If there is one thing Richard Mille’s brand partnerships have in common, it is speed. From the Les Voiles de St. Barth sailing race, to sprinter Johan Blake and Rafael Nadal’s 135-mph serve, it’s all about velocity. It comes as no surprise, then, that Richard Mille’s latest partnership is with Airbus Corporate Jets (AJC) , the private-jet arm of the French aviation company.
You can’t miss the brightly colored RM 50-02 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph AJC from Richard Mille. It is not your typical aviation watch: it has no round case, large onion crown or large, super-lumed numerals against a plain dial. The bright orange, yellow, and green indicators and accents that criss-cross the dial of the RM 50-02 AJC are based on cockpit colors of AJC jets. In addition to time and split-seconds chronograph functions, the dial also has a power-reserve indicator between 11 and 12 o’clock, a torque indicator between 2 and 3 o’clock (the numerals between 53 and 65 refer to the normal range), and a tourbillon-driven split-seconds function at 6 o’clock. All of this is poised over an openworked movement, including a mainspring in full view.
The signature Richard Mille tonneau case lends itself perfectly to a porthole shaped dial – specifically, it mirrors the shape of cabin windows on the ACJ320 family of large-cabin jets. The crown is designed to resemble an airplane wheel, and the pushers are styled to match structures used to attach the wing to the engine in ACJ320 jets. The case screws are tiny replicas of Airbus’s tension screws. The component and case materials – ceramic, titanium and aluminum – are also used in aerospace. The case of the RM 50-02 AJC, which measures 16.50 mm thick, 42.7 mm wide and 50.1 mm long, is made of lightweight titanium and aluminum. As in aircraft design, weight is an issue in the production of large wristwatches, not just for wearing comfort but for the reduction of friction between working components, which makes them more energy efficient. For the RM 50-02, Richard Mille developed new split-seconds components in titanium, including the column wheels. The movement components are coated with the same anti-corrosion material used in Airbus jets, a feature that is mainly aesthetic. It has a white ceramic bezel plate.
The Richard Mille RM 50-02 AJC is the result of a two-year collaborative design process that began with a visit by brand founder and namesake Richard Mille to the Airbus construction facilities in France. It is priced at $1,050,000 and will be made in a limited edition of 30 pieces.