True to the Richard Mille spirit, grey Cermet is the fruit of painstaking research conducted by the brand, which is unrelenting in its commitment to the creation of new materials. This exclusive Richard Mille material in watchmaking combines the lightness of titanium and the hardness of diamond.
The construction of the automatic movement gives pride of place to titanium. Its functions notably include a GMT display that can be simply adjusted thanks to a pushpiece at 9 o’clock, a 24-hour flyback chronograph, and an annual calendar. The added grey Cermet is adapted to the pure aerodynamic lines of the iconic case, which measures 50 x 42.70 mm with a total thickness of 16.15 mm.
The Cermet owes its unique grey colour to the combination of a metallic zirconium matrix with high performance ceramic inserts. Its implementation required a degree of rigour commensurate with that needed to create the materials themselves. Heating and pressing together very different kinds of materials at a high temperature without altering their respective qualities was a challenge.
It proved even more difficult to obtain a homogeneous whole, as nickel and cobalt, which are normally used in this family of hard materials, were excluded in order to adhere to REACH standards, which ensure safety in the production and use of chemicals in the European industry.
It took many years of development for Richard Mille and the IMI Group, specialising in microtechnology, to remove these undesirable binders and only retain suitable materials. The innovative procedure used for this solution pairs classic hot stamping with a series of powerful electrical current pulses to increase the sintering kinetics, a technique known as ‘flash sintering’.
Its density of 4.1 g/cm3 – less than that of titanium – and its hardness of 2,360 Vickers – almost the same as diamond’s 2,400 Vickers – make Cermet a judicious choice for use in bezels that are very exposed to scratches, while maintaining overall lightness.
Cermet’s physical properties are widely recognised, hence its frequent use in ballistic protection, external aerospace fuselage components, and in the brakes of competition vehicles. The combination of a Carbon TPT® caseband, a grade 5 titanium caseback and a grey Cermet bezel helps to significantly reduce the weight of the RM 11-05.
Limited to 140 pieces, the RM 11-05 Automatic Flyback Chronograph GMT is available from July 2020.