Richard Mille’s latest adds to their most beloved line of timepieces, the RM 011. This family of chronographs was first launched in 2007 as the RM 011 Automatic Chronograph Felipe Massa, establishing for the brand a legacy and several lifetimes worth of admirers.
For 2020, the RM 011 welcomes its sixth chapter, the RM 11-05 Automatic Flyback Chronograph GMT. The first thing that should strike you about the watch is that as opposed to the more aggressive take on the Richard Mille tonneau case that we see now on the 11-03 and 04, the 11-05 has the prior sleek case styling that we last saw on the 11-02. And probably for good reason, we’ll come back to this.
The movement powering the watch is the Calibre RMAC3 that we’ve seen previously in the 11-03. As it is the Richard Mille religion, the baseplate and bridges of the RMAC3 are all forged in grade 5 titanium with extensive skeletonization.
However, the movement is set apart here with the inclusion of the GMT hand, seen here with the orange arrow tipped fourth hand on the central pinion. The GMT hand can be independently adjusted using a pusher integrated into the watch at 9 o’clock.
Beyond this the movement includes hours, minutes and running seconds at 3 o’clock; 60-minute and 24-hour totalizers for the flyback chronograph at 9 and 6 o’clock respectively, and lastly the annual calendar comprising the large date-display at 12 o’clock with the month aperture between 4 and 5 o’clock.
Now the hardcore follower of Richard Mille watches will note that the material we see on the bezel of the 11-05 is not one we’ve seen previously. After their last foray into a brand-new material utilized in case construction — graphene, used in the RM 50-03 — the brand has now plunged into using Cermet. Cermet is a compounded material formed using a metal element and ceramic. The metal element provides a lattice structure which is then filled with ceramic forming the Cermet (cer-met, i.e. ceramic + metal).
In the case of the 11-05, Richard Mille has utilized a zirconium-based Cermet for the bezel, formally: Zirconium carbide (ZrC). The brand has stated that the Cermet they are using “combines the lightness of titanium with the hardness of a ceramic.”
The production of ZrC requires starting off with zirconium dioxide, where the compound is reduced using a carbon source giving us ZrC in powered form. ZrC is a grey substance, which explains the color of the bezel on the 11-05. From there the solid form of the material is obtained by flash sintering, where the material is subjected to temperatures of up to 2000ºC all while a direct electric field is applied using specialized electrodes. Sintering is what helps form the solid, the flash aspect of it helps to dramatically reduce the time it takes for the sintering process to be completed.
According to Richard Mille, the resulting solid has a, “…density of 4.1 g/cm3 — less than that of titanium — and its hardness of 2,360 Vickers — almost the same as diamond’s 2,400 Vickers — make Cermet a judicious choice for use in bezels that are very exposed to scratches, while maintaining overall lightness.” Which would explain why Richard Mille has gone ahead with the more sleek silhouette of their tonneau case as opposed to the later design that includes a lot more facets and would thus be harder to machine from a material that boasts such extreme physical qualities.
The tripartite case of the 11-05, therefore, has a Cermet bezel, a Carbon TPT® mid-case and a titanium back all held together by Richard Mille’s spline screws in grade 5 titanium.
The RM 11-05 Automatic Flyback Chronograph GMT will be available as of July 2020, in a limited run of 140 pieces.
Self-winding Calibre RMAC3; hours, minutes and small running seconds; chronograph with 60-minute and 24-hour totalizer; annual calendar with date and month display; 50-hour power reserve
Front bezel in grey Cermet, caseband in Carbon TPT® and caseback in grade 5 titanium; water resistant to 50m
Price and Availability
Available as of July 2020, in a limited run of 140 pieces; CHF 204,000 (excl. VAT)