Category: Perfect Wrist


MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT Tiger’s Eye

MB&F is adding a “Tiger Eye” version to the MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT Tiger’s Eye collection. Love the name. What is tiger eye? It is a golden brown gemstone. According to MB&F, “…in some parts of the world, it is believed to ward off the evil eye. Roman soldiers wore engraved tiger eye to protect them in battle.” Here, the stone takes the form of the dial plate and sub-dial of the latest Legacy Machine FlyingT (T stands for Tourbillon) in an 18K yellow gold case set with diamonds.
Sounds fancy. Well, it is a Legacy Machine, so shouldn’t it be? MB&F says, “We don’t craft yellow gold cases very often…but we think it works particularly well with the silky luster of tiger eye, with its undulating bands of color varying from gold to deep brown.”
Make no mistake, it is still a tourbillon. A flying tourbillon, no less. Interestingly, it is also one of the independent brand’s most wearable timepieces, measuring 38.5mm in diameter and 20mm in height. Granted, it may not go under your cuff, but no one would wear an MB&F and worry about that. I assume you already know the theatrical creations that MB&F is renowned for. If not, click the name hyperlink to our past features for a quick browse. Those time machines are typically quite substantial.
Then came the Legacy Machine FlyingT. It debuted back in 2019 as MB&F’s first-ever Machine “dedicated to women”. It garnered the GPHG prize for Best Ladies’ Complication the same year. The collection continues to expand with diamond-set versions in white gold, guilloché-dial editions in red gold and platinum, and last year’s FlyingT Allegra collaboration with Bvlgari. As for the gemstone editions, there has been Lapis Lazuli in 2020, Malachite in 2021, and Tiger Eye today.
Intriguingly, the MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT Tiger’s Eye LM FlyingT does appear to be a smaller and diamond-studded version of the Legacy Machine. References abound that this is a watch “for” women. With all due respect, given the all-male crew of Friends responsible for this creation, I think we’ll park the marketing babble for now, and dive straight in to see the watch for what it is.
To be honest, as a horological masterpiece, the LM FlyingT is off-the-chart intelligent and extraordinary. On further inspection, it is clear that a total redesign has taken place. I love that MB&F decided to go all-out to design a watch as a tribute to women. With a technical upgrade to a new flying tourbillon, it deserves all the respect and accolades it has commanded.

That said, I’ve gotten so used to MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT Tiger’s Eye theatrical creations that it’s easy to forget the LM FlyingT is a very dramatic machine “for women”. How can a crew with not a single woman involved create a watch for women? Calling it “a timepiece for women” is pure PR garbage. Those who do that either do not know watches very well or do not care what “watches for women” means and just jump on the label. That, as we know, only perpetuates the status quo.

The point is, the LM FlyingT is a watch that’s “dedicated to women”. It says so in MB&F’s own literature, and it makes perfect sense when you hear how Max Büsser talks about it. I actually love his concept to make a watch inspired by the women in his life. And if you go along with that, it means that watch would be talking to men too. Now, who would be buying it for the woman of his life, and who would be buying it for himself?

Jacob & Co. Epic X Black Titanium Bucherer Blue

Along with the one-of-a-kind the Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer BLUE watch, Jacob & Co. and Bucherer have also collaborated for the Jacob & Co. Epic X Black Titanium Bucherer Blue Edition, a skeleton watch that also nods to interstellar travel.
Featuring a 44mm diameter black DLC titanium case, the limited-edition manual-winding timepiece, which was inspired by the Rakia mission, will be available for purchase exclusively in the U.S.at Bucherer.
The exclusive 18 pieces feature an eye-catching blue honeycomb strap and a titanium caseback with an engraving of an astronaut, clad in a spacesuit and helmet, gazing at the Earth from space.

Jacob & Co has long produced some seriously oppulant timepieces. The Astronomia is probably it’s most popular, but the Bugatti’s also stick out in my mind. A collection that tends to fly a little under the radar is the Epic X Colleciton. And to end Q1, Jacob & Co release an all new version that is quite bold, and also quite unique. Introducing the Epic X Chrono Tourbillon “Blue Titanium”.
The Epic X Chrono Tourbillon “Titanium Blue” is arguably amongst the more practical Jacob & Co watches. Further, its even one of the more practical Epic X watches. Jacob & Co is typically drowning in diamonds or precious stones, complications, or exagerated features – It’s what makes the brand more unique in the space. With the Titanium Blue, the size is there, the complications are there, but the oppulance takes a backseat to the practicality.

