Prized for its ability to create some of the most jaw-dropping pieces of horological excellence around, Richard Mille has surged from being a relatively under-the-radar indie watchmaker into a blue-chip powerhouse that has joined the big boys with over a billion CHF a year in sales. Paramount to their success has been their distinctive designs, incredible watchmaking, and next-level engineering; all attributes that many of its horological offerings like the RM65-01 Titanium Split-Seconds we have on offer here today, wields in abundance.
The RM65-01 was considered the brand’s most complex motorsport-inspired wristwatch to have ever been released when it was first introduced in 2020. Despite it being an extremely technical and complicated-looking watch, the RM65-01 was, surprisingly, conceived for daily wear, which explains why it possesses some essential functions which I think would see some benefits for the daily wearer.
The first RM65-01 was initially introduced in a Carbon TPT case configuration. However, the titanium version we have on offer here lends a different feel and variation to the original’s aesthetic. In today’s world of watchmaking, titanium is a trendy material for many watch cases due to its lightness and increased resistance. As far as physical appearances go, it tones down the RM65-01’s initial aggressive form by a significant notch, and in a good way - especially for those who intend to wear it daily. In my mind, the RM65-01 encapsulates everything that has come to signify Richard Mille and their avant-garde design language.
Now, let’s talk a little bit about the movement. The RM65-01 features a skeletonized, high-beat (36,000 vph), 60-hour power reserve, and automatic winding Cal. RMAC4 which is machined with grade 5 titanium, a bio-compatible, corrosion-resistant alloy consisting of 90% grade 5 titanium, 6% aluminum, and 4% vanadium. This specific composition further enhances the material’s mechanical properties, which is also why you tend to see it frequently being used in fields of aerospace, aeronautical, and automobile industries. Another notable trait of this movement is the latest generation split-seconds mechanism developed and optimized for simultaneous movement and durability. An impressive feat for a watch of this caliber. While mechanical chronograph calibers are already complicated to make, a split-seconds chronograph as you can imagine is exponentially more difficult. With the top right pusher activating the initial chronograph, pressing the top left pusher simultaneously stops the first timer and begins the second chronograph, thus allowing the user to track the difference in two different timings. This is no easy feat and is considered one of the highest grand complications in mechanical watchmaking.
On its vibrant-looking dial, you will find a seconds indication at 6 o ‘clock, a 12-hour counter at 9 o ‘clock, a date window at 11 o ‘clock, a 30-minute counter at 3 o ‘clock, a function selector at 5 o 'clock, and an in-house rapid winding mechanism which allows the barrel to be quickly rearmed in the event the watch stops - an ideal function for those who do not plan to wear the RM65-01 every day. The RM65-01 also features a variable geometry rotor, which means its winding rotor can be set to wind the movement at different speeds according to the level of activity that its wearer is undertaking, and so the RM65-01 can be personalized to the lifestyle of its owner.
Another aspect that I really enjoyed about the RM65-01 is the time-setting mechanism. Gone are the days when one had to fiddle with the crown and attempt to pull it out to the right stop in order to set the time and date. This was achieved by introducing a highly specialized ‘gearbox’ design that is housed within the crown, which allows the user to seamlessly switch between 3 modes - ‘W’ for traditional winding, ‘D’ for date adjustment, and ‘H’ for time-setting.
A state-of-the-art timepiece in just about every aspect possible, the RM65-01 Titanium Split-Seconds is an impressive showcase of the brand’s love for challenging the technical limits of what a high-end, yet wearable sports watch is meant to look like, as well as Richard Mille’s design ethos in a way that celebrates the spirit of modern mechanical watchmaking.