A yellow circle, two oval eyes, a large upturned mouth… The smiling face drawn by Franklin Loufrani more than 50 years ago has become an established symbol in the collective consciousness. It is the embodiment of positivity, joy and sharing, and has played a major role at the heart of pop culture for generations of creatives. This leadership role was enough for Richard Mille’s team to start creating an emotion-driven copy watch that emphasized all of these values.
mechanism of smile
Around the radiant face of the smiling face, a series of miniature sculptures occupy the movement of the RM 88 Automatic Tourbillon Smiley, forming and transforming a surreal scene full of fun and enthusiasm, demonstrating a true mastery of the infinitely small. As light as it may seem, the creation of this ballet was a technical challenge of the highest order. But the dream is now a reality, with extreme attention to detail and perfection that breathes life into the veritable smile mechanism.
Bottom plate and bridges are made of grade 5 titanium
Micro-sprayed grade 5 titanium with PVD treatment provides great rigidity to the baseplate and bridges, as well as the precise surface flatness that is essential for the perfect operation of the gear train.
Grade 5 titanium is a biocompatible, highly corrosion resistant and very hard alloy that enables the gear train to operate with ease. Richard Mille RM 88 Automatic Tourbillon Smiley
The alloy is 90% grade 5 titanium, 6% aluminum and 4% vanadium. This combination further enhances the mechanical properties of the material, which explains its frequent use in the aerospace, aviation and automotive industries.
The skeletonized baseplates and bridges undergo intensive and complete verification testing to optimize their resistance capabilities.
On top of the Microblasted ARCAP® Additional Motion Work Bridge, a striking gold smiley figure, microblasted and painted, dominates the landscape, complete with polished corners and brushed edges. Featuring a larger iridescent pattern, hand-applied varnished to contrast with anthracite-coloured rhodium-plated, shimmering subtle reflections.
No effort has been spared in finishing, down to the tiniest detail of every element in this display. The cocktail glass consists of four parts, all of which are golden. Umbrellas, olive trees (1.7mm high), fluted straw 0.4mm in diameter – all polished – and the glass itself, whose bottom is micro-blasted to convey its coldness, weighs just 0.4g in total. The gold flowers on it are mirror-polished, and the petals are brushed and rhodium-plated. This pink flamingo, 0.2 gram red gold, has also undergone multiple processes: its wings are polished and its feathers are depicted with the tips of a degussi millstone; its eyes are made with the smallest beading tool in existence ; its base is micro-blasted and the parts depicting grass and water are polished. The component was given a metallic pink PVD coating before the beak was painted black using a brush.
The pursuit of perfection is always there, green PVD coated leaves, pineapple micro-blasted and polished surface, gold cactus micro-blasted, one-by-one polishing to remove PVD coating, and sun, micro-blasted gold, polished rays . In keeping with watchmaking tradition, all finishing operations on the RM 88 Smiley are done by hand.
This type of balance wheel represents the pinnacle of innovation. It ensures greater reliability against shocks and during movement assembly or disassembly, resulting in better timekeeping results over time.
Adjuster indices are eliminated and more accurate and repeatable calibration is possible thanks to 4 small adjustable weights located directly on the balance.
ATZ white gold ceramic and red gold case
Such brilliant colors and sets, front and back, deserve an environment that does justice to the composition.
The design and execution of the watch demonstrates a holistic approach to the movement and case concept. Therefore, everything is built to extremely strict specifications. For example, casing rings are no longer used, and the movement is mounted on chassis-mounted rubber (ISO SW) secured by titanium screws.
The bezel and caseback are made of ATZ white ceramic. This is made from a tube of aluminium oxide powder injected under a pressure of nearly 2,000 bar. This high-pressure injection increases stiffness by 20 to 30 percent and minimizes material porosity. ATZ is known for its high scratch resistance (1,400 Vickers) and unchanging color. Second only to diamond, it is one of the hardest materials in the world. Long and difficult machining with diamond tools was required to create this perfect example of the intricately curved bezel and satin finish. Richard Mille RM 88
The strap is made of 18K 5N red gold.
The tripod case is water-resistant to 50 meters, secured by 2 nitrile O-rings. The case is assembled with 12 grade 5 titanium spline screws and 316 L stainless steel wear washers.