The chronograph features large easy-to-use pushers, while the inner-bezel is operated by the ceramic crown at 10 o’ clock – giving it added utility. The dial features a blue sapphire dial plate that is mostly see-through, and puts the JCAA09 on full display, without compromising the legibility.
Overall, this is a very sporty offering for the self-assured yachting type. While I’ve seen others throw the Titanium blue into the racing category, I find it sits better into the boating one. It’s big, bold, and the colorway lends to the sea. While it’s probably a little big for my personal tastes, I don’t imagine this watch will have a hard time finding buyers.

Jacob & Co.’s New Jean Bugatti

Jacob & Co.’s recent Bugatti Chiron Blue Sapphire timepiece draws a pretty direct, iridescent line to the burgeoning 8-liter, W16-cylinder, 1500-plus horsepower engine of the modern $3-million Bugatti Chiron hypercar in a wrist-friendly format.

However, the new Jacob co Jean Bugatti in rose gold chronograph by Jacob & Co. is much more about capturing the romantic essence of the vintage 1930s-era Type 57 Bugatti automobiles, especially the legendary Type 57 SC Atlantic, considered by most car enthusiasts to be the most valuable car on the planet.

As such, this Jacob & Co.’s New Jean Bugatti watch represents the introduction of an innovative and superbly complicated new movement to honor such an automotive legend. But it also indicates a bold new direction for the watchmaker so famed for its blend of brash design and horological inventiveness.
The astounding new manually wound JCFM09 movement inside the Jean Bugatti has a raft of bragging-rights technology packed inside its 470-component structure: twin one-minute flying tourbillons, a high-frequency double retrograde chronograph function with split hands and jumping counters, smooth mushroom pushers that trigger a column wheel system married to a separate barrel and regulating approach, and peripheral hour and minute indicators, to name a few of the marquis innovations.
But it is the thoughtful and artful integration of these functions into what is nothing short of a surprisingly classical and refined wrist-bourne love letter to the Bugatti Type 57 and its designer Jean Bugatti, son of founder Ettore Bugatti, that makes this machine tick and hum so beautifully. Especially in the 18K red gold case with heritage-inspired cream dial execution we share here, that estimable spirit is fully captured for your wearing pleasure. (There is also a sister 18K white gold case with gleaming deep blue dial version available).
Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of Bugatti design DNA will instantly recognize the trio of gold-rimmed apertures straddling 6 o’clock on this 46mm timepiece as an artful ode to the Type 57’s fascia.

The two “headlamps” give smoked sapphire views to the exquisite one-minute flying tourbillons spinning in concert to fend off the forces of gravity, with iconic “EB” Bugatti logos in polished steel topping the cages and a spring clutch that regulates the twin 21,600 vph spinners.
And at first glance, the unmistakable ovate Bugatti “grille” between them might appear to be a larger vertical date indicator. But it actually serves as an unexpected and unique jumping 30-minute counter for the watch’s inherent chronograph functionality – a real mind-blower.
Those short, blued central hands atop the dial’s Bugatti logo aren’t for the hours and minutes. The longer hand rides along a retrograde, precision 10-second gauge that, like a tachometer, jumps dramatically back to zero for every 10-second “gear change” after you activate the chronograph function. In turn, the shorter hand tallies up the minute interval by jumping up to each 10-second marker, and then clutching back to its gold double-zero spot when your minute is up. Finally, as I previously mentioned, the “grille”-located 30-minute counter pops the next minute interval for the half hour into place to complete this astounding re-envisioning of a chronograph.
Again, mimicking a dashboard’s gauges, two red arrows float along the dial’s elegantly inclined outer rim to clearly indicate the time, with a wide triangle for hours and a more slender one for the minutes. Since they follow the same path, a slight difference in elevation allows the two indicators to pass in the night when minutes catch up to hours.
Even the exhibition caseback, which gives you a splendid view of the dual regulating organs – the components dedicated to the complex chronograph function and the ones for the hours and minutes – reveals some structural bridge work spanning reminiscent of automotive frames and suspension. That dual approach, by the way, ensures a 48-power reserve for the Jacob & Co. Jean Bugatti, with a 2-hour power reserve for the chronograph portion of the timepiece.
Every box is checked for an automotive-inspired timepiece, to be sure. But given the status of the Bugatti Type 57 and its game-changing vision of what a car could be, the shear inventiveness the craftsmen at Jacob & Co. and how they brought the romance of vintage-fueled motion to the kinetics of elegant time-telling is quite remarkable.

