The new Richard Mille RM 029 Automatic Big Date watch offers RM’s signature tonneau case, skeletonized movement, and an oversized date module. Soon to be available in three versions of its mildly oversized body, the watch, as always, is going to be -ahem- reassuringly expensive and deliciously exclusive: just what we like, right?
As you can see for yourself, the watch features the same easily recognizable design as their other barrel-shaped timekeepers.
Aggressively styled with its sandwich-styled body secured with eight screws with proprietary star-shaped heads, the case makes very strong impression. Although looking massive on these photos, it in fact can be called medium-sized measuring less than 38 millimeters in width and just 48 millimeters lug-to-integrated-lug. Combine that with a surprisingly low profile of just 12.6 mm top to bottom and an organically curved profile, and you get yourself a watch that not only looks cool and smart, but is also quite comfortable on an average wrist.
Perhaps, the only department that this nicely styled brushed titanium (pictured, also available in much more expensive rose or white gold variations) body lacks in is water resistance. Rated for just 50 meters, this new watch looks sporty, but is in fact designed to be used only as a dressy accessory.
On the other hand, given its price of more than €80,000, trying to use it as a tool watch would not be a good idea.
However spectacular their cases are, Richard Mille’s main selling point has always been superb movements that power them. To animate this fresh RM 029 watch, the Swiss watch brand has constructed a new RMAS7 automatic movement. “Inspired” (their word, not mine) by the RM 011 chronograph caliber, the new movement was aggressively skeletonized revealing not only the mechanism’s base plate, but also providing a superb view at the big date complication.
To make the resulting feather-light lacework rigid enough to keep the movement working, Richard Mille‘s engineers made its baseplate, bridges and balance-cock out of grade 5 titanium.
Noticeably stronger than and almost as light as pure titanium, this alloy of aluminum, vanadium, iron, oxygen and titanium is widely used in aerospace industry and medicine.
By the way, the main idea behind this fancy oscillating weight is that its shape (and thus center of mass) can be adjusted in order to deliver the best winding efficiency on movement longevity depending whether you prefer sedentary or more active lifestyle.
To ensure that the parts stay corrosion-free and withstand wear, RM subjected them to a proprietary Titalyt treatment. In two words, they employed an electro-plasma oxidation process, which makes the metal’s surface harder.
Unlike some other skeletonized timepieces made by Richard Mille, the RM029 probably won’t stun you with its impressive legibility. With its open-worked hands sporting only small patches of Superluminova on their tips and competing for your attention with peculiarly styled Arabic numerals, the watch is a bit difficult to read in certain lighting scenarios. Sometimes, it could even be a bit annoying when you would have to waste an extra moment trying to decipher the data.
Au contraire, the Big Date display, which is neatly located closer to 4 o’clock position, is extremely easy to read thanks to bold black numerals printed over bright white background.
The watch comes on sale later this year in a standard for the brand tonneau-shaped case, which will be available not only in titanium (pictured,) but also in white gold or rose gold. The price starts at healthy €80,000 ($100,000 USD) for a version in titanium case and will probably reach the stratosphere with the versions in gold.
Build quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for money: 3/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
See also: Richard Mille RM 010 Black Night
Photos: Richard Mille
Richard Mille RM 029 Automatic Big Date watch specification
Price: Starts at €80,000 for a version in titanium case
Movement: Automatic, caliber RMAS7, skeletonized, variable geometry rotor, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 32
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Power reserve: Approx. 55 hours
Case material: Rose gold or White gold or Titanium
Bezel material: Rose gold or White gold or Titanium
Case shape: Tonneau
Bezel shape: Tonneau
Case size: 48.00 mm x 37.70 mm
Lug width: No data
Case height: 12.60 mm
Dial: Black, skeletonized
Hands: Open-worked, luminous
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black rubber
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire