richard mille - RM 022 “Aérodyne”
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
richard mille - RM 022 “Aérodyne”

RM 022 “Aérodyne”

richard mille

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A racing machine on the wrist

See other pictures Luc Virginius / Chronopassion

RM 022 “Aérodyne”

As for the RM 021, the new RM 022 communicates space and supersonic speed that inspire the brand since 2001. However this Tourbillon has another attribute in that it is the first watch to combine a dual time zone with an external structure in titanium combined with orthorhombic titanium aluminides and
carbon nanofibres.
Orthorhombic titanium aluminides are new group of alloys, developed from the main class of titanium
aluminides, which possess a specific crystalline molecular structure ordered on the orthorhombic
phase of Ti2AlNb.
Its use within a honeycombed geometrical pattern was originally the subject of research by NASA for application as a core material on supersonic aircraft wings, where resistance to extremely high temperatures and torsion is paramount.
The alloy in this honeycombed form has unparalleled stiffness, a low thermal expansion coefficient and exceptional torsion resistance.

Technical specifications

  • Circa 70 hours, indicated on the power reserve barrel located between 11 and 12 o’clock.
  • Utilising a numeric scale located between 12 and 1 o’clock, the indicator provides visualisation of themainspring’s internal tension, allowing optimisation of the movement’s timing. Below 53 dNmm, the spring is too slack; at the other extreme, above 65 dNmm, excessive tension can adversely affect the running of the movement and may even cause damage.
  • Indicates a dual time zone with hours on a transparent sapphire crystal disc. These come intoview when suspended above the light colored field located near 3 o’clock. The dual time zone is simple to adjust via a pusher located at 9 o’clock.
  • The free-sprung balancer gives better reliability in the event of shocks, movement assembly anddisassembly, and also guarantees better chronometric results over an extended period of time.
  • The central involute profile of the winding barrel teeth and pinion provides an optimal pressure angle of 20°. This promotes effective rotary motion and allows for compensation of possible variations in the engagement of the going train, thus insuring excellent torque transmission with a distinct improvement in performance.
  • (6 hours per revolution instead of 7, 5 hours)
  • This type of barrel provides the following advantages :
  • - The phenomenon of periodic internal mainspring adhesion is significantly diminished, thereby increasing performance,
  • - Provision of an excellent mainspring delta curve with an ideal power reserve/performance and regularity ratio.
  • This device permits an appreciable winding gain (circa 20 %), especially during start-up.It also aids in the even distribution of the mainspring’s internal tension.
  • In a manner similar to a car's gearbox, a push-button located at the center of the crown allows one to select the winding, neutral and hand setting functions with a simple push. A hand at 4 o’clock displays the selected
  • function: W (Winding) – N (Neutral) – H (Hands).

Who's who

When he talks about Richard Mille, Laurent Picciotto doesn’t say “I” and “he”, but “we”. Just two letters say it all – well, almost. As far as Chronopassion is concerned, this is not about any old brand, but a shared history: that of two men who originally met in Rue Saint Honoré “to chat together for a couple of hours a week – then, five, ten, twenty or thirty hours,” before bringing out the first RM001 one year later. Be that as it may, the friendship between Laurent Picciotto and Richard Mille doesn’t stretch back for decades, to their schooldays, or anything like that. “We first came across each other at the time when Richard was working at Mauboussin, on the first tourbillons developed by the brand,” recalls the owner of Chronopassion. When – as yet unaware of the fact that he was to become “RM” for the world at large – Mille left Mauboussin to launch his own brand, he consulted Laurent Picciotto. Not only did he consult him, he took on board his thinking, and ultimately enlisted Picciotto as a partner when he set up his company. The brand spirit was already in their minds – an uncompromising timepiece, featuring a completely new design, outstanding materials and a brand new assembly technique. Once the specifications had been established, the two men contacted Renaud & Papi to implement production. They were to become RM’s third partner; today, some fifteen years later, they are still crafting its collections. The line taken ahead of presentation of the first timepiece was equally hard-nosed. “Nobody knew Richard, we didn’t really want to make a big thing out of Renaud & Papi and we ourselves had no story to tell at all. In other words, we were swimming completely against the tide,” recalls Laurent Picciotto. “We first attended BaselWorld in 2000. We placed the watch on the table and said ‘There you are, that’s all we’ve got to say, it’s an RM001, yours for €176,000.’ And it worked.” Indeed, the pricing policy was the subject of much debate, right from the outset. “Looking back, it’s easy to say that the approach was the right one,” explains Laurent Picciotto. “But twelve years ago, we’d sometimes break out in a cold sweat thinking about it. Richard and I were both completely focussed on the watch, scarcely paying attention to the final bill until the first one was finished. When we totted it up and it came to over 170,000 euros, there was a bit of a hush. The silence between us was far more eloquent than any number of words could have been. For a while we wondered whether we had overreached ourselves. But it wasn’t long before we were right back with our initial motives – an RM should brook no compromise.” Richard Mille did not hesitate to take this radical approach right to the limit. “When he met a client who had doubts about how sturdy the RM was – whereas that had always been a strong point in its design – Richard would take off his own and throw it on the floor. That was his way of saying ‘I’ve said as much, and now I’m proving it’”, recalls Laurent Picciotto with a smile. “It would certainly make quite an impression!” Looking back, the Richard Mille brand has surpassed even its own designers’ expectations. Having emerged at a time when the market was not yet offering a new brand or revival every couple of months, it surprised everybody. Later on, a lot of independent watchmakers took a similar direction, saying to themselves “If Richard has managed, I can too.” RMs are still as radical as ever, though. Laurent Picciotto sums it up. “Some signs never lie. We’ve never yet seen a client pick up an RM whose first words were ‘it reminds me of a...’ Some fifteen years on from the RM001, nobody’s got anywhere near finishing that sentence.” 
Journalist : Olivier Müller (11/2012)
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