A handsome blue alligator strap with blue stitching finishes the race for the 46mm rose gold Jacob & Co. Jean Bugatti, with a black-on-black alligator strap for the white gold Jacob & Co.’s New Jean Bugatti watch

ue dial iteration.

Richard Mille RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson

Richard Mille and professional golfer Bubba Watson have had a continuous brand partnership dating back to 2011.

The new RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson is the third tourbillon developed from the collaboration and the fourth timepiece created during the decade-plus that Watson has been a Richard Mille brand ambassador.

Inspired by Watson’s “lucky charm” color pink, the asymmetrical tonneau case is made from a high-tech layering of Quartz pink TPT, white Quartz TPT, and Carbon TPT.

Like the original from 2011, this timepiece is designed to be worn while hitting a golf ball, and considering there’s a tourbillon, the potential shock was a huge problem, and the RM 38-02 can withstand an impressive level of 10,000 g’s, according to Richard Mille.
The RM 38- 02 movement is built around a baseplate in Carbon TPT, which comprises many layers of parallel carbon filaments. The baseplate supports grade 5 titanium bridges. The color pink is a nod to Bubba’s iconic Ping driver and brings subtle touches of pink inside the movement, including on the micro-perforated bridge located on the back, echoing the pattern of Watson’s driver.

The design of the asymmetrical case, which has already been used on previous models, is tapered in a way that reportedly cancels out “friction with the torque-limiting crown on the wrist.”

“I have been pushing Richard for a pink watch for ten years and here it is!” said Bubba Watson on seeing the RM 38-02 Tourbillon for the first time. The RM 38-02 Tourbillon Bubba Watson is a numbered limited edition of 50 pieces.

Patek Philippe Just Announced The 5270T-010

You never know what you’re going to see during auction season. A few moments ago, the team at Phillips, in association with Bacs & Russo, presented to me a very special one-of-a-kind example of the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph 5270 that will be auctioned off on November 7, 2022, at the biannual Children Action Gala.

The watch in question is a unique piece of Patek’s current flagship perpetual calendar chronograph, cased in titanium (!), with an emerald green sunburst dial (!!). The watch will be on display over the next few days during the Phillips Geneva Watch Auction XV preview at Hotel La Reserve on the outskirts of Geneva.
If you’re wondering what makes this watch so special, it really boils down to the choice of case metal. Patek Philippe makes very few wristwatches out of lightweight titanium, and the few times they’ve done so over the years have typically been for charity auctions, such as Only Watch. There was a Sky Moon Tourbillon in titanium that sold at Sotheby’s in 2014, and you might remember that titanium versions of the 5004 and the 5208T-010 each achieved massive prices at Only Watch in 2013 and 2017, respectively. A Patek Calatrava Travel Time 5524 in titanium was also sold to benefit Children Action. But this is the very first time a 5270 will be cased in titanium.

Add in the use of a first-of-its-kind green dial and the fact that it will be auctioned off at Children Action, and you have the kind of watch that should generate serious attention (and a serious sum of money) when it goes to auction.

