BY SOMNATH CHATTERJEE
Richard Mille and McLaren have never disappointed when it comes to their collaborations and yet again their new limited edition timepiece takes inspiration from another exclusive McLaren- the Speedtail hyper car. The Speedtail represents the holy-grail when it comes to bespoke and extreme road cars with only 106 cars build by McLaren worldwide. Continuing that tradition, the Richard Mille RM 40-01 Automatic Tourbillon McLaren Speedtail would also be limited to 106 timepieces. In other words, exclusivity is very much the norm here.
This is the fifth year of the partnership between these two luxury brands and this time the result is probably even more futuristic and also echoes the brand philosophies perfectly. Before we talk about this incredible timepiece, it is important to understand the concept of the McLaren Speedtail along with its unique facets. The car has a central driving position, with a three-seater lay-out, much like the famous McLaren ever, the F1. The shape is also reminiscent of a teardrop with aerodynamics crafting a stunning design. Like all McLaren road cars, the construction is carbon fiber but it has a special weave along with a precious metal/paint finish. Speed is not a byproduct but the main center piece for the Speedtail since it can dispatch 0-60 mph in just 2.9 seconds while rocketing to its surreal 250 mph top-speed.
Similarly, the RM 40-01 Automatic Tourbillon McLaren Speedtail has also been built with such relentless pursuit towards being lightweight, exotic materials used in its construction and minimizing resistance. In-fact it has taken Richard Mille almost 2,800 hours and over 18 months to get the perfect design. The aforementioned water droplet design has also been grafted on the watch while even the bezel indentations mimic the bonnet openings, and pushers that remind you of the air outlets behind the front wheels.
Richard Mille claims that this watch has “one of the highest levels of finishing” amongst its entire catalogue along with a frantic attention to detail with mirror polished, plain and satinised effects all over along with using Titanium and Carbon. The attention to detail that is lavished on this timepiece beggar’s belief as even the case is made from 69 individual parts while the whole watch weighs just 87.247 grams. Richard Mille also faced some unique challenges in the fact that the case was wider at 12 o’clock than at 6 o’clock, hence, an upper crystal featuring a “triple contour” to account for the decreasing taper and thickness of the bezel was made. The asymmetrical strap uses “Vulculor” technology in the rubber version where colored rubber can be molded; hence allowing the “McLaren Orange” color stripe to be seen at 6 o’clock on the movement.
The RM 40-01 also marks a shift for Richard Mille with the mechanism’s first power reserve display as well as the oversize date and function selector. That is a first for Richard Mille, being an in-house tourbillion. We also like the intricate detailing which is present even on the lower component surfaces of the watch while the wheels are finished with the McLaren logo along with some parts representing the curves of the car. The Speedtail bonnet was also the inspiration for the winding rotor!
You can park one of these astonishing timepieces on your wrist for 900,000 CHF ($995,000 approx) and needless to say, the RM 40-01 is the new “hyper car” of watches.