Tiger, Dragon and Michelle Yeoh – a demon hunter, a mythical creature and an Asian beauty: perfect combo for a Chinese block buster movie, became source of inspiration for this exceptional timepiece from Richard Mille. A tiger and dragon in red gold are integrated into the movement. Created from 3N rose gold, the figures are carved and incised entirely by hand. Special miniature tools needed to be made for the specific artistry required in the physical realization of these two creatures. To increase the realism of these special animals, a long and painstaking process of hand finished micro painting was executed, also including the unseen parts of these two marvellous entities.
The tiger and the dragon have deeply influenced Asian culture. The Tiger, considered as ‘Yang’ supremacy, therefore male, was viewed as a demon hunter. For the military, the tiger, symbol of courage, was represented on shields and weapons. The dragon, meanwhile, is a very common symbol in China, taking on many complex traits, as an emblem that can unify a group, or a larger nation.
The Tourbillon RM 51-01 Tiger and Dragon-Michelle Yeoh will be produced in limited edition of 20 pieces in 18K white gold or red gold. It houses a manual winding tourbillon movement with hours, minutes and power reserve indicator. The power reserve indication is displayed using a differential power reserve system with a printed red line on a moving disc located between 10 and 11 o’clock.
The CALIBER RM51-01 manual winding tourbillon movement comes with many innovative features and functions, some of them are explained below.
- Baseplate and Bridges Are Made of Grade 5 Titanium: These components are in grade 5 titanium this provides the whole assembly great rigidity, as well as precise surface flatness which is essential for the perfect functioning of the gear train. The skeletonised baseplate and the bridges have been subjected to intensive and complete validation tests to optimize their resistance capacities.
- Free Sprung Balance with Variable Inertia: The free-sprung balance provides better reliability in the event of shocks, movement assembly and disassembly. It also guarantees better chronometric results over an extended period of time. The regulator index is eliminated and a more accurate and repeatable adjustment is possible thanks to 4 small adjustable weights located directly on the balance.
- Barrel Pawl with Progressive Recoil: This device permits a profitable winding gain (circa 20 %), especially during the winding start. It is also helpful in the distribution of the mainspring’s internal tension.
CALIBER RM51-01: manual winding tourbillon movement with hours, minutes and power reserve indicator.
Power Reserve: Circa 48 hours (±10%)
– Movement dimensions: 32.80 x 29.00 mm
– Thickness: 5.17 mm
– Tourbillon diameter: 12.30 mm
– Balance wheel diameter: 10.00 mm
– Jewels: 21, set in white gold chatons
– Balance: Glucydur, 2 arms, 4 setting screws, moment of inertia 11.50 mg cm , angle of lift 53º
– Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
– Balance spring: ELINVAR by Nivarox®
– Shock protection: KIF Elastor KE 160 B28
– Barrel shaft: in nickel-free chronifer (DIN x 46 Cr 13 + S) with the following characteristics: stainless- antimagnetic – suitable for tempering.
The three-part barrel-shaped case is highly curved which means the watch is comfortable to wear but considerable time is required for its production and quality control. The ergonomic and visually distinctive curvature of the case is typical of all Richard Mille timepieces, requiring absolute precision and a total lack of tension in the metal.
These requirements for the case design are based on a year’s research and development. The characteristic tonneau shape of the RM 51-01 requires no fewer than 47 preliminary stamping operations including 21 for the tamping before production actually can begin.
4 hours of machining followed by more than 260 milling procedures are required to produce the RM 51-01 case with a further day spent on finishing which entails grinding, satin brushing and polishing. The tripartite case is water resistant to 50 meters, ensured by 2 Nitril O-ring seals. The case is assembled with 12 spline screws in grade 5 titanium and abrasion resistant washers in 316L stainless steel. Dimensions: 48.00 x 39.70 x 12.80 mm
Torque Limiting Crown
This additional security system prevents from accidental overwinding, which could cause damage to the winding stem or putting extreme pressure on the mainspring barrel.
Upper and lower flange in black metal
Bezel side: in sapphire (hardness 1,800 Vickers) with anti-glare treatment (both sides). Thickness: 1.20 mm
Case back: in sapphire with anti-glare treatment (both sides)
Thickness: at the center 1.00 mm and outer edges 1.73 mm.
– Anglage and polishing by hand
– Locking sections hand polished
– Sapphire blasted milled sections
– Lapped and polished contact points
– Burnished pivots
– PVD treatment
– Sapphire blasted surfaces
– Satin finished surfaces
– Anglage and polishing by hand
– Burnished sections
– Concave chamfering with a diamond tool
– Circular-finished faces
– Surface treatment or rhodium-plating (before cutting the teeth)
– Minimal corrections applied to the wheels in order to preserve geometry and performance.