In 1994, Swiss entrepreneur Bernard Sabrier established Children Action, a charity that’s dedicated to making a difference in the lives of impoverished children around the world. Every two years, the charity hosts a gala that auctions off a small selection of goods to support the charity’s various causes. The gala sometimes contains auctions, and sometimes it doesn’t. (You might recall a few days ago when I broke down the Geneva Watch Auction XV catalog, Phillips will be auctioning off a unique F.P. Journe Octa Zodiaque that was sold in 2005 to benefit Children Action.) It’s worth noting here that Phillips will not be hosting the Children Action auction in November; however, the watch will be on display during the Phillips Geneva Watch Auction XV preview, which starts today and runs till May 8. Aurel Bacs, master auctioneer and impresario of the Phillips Watch Department, has been selected by Sabrier and the charity to lead the charity auction.
“There are children in this world who need medical care and education,” Bacs said while presenting the watch to me earlier this afternoon. “There’s nothing more beautiful than when we can all come together and create a certain amount of funds to do good. Mr. [Thierry] Stern has made a watch that I think you and I can only speculate as to what type of records it may or may not smash. It’s wonderful.”
That’s everything we know about the watch’s background, but the good intent behind the project only matters if the watch itself is attractive enough to catch enough collectors’ eyes. I think that, in fact, is where the watch excels.

While it’s hard to top the Tiffany Blue 5711, the brand-new emerald sunburst dial on the 5270T-010 might even be more attention-grabbing thanks to its eye-popping Soleil finish. In the few moments I was able to inspect the piece, it was remarkable how the color transitioned with the light, from a light green tone to a more electric color, and even a saturated look that’s almost turquoise or teal in its coloration.

I’ll note here that the watch has a completely different effect than the olive green of last year’s Nautilus 5711/1A-014 and the darker shade of green used on the platinum 5270 we saw recently at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2022. Other than the case metal, the polished titanium case is identical in shape and architecture to previous editions of the 5270. Finally, although it’s difficult to discern in the images we snapped when we viewed the watch earlier today, there’s a metalized inscription imprinted on the sapphire crystal caseback that reads “Children Action 2022,” although the watch will also be delivered with an interchangeable solid titanium caseback to that can be used instead.

Sometimes a watch is just a watch. But then there are times a watch is able to change lives through charity. This is another of those rare occasions where the proceeds that come from this unique Patek Philippe sale will leave an indelible mark on the lives of young people around the world.

FRANCK MULLER MUSEUM OPENS IN SINGAPORE

In 2022, Franck Muller will celebrate its 30th anniversary. In the run up to this milestone, we are presenting an exhibition in Singapore, exploring three decades of innovative watch design.

The exhibition includes a retrospective of Franck Muller Vanguard Line Cut watch designs since the foundation in 1992, leading up to the brand’s latest releases. It explores the complexity and beauty of Franck Muller mechanisms and world premieres.
Visitors will be able to discover the world of Franck Muller Vanguard Line Cut through a range of creative installations, including detailed layers of the Aeternitas Mega 4, the world’s most complicated wristwatch. They will learn about the development of the earliest timepieces, the founding of Watchland and how the brand succeeded in combining boldness and creativity with exceptional Haute Horlogerie know-how to become one of the best Swiss horlogerie brands.

The Franck Muller boutique in Wisma Atria has been transformed for this exhibition, until 20 March 2022. To illustrate the evolution of the Franck Muller brand, we’ve brought out 15 historic World Premieres and archival pieces, including the monumental Aeternitas 1 & 2, as well as unique models such as the original Crazy Hours and the Evolution 3-1 multi-axis tourbillon. Along the unique design installation to showcase the complexities of a Franck Muller Vanguard Line Cut watch, the exposition showcases the original desk of Franck Muller, where some of our earliest icons such as the Crazy Hours, Master Banker, and Revolution models were invented and dreamt up. Along with the retrospective, a selection of our latest timepieces will also be exhibited, including the Vanguard Rose Skeleton and the Grand Central Tourbillon. We invite you to come and experience the universe of Franck Muller, and learn more about a brand that has continuously brought new innovations to the classic world of Swiss watchmaking.

Patek Philippe’s Watches & Wonders 2022 Novelties

I’m sure everybody reading this is already aware, but yesterday was the first day of Watches & Wonders 2022. The press embargo floodgates opened, and a veritable deluge of articles saturated the online watch community.

However, as overwhelming and exhausting as the first day of a major show can be, at least we finally get to dispel the rumor mill and see what brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph are actually releasing.

We already recapped Rolex’s novelties yesterday. So, today we look at how Patek Philippe’s releases stacked up to pre-show expectations.
One of my favorite releases of Watches & Wonders is Patek’s Annual Calendar Travel Time Ref. 5326G, as it is filled with paradoxes.

