When it comes to bravura displays of technical and material virtuosity met with an equally outstanding network of high visibility ambassadors and partners, it’s hard to top Richard Mille. The bold, brash tonneaus of the racer-turned-watchmaker’s designs are synonymous with a level of confident exceptionalism, regardless of whether it’s worn on a track, field or stage.
Richard Mille’s relationship with Roberto Mancini, the legendary Italian football player, turned manager, stretches back to 2013. That year saw the release of the RM 11-01 Roberto Mancini, a titanium or gold-cased watch with an interesting take on a flyback chronograph — offering a direct countdown display for two 45-minute halves, along with 15 minutes of stoppage time and extra time if needed.
Seven years on and a lot has changed. Roberto Mancini is no longer the successful manager of Manchester City. Since 2018 he has been busy revitalising the Italian national team — the Squadra Azzurra — as their manager, a task he has taken to great success, leading the team to a record 11 consecutive wins in 2019. And there’s a new watch to go with this new challenge. The Richard Mille RM 11-04 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Roberto Mancini builds on the foundations of the RM 11-01, featuring the same 45-minute interval countdown timer flyback functionality, but with an updated aesthetic.
The substantial 44.5mm x 49.94mm x 16.5mm case is a complicated affair — crafted from Richard Mille’s singular Carbon TPT. Chosen for extreme durability, lightness and shock protection, the Carbon TPT components consist of over 600 finely laminated layers, with a maximum thickness of 30 microns. These layers have been arranged to ensure maximum strength and resistance to cracking or splitting, all secured with 20 grade 5 titanium spline screws. In addition to the technical advantages of the high tech material, it doesn’t hurt that the subtle layers of black carbon look wild in the brand’s signature crenellated tonneau silhouette. Add to this the bright blue highlights (the colour of Squadra Azzurra), as well as red, white and green dial details (because, well, Italy), and you’ve got a stand out case.
The high tech doesn’t end with the case, though. The skeletonised titanium Calibre RMAC3, in addition to the aforementioned flyback chronograph functionality, is packing a range of other impressive specifications. There’s a large date display and annual calendar complication, a free sprung, variable inertia balance. The movement is good for 55 hours of power reserve from two barrels (45 if you leave the chrono running). Even the rotor of this Richard Mille is next-level, with variable geometry, allowing for adjustment of the winding speed. Depending on the wearer’s level of activity, the white gold weight can be placed in one of six positions to ensure maximum winding efficiency.
With its unmistakable style and updated materials, the RM 11-04 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Roberto Mancini is a worthy testament — not just to the legendary football figure — but to the evolution of Richard Mille.
Calibre RMAC3 in grade 5 titanium with flyback chronograph; annual calendar; large date; 55-hour power reserve.
44.5mm x 49.94mm x 16.5mm in Carbon TPT.
Blue rubber with titanium folding buckle.