In 2021, Ferrari and Richard Mille, driven by their shared quest for perfection, joined forces to create a long-term partnership. Richard Mille celebrates this budding relationship with the creation of an exceptional ultra-flat timepiece, the RM UP-01 Ferrari.
The collaboration between Richard Mille and Ferrari teams, most visibly expressed in the choice of materials and execution of the watch, also precisely lent the project the competitive spirit so essential in the most exhilarating adventures.
The RM UP-01 Ferrari is an allusive piece to Ferrari’s values, developing sporting mechanisms that are as elegant as they are immediately recognisable. Their models make no concessions and frequently contradict current trends to create new aesthetical codes. The RM UP-01 Ferrari bears witness to this partnership of the best know-how these two iconic brands have to offer in the combination of their ideas, understanding, respective developments and shared values.
Even in the realm of extreme flatness, the team was determined to make a watch that met the same validation requirements as all its other models. In this quest for absolute flatness, it had to offer a watch that, far from being a ‘concept watch’, was up to the task of following a wearer’s daily life.
Working collaboratively alongside the Ferrari team, the RM UP-01 is a model resulting from many year’s work, dozens of prototypes and more than 6,000 hours of development and laboratory testing.
Meeting the challenge of an ultra-flat watch precluded a traditional movement with superimposed gears and hands. Richard Mille therefore opted to distribute what could not be stacked over a broader surface area by creating a perfect symbiosis between the movement and case, each ensuring the necessary rigidity of the other.
The Richard Mille team was determined to retain a traditional architecture in which the movement is assembled within the case, rather than a construction in which the caseback doubles as a baseplate, in order to ensure under any circumstances total shock resistance.
The baseplate and bridges of the RM UP-01 are crafted of grade 5 titanium, a biocompatible, highly corrosion-resistant and remarkably rigid alloy, which enables the gear train to function effortlessly. The alloy is 90% grade 5 titanium, 6% aluminium and 4% vanadium. This combination further increases the material’s mechanical properties, which explains its frequent use in the aerospace, aeronautics and automotive industries.
The skeletonised baseplate was subjected to separate and extensive validation tests to ensure it met rigorous optimal strength requirements. The calibre RMUP-01 can withstand accelerations of over 5,000 g’s.
In the course of developing the RM UP-01 Ultraflat, engineers from Audemars Piguet Le Locle and Richard Mille developed a new type of escapement with a balance wheel in titanium that drastically reduces the calibre’s thickness whilst providing the same security as a conventional Swiss anchor escapement.
The parts that add the most height in a traditional escapement are the dart (aka guard pin) and the safety roller. Both serve to bank the lever in case of shock. The new patented, ultraflat escapement eliminates both parts and resituates the banking function directly on the anchor fork. To do so, the fork itself was elongated and its horns modified. As a result, the dart-free anchor is significantly reduced in height.
With the RM UP-01 Ferrari, Richard Mille is proud to present an ultra-flat watch just 1.75 millimetres thick. This mind-blowing technical feat owes as much to approaching watch mechanics with fresh eyes as it does to reframing design methods in ways that make the spectacular available for use in everyday situations.