For starters, I was really hoping for Patek to play around with strap materials, as juxtaposing high complications with unorthodox bands has always been a specialty of the maison (no further example is needed than the Aquanaut with its rubber strap), and I wasn’t disappointed. As someone whose style is based on mixing t-shirts and tweed jackets, the contrast between the annual calendar and nubuck finished strap is where complicated and casual meet. With this reference being the watchmaker’s first annual calendar timepiece with a travel time display system, this technical masterpiece (priced at $76,880) is an instant hit. Though the 5326 features the utmost technical prowess, the appeal is in features like the strap and Calatrava-esque case that make this watch wearable. Watches are meant to be worn, and this piece proves that very sentiment.
In 2021, the most coveted dial color was green. Every brand was doing it. Yet Patek chose to do it again in 2022 but in a brighter shade than the brand’s highly coveted khaki hue. But in what I can only explain as a bid to prove why green dials are here to stay, the release of the World Time Ref. 7130R ($57,960) and the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Ref. 5270P ($211,720) are prime examples of just how striking green can be, especially as the backdrop to a complication (or two). As someone who is very biased to the reference 7130, this far exceeded my expectations, as this green world timer will garner global envy.
In all honesty, I never expected Patek to continue the trend of green dials, least of all in the Twenty~4.

Don’t get me wrong: If you are looking for an under-the-radar reference, the new green-dialed 4910 will make for effortless daily wear. However, with the arguably sportier release of the Ref. 7300 a few years ago, I was expecting a dial variation for that model, not the reference 4910.
In full transparency, if I had a crystal ball, I would not be in watches; I would be on a beach in the South of France watching my portfolio rise exponentially. But having said that, being a watch collector for almost half of my life, I can say Patek Philippe did indeed meet my expectations and (mostly) aligned with my own predictions. In full transparency, if I had a crystal ball, I would not be in watches; I would be on a beach in the South of France watching my portfolio rise exponentially. But having said that, being a watch collector for almost half of my life, I can say Patek Philippe did indeed meet my expectations and (mostly) aligned with my own predictions.

RM 032 Automatic Winding Flyback Chronograph Les Voiles de Saint Barth

After a two-year hiatus, RM 032 Automatic Winding Flyback Chronograph Les Voiles de Saint Barth has just announced the return of the Voiles de Saint Barth Richard Mille regatta — taking place over six days in the Caribbean Sea. This year’s 11th edition will see 700 sailors spread across 71 teams comprised of Maxis, Super Maxis, Multihulls, Spinnakers, and Melges 24s.

With the upcoming competition, Richard Mille revealed a new commemorative watch, the RM 032 Voiles de Saint Barth. The watch has been created to withstand depths of 300 meters and features Caribbean blue accents and white Quartz TPT. The watch has a full grade 5 titanium case middle and is flanked by lugs, inserts, and a case back all made in Carbon TPT. The 50mm skeletonized watch also packs a flyback chronograph function, an annual calendar, an indicateur de marche, and a half-turn locking crown.
Involved in creating the regatta in 2010 and its title partner since 2019, Richard Mille is once again present at the event, accompanied this year by the brand’s freediving partner Arnaud Jerald. The four-time world record holder and reigning world freediving champion is proud to be associated with this internationally renowned competition: “Our disciplines are synonymous with performance, humility, solidarity and surpassing oneself, and I am honoured to be a patron of this year’s Les Voiles de Saint Barth Richard Mille competition. I sailed when I was younger and I love the sensations, so I’m looking forward to picking up some valuable insights and talking to some true enthusiasts. Sailing and freediving are also sports in which experience is highly valued, so I expect to learn a lot from this event.”

This 11th edition also provides the perfect opportunity for the brand to present its new RM 032 Voiles de Saint Barth timepiece, a highly technical creation that can withstand a pressure of 30 atmospheres (300 metres) in accordance with the ISO 6425 standard for diving watches.

