Richard Mille has always been one of the more pioneering watchmakers of our generation. One would assume that his last creation with full sapphire case might have been a little hard to top but last week, he announced his mainstay RM 011 flyback chronograph in silicon nitride, a material commonly associated with automobiles and not in horology.
Why Silicon Nitride?
When silicon nitride is used as material in engine parts- valves, rotors, etc, it results in faster start up, lower engine lag and noise. The secret to the material’s power is due to its hardness, thermal stability and resistance to wear. In fact NASA space shuttle engines use silicon nitride and ceramic bearings and there are few harsher conditions than within a goddamn rocket engine. The silicon nitride composite reduces 80% friction for 80% higher speed, 60% less weight, ability to operate without lubrication and lasts up to 10 times longer, to boot, they’re amagnetic as well.
Traditionally, this wunderkind material has not been more widely used in most technical applications despite its supremacy over regular ferrous-based materials because of costs but with Richard Mille, there’s never too high a price for performance.
The RM 011 in Brown Silicon Nitride
The standard RM 011 that many of you are familiar with like the flyback chronograph movement, 60-minute countdown function and variable geometry winding rotor (exclusive to Richard Mille) is used and for 2013 rendered in brown silicon nitride for the bezel and case back of the RM 011 while the middle-box, crown and push-pieces are made of 18-carat red gold, and the push-piece guards from polished grade 5 titanium.
Naturally, it should surprise no one that a material with a hardness rating of 1,500 Vickers (diamonds are 10,000) and used in explosive extreme temperature shuttle engines are extremely hard to shape. For this feat, Richard Mille put the compounds under 2,000 Bars of pressure, fired it to 1500 degrees celsius and used diamond tools during the machining process for exceptional finish.
On Jason Statham’s Wrist in Parker
“The cutting-edge RM 011 Flyback Chronograph perfectly complements Parker’s ruthless and courageous character,” -Richard Mille.
Jason Statham plays Parker, a professional thief who lives by a Robin Hood-esque code “don’t steal from the poor or hurt innocent people” and when his menter sends him on a heist with a new crew, the job goes sideways as a result of his personal code and the crew turn on Parker leaving him to death. It would be a boring movie if it ended there but heist movie turns into revenge flick as Parker plots the demise of men who attempted his murder. Taking on the role of business man Daniel Parmitt, the RM 011 (non silicon nitride version) according to creator Richard Mille, “Perfectly complements Parker’s ruthless and courageous character, with its naked, transparent sapphire glass mechanism protected by a case of titanium and 18K red gold. In his quest, Parker must be swift , precise and punctual. The RM 011 reflects these attributes with oversize date, flyback chronograph with 60-minute countdown timer, 12-hour totalizer and 55-hours of power reserve.”