During the SIHH 2011 event, Richard Mille presented its RM 030 model with a so-called “declutchable” rotor: a complication that, unlike a something as unnecessarily sophisticated as a tourbillon or a minute repeater, is not just nice to have but is actually quite useful for many reasons.
Designed to slow down the process of wearing-out of the self-winding mechanism, the declutchable rotor is what it is: a rotor that, colloquially speaking, disengages its “clutch” the same way an automatic gearbox declutches, um, automatically when you press on the brake pedal while stopping at a traffic light. In this particular instance, the winding system is physically disengaged from the winding barrel as soon as the estimated power reserve reaches the 50-hour mark.
This must come in handy in two instances: (1) when you wear the watch on a daily while being a physically active person whose movements constantly “recharge” the spring barrels, and (2) when you are not that active and/or don’t rotate through your collection as fast and have to manually rewind it each time you take it out of the safe.
Oh, and, of course, there is a third use-case scenario: you prefer to keep your self-winding watches in a winding machine that, if done regularly, too may result in the untimely death of your precious (in all meanings of the word) timekeeper’s mechanism. So, there are three instances you may find the declutchable rotor useful, not two. Okay.
When the amount of stored energy drops below forty hours, the rotor re-engages the winding barrel and again starts to pump it up with power.
An owner will always be able to see whether the mechanism is winding or not thanks to a special “on/off” indicator positioned at 12 o’clock.
A power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock makes living with the system even more comfortable.
All these features come courtesy of Richard Mille’s new Caliber RMAR1 automatic movement.
Featuring a double-barrel design, the movement is heavily skeletonized, like almost all the recent “engines” from the Swiss brand.
The tonneau-shaped movement is secured inside a large case of the same shape.
Being 50 mm in height and 42.7 mm in width, the RM 030 is also 13.95 mm thick, which makes it live to its name: “tonneau” term is often referred to those huge oak barrels used in winemaking.
As it is common for Richard Mille, the RM 030 offers a dial, which is busy with details and is not particularly legible.
Of course, you can always tell the current time, but the “interface” looks messy and not particularly user-friendly.
Well, it is still a nice accessory if you are looking for a timepiece that everybody would notice.
Photos: Richard Mille
Richard Mille RM 030 Automatic Declutchable Rotor specification
Movement: Automatic, caliber RMAR1, double-barrel, declutchable winding rotor, 30.25 mm in length, 28.45 mm in width, 5.59 mm in height, Swiss Made
Cadence of balance: 28,800 vph
Movement finish: Skeletonized
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, power reserve indicator, winding indicator
Power reserve: 50 hours
Case: Rose gold, White gold, or Titanium (pictured)
Shape: Tonneau, with curved profile
Dimensions: 50.00 mm x 42.70 mm
Case height: 13.95 mm
Dial: Grey, skeletonized
Hands: Steel, open-worked
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black rubber on machine-brushed pin buckle in metal that matches the material of the case
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective