Richard Mille’s timekeeping partnership with the Le Mans Classic, the world’s most famous racing event for historic cars, began with its inception in 2002. The biennial event, like so many others, has had its schedule disrupted by Covid-19 pandemic restrictions: last held in 2018, it was canceled in July 2020 and recently pushed again from July 2021 to the following year, 2022 (followed by another edition in 2023). Despite the absence of an actual race this year, Richard Mille once again celebrates its Le Mans collaboration with the release of a limited-edition timepiece — the eighth in the series — the RM 029 Automatic Le Mans Classic.
The distinctive, sporty, green-and-white color combination of the watch’s tonneau case is sure to catch the eye of Le Mans Classic fans. Measuring 40.1 mm by 48.15 mm in diameter and 13.1 mm thick, and mounted on a white, vented rubber strap, the case has a middle section milled from a single block of Quartz TPT, a high-tech material that Richard Mille added to its watchmaking repertoire several years ago. The front bezel is made from green Quartz TPT with characteristic double Le Mans stripes, made from separate pieces of white Quartz TPT, inlaid into it at 12 and 6 o’clock. This melding of two colors of Quartz TPT in a single bezel is a first for the brand. A Le Mans checkered flag emblem, in the signature colors, also appears on the sapphire dial between 6 and 7 o’clock.
The back bezel, also made of green Quartz TPT, incorporates a barrel-shaped sapphire window to show off the movement, Richard Mille’s skeletonized, self-winding Caliber RMA57. Outfitted with a brand-signature, variable-geometry rotor driving a double-barrel winding system, the movement powers central openworked hours and minutes hands, an oversize date display at 4 o’clock, and a 24-hour display in a subdial at 4 o’clock that also pays a subtle homage to the Le Mans Classic with its blue arrow positioned at the rally’s traditional 4 o’clock start time. The movement’s baseplate, bridges, and other components are made from grade 5 titanium with a Titalyt treatment that enhances their rigidity. The unidirectional titanium rotor is weighted with an 18k gold segment, and the movement’s barrels store a 55-hour power reserve.
The three-part case is secured by two Nitrile O-ring seals, for a water-resistance of 50 meters, and assembled using titanium spline screws and steel, abrasion-resistant washers. The crown, also in grade 5 microblasted titanium, has its own double O-ring seal with an orange collar made of Alcryn rubber. Limited to 150 pieces, the RM 029 Automatic Le Mans Classic is priced at $176,000.