 017 collection with an even more technologically advanced hand-wound Tourbillon Extra Flat model that now comes in an ultra-thin case crafted from 18-karat red gold measuring less than nine millimeters from top to bottom.
While the new RM 017 Tourbillon Extra Flat will feature the same razor-sharp, slightly curved lug-less case (well, it’s not really “lugless” since the places of rubber strap attachment are integrated into the case itself,) the hand-wound Caliber RM 017 tourbillon movement that powers the timekeeper seems to be slightly reworked for this version.
The main difference is that this version of the caliber has the original baseplate that was made of carbon nanofiber material ditched in favor of one made of titanium.
The new material is not that “revolutionary” as the carbon nanofiber but is a lot less expensive to manufacture and easier to work with. Also, I have the impression that they decided to use the light-weight metal alloy to make the base plate a tiny bit thinner, even if a trifle heavier.
The dial, still a pretty messy thing to look at, is now a trifle more legible than the one on the original model. Also, I can’t help to notice that in real life the way the gears, the tourbillon carriage and other parts of the moving guts are visible through two layers of sapphire is absolutely mesmerizing. You can put the piece on a (preferably) expensive desk and watch it go for hours. I mean, if you ever wanted a device that would help you with meditation, this ultra-expensive gadget will fit the bill.
Kudos goes to the successful combination of the skeletonized hour and minute hands that are crafted of red gold, and dark grey components of the movement made of titanium and steel.
The oversized Roman numerals are still completely lost among all the rotating, vibrating and stationary parts of the RM 017 movement, but, again, the overall legibility is increased.
As usual, this is going to be a limited edition model.
Richard Mille plans to produce only 50 numbered pieces. No info on pricing* and availability, yet.
* UPDATE ON PRICE: Still can’t say anything about international availability, but it was reported that on the US market the RM 017 Tourbillon Extra Flat will retail for USD 400,000. Richard Mille is an expensive brand, everybody seems to know that, but even with this information, the price looks -ahem- fairly impressive.
Photos: Richard Mille
Richard Mille RM 017 Tourbillon Extra Flat specification
Price: $400,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Hand-wound, Caliber RM 017, ELINVAR balance spring, antimagnetic barrel shaft in nickel-free Chronifier, in-house, Swiss Made
Cadence of balance: 21,600 vph
Functions & Complications: Hours, minutes, tourbillon
Power reserve: 72 hours
Case: Red gold, 18-karat
Shape: Rectangular, curved profile
Dimensions: 49.80 mm x 38.00 mm
Case height: 8.70 mm
Dial: Slate Grey, skeletonized, power reserve indicator at 2 o’clock
Hands: Red gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black rubber
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective