Monday, March 5, 2012

Richard Mille's Constant Quest for the Ultimate Watchmaking Material

RM 050 Tourbillon Split Seconds Competition Chronograph Felipe Massa
Richard Mille is a company at the forefront of discovery and innovation in their relentlessness quest for the best watch making material.   Richard Mille scrutinizes every component and questions whether there is a better material in terms of lightweight, longevity, resiliency, shock absorbency,efficiency and of course dramatic effect.

Let us not forget the stunning Richard Mille RM 56 Felipe Massa Sapphire Watch unveiled at SIHH 2012 sporting a transparent and scratch resistant case carved from three blocks of Sapphire crystal or the super lightweight RM027 worn on the hand of Rafael Nadel weighing in at just 18 grams. (in this watch titanium and lithium alloy is used)

The Sapphire Watch - Limited Edition - 5 pieces
The new Richard Mille’s RM 050 Tourbillon Split Seconds Competition Chronograph Felipe Massa, Richard Mille has stepped over the boundary of cutting edge technology and entered a realm bordering on science fiction by incorporating carbon nanotube injected composite into the watch case. The introduction of this material results in a watch which is extraordinarily light weight.  The movement itself only weights 9.5 grams.  And light it must be since this is the watch to be worn around the wrist of Felipe Massa during Formula 1 races. Limited Edition - 10 pieces.

So what exactly are nanotubes?

Structure of nanotube
They are single walled Carbon cylindrical nanostructure resulting in highly unusual thermal conductivity , electrical and mechanical properties.  Nanotubes contribute to the field of nanotechnology, optics, electronics, material science, technology and now Horology.

The carbon atoms are arranged at exact intervals within its structure deeming it the toughest and stiffest material in terms of its tensile strength and elasticity. In layman's terms this means the material is 63 times stronger than steel.    Nanotube technology has been used in the construction of tennis rackets to increase lightweightedness, thus it is quite understandable that Richard Mille - so closely associated with the sports- and one of its greatest players - Rafael Nadel - utilize the same cutting edge material in its watches.
Rafael Nadel Wearing RM 027
  • Carbon Nanotubes is a relatively recent discovery made only in the 1990's.  It is a fullerene structure (a molecule comprised exclusively of carbon in the form of a hollow sphere, ellipsoid or tube) and also includes Buckyballs. Although buckyballs sound more like the name of some Western bandit, they are the term used for Spherical fullerenes.  Delving more deeply into the aspects of nanotubes result in a vast knowledge of Quantum Chemistry, which I confess I know very little about.  However, I do know we are about to hear much more about this ground breaking material and its contribution to the world of Horology.  

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