Richard Mille RM 47 Tourbillon The Time of the Samurai

Associating art and spirituality. Creating a new masterpiece designed as an aesthetic tribute to Japanese culture. Richard Mille presents the Richard Mille RM 47 Tourbillon The Time of the Samurai, the fruit of intense reflection and nearly four years of design work. This is an artful watch of a new kind, incorporating an extremely compact calibre, specifically designed to make room for a stylised Samurai suit of armour entirely crafted by hand. The model was born of a friendly conversation between Richard Mille and the twice Formula 1 world champion and brand partner Fernando Alonso, a passionate enthusiast of Japanese traditional arts and the Samurai principles.
This new model transcends creative limits and takes its place in the prestigious lineage of ‘ornamental’ watches typical of the brand. Entirely hand-carved by the engraver Pierre-Alain Lozeron and painted by his wife Valérie Lozeron, the Samurai armour illustrates the different aspects of ancestral Japanese culture. Evoking the spirit of bushido, the Samurai code of ethics whose values still prevail in Japanese society, the armour comes to life in 3N yellow gold, recalling the gold leaf used in ancient Japan to embellish the country’s finest shrines and also certain works of traditional craftsmanship.

Many details make reference to the Asano clan, a family that symbolises the bushido spirit. The chief of the family domain in the 18th century, Asano Naganori, was also the lord of the 47 ronin who avenged his death before following him into the afterworld. Their Kamon, or clan heraldic sign – each Samurai clan has one – is proudly featured on the tourbillon, at six o’clock.
Representing two crossed falcon feathers, expressing strength in war and the authority of the suzerain, this emblem is also very finely engraved on the warriors’ helmet winglets. The crown, crafted in titanium, Carbon TPT and polished 3N yellow gold, bears the motif of a Japanese maple leaf, a symbol of the seasons as well as of grace, beauty and the brevity of life. Finally, at the bottom, the two swords, sheathed in their scabbards, point the cutting edges of their blades upwards to be drawn rapidly in the event of danger.

This decoration, which is a work of sculpture as much as a piece of engraving, demanded patience, meticulousness, dexterity and passion. ‘Between sword and chisel, between the cutting edge of the blade and the incisions defined by the precision of the engraver’s technique, there are many parallels to evoke the similarities between the qualities of these warriors and those demanded by our artistic crafts,’ explains Pierre-Alain Lozeron. In total, it takes no less than 16 hours of engraving and 9 hours of painting – in all, more than a whole day – to obtain the 11 components that make up the Samurai, perfectly integrated, front and back, around the movement of the Richard Mille RM 47 Tourbillon The Time of the Samurai.
Like a guardian, the armour provides precious protection for the manual-winding calibre RM47 with hours and minutes. To ensure optimal functioning of the movement, the baseplate and skeletonised bridges are made of grade 5 titanium, a biocompatible alloy often used in the aerospace industry, with a black PVD treatment. This combination offers high corrosion-resistance, remarkable rigidity and perfectly flat surfaces.

The RM 47’s movement, case and decoration all bear witness to a design approach intended to guarantee the harmonious and effective integration of all the various elements. The barrel-shaped case comprises three parts with a caseband in 3N yellow gold receiving a bezel and a caseback in black TZP ceramic. With their exceptional aesthetics, the 75 Richard Mille RM 47 Tourbillon The Time of the Samurai watches evoke the spirituality and values of the bushido, while embodying a determined quest for perfection and respect for tradition.

Richard Mille RM 17-01 Tourbillon Carbon TPT

When I think about Richard Mille watches, the first word that comes to mind is “aggressive.” There’s always something a little bit in-your-face about RMs, and the watches wholeheartedly embrace this distinctive attitude. From the tonneau case shape to the skeletonized movements to the use of color and texture, these are watches that beg to be looked at. So, as you can imagine, when the RM 17-01 Tourbillon Carbon TPT showed up on my desk, I paid attention.

I’ll be honest with you: Until this watch arrived, I’d never seen it or heard of it. Richard Mille quietly added it to the collection back in September 2019, simply posting it to Instagram, avoiding the usual press-release-and-event fanfare. Only 10 pieces have been made and they’re available at Richard Mille boutiques across the globe. There happened to be one in New York City, so I got my chance to spend a day with the RM 17-01 before it disappeared into someone else’s safe. Lucky me.
The RM 17-01 has been around for a while in various forms, but it’s a watch based on an even earlier Richard Mille model, the RM 017. The RM 017 is a rectangular watch with an ultra-thin profile and a skeletonized, hand-wound tourbillon movement. It’s long been an outsider in the RM catalog, with its slim, geometric profile. The RM 17-01 takes that same movement and mounts it in a more familiar, thicker tonneau-shaped case. It’s the same technology, presented in a more recognizable Richard Mille package.

