Richard Mille – RM 026 Tourbillon [Limited Edition]

Tonneau case – Limited edition: 15 unique pieces, 18k white gold gem-set case.

Caliber RM026 – Manual winding tourbillon movement with hours, minutes and power reserve, inspired by the RM 019.

Dimensions – 45 mm x 39.70 mm x 12,60 mm.

Main features
(Many of which are major technical innovations)

Power reserve
Circa 48 hours. This function is displayed using a newly designed differential power reserve system, with a printed red line on a moving disc located between 10 and 11 o’clock.

Two creatures adorn its precious movement, writhing and searching within the tourbillon movement, whilst simultaneously holding the precious tourbillon movement in place.
We can admire a ruby & diamond encrusted 18k white gold snake and an emerald & diamond encrusted 18k white gold snake with red coral tongue. But there are several other versions available of these coupled snakes, such as precious stones encrusted or semi-precious stones encrusted, or engraved stones, and even enameled bodies.
Each model is an unique piece.
It took many hours and extremely precise work to engrave by hand the scales of these two exceptional jewellery pieces.
Serpents in mythology have complex roles that can be either good or evil. In connection with the positive properties of Black Onyx they however take on a protective role, representing the potent guardians of temples and other sacred places. Thus, they are natural guardians of treasures or sacred sites that are intimate and require protection.

Black onyx baseplate
Onyx is a variety of cryptocrystalline quartz chalcedony composed of silicium dioxide, (SiO2). The rectilinear black and white parallel stripes version is part of the agate types. The fully black type is called Black Onyx, and is said to be able to deflect harmful energy down to the earth, while providing stability. For this reason, Black Onyx is considered as a charm-stone against spells. Black Onyx also symbolizes equilibrium and inspiration.

Bridges made of titanium
These components in grade 5 titanium with black PVD treatment. This provides the whole assembly great rigidity, as well as precise surface flatness which is essential for the perfect functioning of the gear train.

Variable inertia, free sprung balance
The free-sprung balance provides better reliability in the event of shocks, movement assembly and disassembly. It also guarantees better chronometric results over an extended period of time.

Ceramic endstone for the tourbillon cage
This reflects a technical and long-term view towards the elimination of wear phenomena, resulting in improved technical tribology.

Torque limiting crown
This additional security system prevents from accidental overwinding, which could cause damage to the winding stem or putting extreme pressure on the mainspring barrel. The crown is set with precious stones or semi-precious stones depending on the version.

Barrel pawl with progressive recoil
This device permits a profitable winding gain (circa 20 %), especially during the winding start. It is also helpful in the distribution of the mainspring’s internal tension.

Other features
Movement dimensions – 30.20 mm x 28.60 mm.
Thickness – 4.97 mm.
Tourbillon diameter – 12.30 mm.
Balance wheel diameter – 9.12 mm.
Number of jewels – 21.
Balance – Glucydur, 2 arms, 4 setting screws, inertia moment 10 mg.cm2, angle of lift 53º.
Frequency – 21,600 vph (3 Hz).
Balance spring – Elinvar by NIVAROX.
Shock protection – KIF Elastor KE 160 B28.
Stone setting in white gold.
Barrel shaft in nickel-free chronifer (DIN x 46 Cr 13 + S) with the following characteristics: stainless- antimagnetic- suitable for tempering.

In the world of horology, the case of Richard Mille watches is currently considered as the most difficult to manufacture. This tripartite tonneau-shaped case is fully curved, which enables the watch to be ergonomic and comfortable but is time consuming during its production and requires a high level of quality control. These front and back curves are part of the Richard Mille watch case regardless of their shapes (tonneau, round, rectangular). They demand ultimate precision and no stress in the metal. The bezel side and the case back have to be perfectly assembled in the case middle with no constraints, to prevent the sapphires from any damage. These manufacturing specifications required one year of research and development.

The specific tonneau shape of the RM 026 requires 47 stamping operations including 21 for the forming. Tooling takes 4 hours and the RM 026 is obtained after 255 milling operations. The finishing process requires a full day for grinding, glazing and polishing.

The tripartite case is water resistant to 50 meters, ensured by two Nitril O-ring seals. The case is assembled with 12 spline screws in grade 5 titanium and abrasion resistant washers in 316L stainless steel.

On certain models of the RM 026, the bezel, middle case and back are set with precious stones following the harmony of the two coupled snakes embracing the movement.

Interior flanges
Upper flange in black carbon fiber, with the hours index set with diamonds. Lower flange in black carbon fiber. with the minutes index in white color.

Bezel side – In sapphire (1800 Vickers) with anti-glare treatment (both sides). Thickness – 1.20 mm.
Case back – In sapphire with anti-glare treatment (both sides). Thickness – At the center 1 mm and outer edges 1.73 mm.

Anglage and polishing by hand (excluding Onyx and black treated parts).
Locking sections hand polished.
Sapphire blasted milled sections.
Lapped and polished contact points.
Burnished pivots.
PVD treatment (excluding Onyx).

Steel parts
Sapphire blasted surfaces.
Satin finished surfaces.
Anglage and polishing by hand.
Burnished sections.

Gear wheels
Concave chamfering with a diamond tool.
Circular finished faces.
Surface treatment or rhodium-plating (before cutting the teeth).
Minimum correction applied to the wheels in order to preserve geometry and performance.

Source: Richard Mille

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