In developing this new crown mechanism Richard Mille focused on the structure of the crown and its components noting the crown as being a potential weak link. In a traditional movement, the crown is exposed outside the case - extending and attaching to the movement creating a vulnerable attachment point. This is not the case in the RM 37. The Crown ,accented in grade 5 titanium, red or white gold sporting a double sea O-ring and surrounded by a collar in Alcryn (World’s Only Melt-Processible Rubber), is separated from the case.
In most watches the stem is inserted by the watchmaker into the movement at the point of assembly, thus creating a weak point by direct connection to crown beyond the case and movement within the case. This setup runs the risk of harming the movement in the event a sharp knock is sustained to the crown. This can occur during a game of tennis , such as when the watch is worn by Richard Milles's ambassador -Rafael Nadel.
The engineers at Richard Mille have devised a solution by separating crown from case - eradicating the stem and thus eliminating potential harm to the movement from a blow to the crown.
The case is crafted from Grade 5 titanium. Grade 5 titanium is an alloy (6% aluminum, 4% vanadium, 0.25% iron, 0.2% Oxygen and the remaining percentage titanium) utilized extensively in Aerospace, Medical, Marine, and Chemical Processing - stronger than commercially pure titanium, maintaining its stiffness and thermal properties, heat treatable, strong & corrosion resistance.
The RM 37 movement is a brand new in-house automatic calibre CRMAI designed exclusively by Richard Mille movement designers in Les Breuleux, Switzerland. The skeletonized dial face explodes into life as the watch keeps time. A large date aperture is highly distinct at the 12 '0'clock position flanked on both sides by red accents. Red highlights a function aperture at the 4 'o'clock position. The functions are chosen via a sleek pusher at the 4'o'clock position allowing for selection of winding (W), Neutral (N) or Hand Setting (W). A second pusher at the 10'o'clock position allows for date change in differing month lengths; 29. 30, 31. (A perpetual calender would not require this function since it takes into consideration the different lengths of months).
As with all Richard Mille timepieces, the RM37 has met the highest possible specifications and undergone rigorous testing procedures to ensure an optimal level of resilience, longevity and timekeeping efficiency. All the components are scrutinized individually as well as the components exact performance in contributing to the movement as a whole. To reach this high degree of competency, the three main components of the case - bezel, case band and case back - require 44 different stamping operations. To get some idea of the process involved in creating a timepiece of this caliber, Richard Mille has divulged some timing and operational aspects of the RM 38 watchmaking process. For example, the machine tooling process requires 2 days of adjustment of the bezel; 2 days for case band and 2 days for case back. The empty case alone undergoes over 255 tooling operations and ,in its final stage, over five hours of glazing and polishing. A 5 axis machine assists in creating the distinctive Richard Mille shaped case. The "Richard Mille" engraving alone (and one rarely adds this aspect to the hours accrued during craftsmanship) on back and inside curves requires 45 hours. The tripartite case (bezel, case band and case back ) is water resistant to 50 meters as a result of 2 Nitril (Nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) -predominantly used in the automotive and aeronautical industry) O-ring seals. 20
spline screws (see inset left) in Grade 5 titanium and abrasion resistant washers in steel 316L secure the components.
The CRMAI movement has other unique factors such as power reserve of 50 hours; a unique rotor with variable geometry; free spring balance with variable inertia as well as the usage of spline screws throughout movement. Richard Mille is forging a path in the world of watchmaking and is one of the leading innovative watchmakers of this generation.
SIHH (Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie Geneva) opens its door for the 20th year on 16th January running to January 20th, 2012. Although the show has a relatively few exhibitors, only 18 (compared with Basel World's 627 watch brand exhibitors), it has proven to be one of the most prestigious & exclusive watch shows of the year. The show is invitation only extended to the select few professionals invited by the exhibiting brands. The watch brands will take this opportunity to unveil exceptional timepieces crafted to make their mark on the watch world.