What makes this limited edition special is that case, which is rendered here in Carbon TPT, the carbon composite that Richard Mille has favored over the last number of years. It has a look somewhere between that of traditional carbon fiber and Damascus steel, with waves and grains in the dark grey surface. The bezel, caseback, and case band are all made of Carbon TPT. It’s matte, but it actually catches the light quite nicely due to all those surface variations, so you get a bit of reflectiveness without the full-on shine of metal.
Another major upside to Carbon TPT is that it’s super light. Like, really light. Despite measuring in at 48.15mm x 40.1mm x 13.8mm, this doesn’t feel like a big watch to me at all. The caseback is also curved, so on the wrist the watch wears much easier than you’d expect. It sits low, hugs the wrist, and doesn’t feel like an anchor. It’s not going to tuck under a cuff very easily, but if you’re buying a Richard Mille you’re probably not hoping to hide it. Every time I strap an RM on my wrist, I’m surprised all over again by how comfortable they are. The latest RM 17-01 is no exception.
I want to go back to that caliber RM017 movement for a minute though. To call the movement “skeletonized” would almost do it a disservice. It doesn’t look like a traditional caliber with sections cut away. Rather, it looks like something that was designed from the ground up to be as minimal as possible, leaving tons of space for light to pass through and eschewing extra material that would just add weight to the watch. There’s really no dial to speak of (it’s a 0.3mm-thick piece of sapphire), with the indicators seeming to float over the movement components and the lume plots anchored to the inner bezel (which also contains the minutes track). For something so open, I found the dial easy to read, with the sharp rose gold hands standing out nicely against all the titanium components. The indicators looks like a bright yellow in certain light and like a muted gold in other light, adding some interest to the watch.
In terms of functionality, there’s a lot packed in here, especially for what is essentially a time-only watch. There are the hour and minute hands, an indicator for the 70-hour power reserve at two o’clock, and a function selection indicator at three o’clock that tells you whether the crown is in the winding, neutral, or hand-winding position. There is also a one-minute tourbillon, prominently displayed down at six o’clock. Because of the industrial styling of the RM 017 and the emphasis placed on the angled bridges, you’d be forgiven for not noticing the restrained tourbillon cage at first, but it’s there and it’s kind of the star of the show here. Putting tourbillons in sport watches like this is an RM signature, and it’s well-executed here as you’d expect.

As with any Richard Mille, this one doesn’t come cheap. The RM 17-01 will set you back a cool $300. There are a lot of truly incredible watches that you could buy with that money (I mean, hell, you could buy three or four really awesome watches for that sum), but Richard Mille doesn’t really position itself as being in competition with anyone else. It’s one of the brand’s strengths. If you want an RM, you probably only want an RM and aren’t really worried about comparison shopping.
Now, you might be thinking, “Stephen, do you really like Richard Mille? You? The guy who wears small, three-hand watches with monochromatic dials? Seriously?” The answer is a simple and earnest “yes.” I really do. I can’t help it. Against my usual tastes, I find RMs really compelling. In a sea of sameness, Richard Mille makes watches its own way, going against the grain of what most other watchmakers think “high-end watchmaking” should be. While I can’t see a world in which I would want to trade out of my vintage Explorer for an RM Tourbillon as a daily wearer, I certainly wouldn’t mind having a killer Richard Mille in my watch box for those days when I’m feeling a bit extra.

Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and your regular patterns is an important thing. It’s important in life, sure, but it’s also important in any hobby or pursuit, whether that’s a love of cars, art, or watches. This is a watch that pushes me outside my comfort zone. It forces me to think actively about what I like and why, what I think “high watchmaking” means and why, and what makes a mechanical watch interesting in the 21st century. So although I only got to spend an afternoon with it, the RM 17-01 Carbon TPT will surely leave its mark in my memory.

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