In 2011, Richard Mille pioneered the RM 056 sapphire tourbillon split-seconds chronograph with an all-sapphire case, and upped the ante on technology with the subsequent RM 56-01, which also manufactures the baseplate, bridges Plate and third wheel sapphire. Last year, the Richard Mille Tourbillon RM 56-02 Sapphire debuted, combining a tripartite sapphire case with the brand’s revolutionary “wired movement” design.
The movement architecture used in the Richard Mille Tourbillon RM 56-02 Sapphire draws inspiration from the movement of another Richard Mille watch, the RM 27-01 Rafael Nadal, which was co-developed by the Spanish tennis star. The base plate of the RM 56-02 movement is made of tough but lightweight titanium and is suspended within an all-sapphire case using a single braided cable just 0.35mm thick. The movement uses a system of four pulleys on its corner posts and another six pulleys on its periphery. A micro-ratchet at 9 o’clock controls cable tension. The entire system is misconnected with an indicator at the 12 o’clock position, allowing the wearer to check the tension of the pulley to ensure it is operating within specified specifications.
The transparent sapphire case consists of three parts, each milled from a solid block of sapphire with a hardness of 1,800 Vickers, making it scratch-resistant to almost any material except diamonds. Sapphire is also used for movement components, including the winding barrel bridge, the center bridge, and even the tourbillon. Each RM 56-02 is crafted by experts at Stettler in Lessa, Switzerland, requiring 40 days of 24/7 continuous machining of the case, followed by an additional 400 hours of machining and finishing for the movement bridges.
Despite its somewhat refined appearance, the Richard Mille Tourbillon RM 56-02 Sapphire is water-resistant to 3 meters thanks to two clear nitrile O-rings and 24 spline screws made of grade 5 titanium. The front and rear bezels of the case are treated with anti-glare protection. The “see-through” aesthetic extends to the partially translucent strap, crafted exclusively for Richard Mille using a proprietary aerospace nanomaterial whose silky, organic texture complements the ergonomic design of the case. The Richard Mille Tourbillon RM 56-02 Sapphire is an extremely limited edition. Best fake watch