richard mille - RM 61-01 YOHAN BLAKE
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
richard mille - RM 61-01 YOHAN BLAKE


richard mille

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See other pictures Luc Virginius / Chronopassion


The RM 61-01 Yohan Blake takes all of its cues from the RM 59-01 tourbillon launched last year for the Olympic medalist and 2nd fastest man over 100m and 200m. It combines the caliber RMUL2 with its highly skeletonised grade 5 titanium movement treated with PVD and Titalyt® to provide maximum
The bezel and the back of the RM 61-01 are created from TZP-N. This ultra-tough black ceramic material has a low density (6g.cm3) combining extreme resistance to scratches with a very low coefficient of thermal conductivity. Composed of 95% Zirconium compound stabilized with Yttrium, TZP-N provides a perfect finish with blasted and hand polished anglage in combination with a caseband created from light and highly resilient NTPT® carbon. Its drawn-out shape between 2 and 5 o’clock stops the crown from rubbing against the sprinter handle.
The skeletonised RMUL2 movement with 55 hours power reserve is built in grade 5 titanium treated with PVD and Titalyt® using a free sprung balance beating at 4Hz. Developed with sporting applications in mind, Richard Mille has consciously aimed for exceptional impact resistance, with validation testing for the RM 61-01 carried out in excess of 5000 G’s.
Accentuating the tough character of this novel timepiece are the large crown protectors, offering full security to the crown during sports and other activities.
The green flying bridges, woven into the front of the movement, are anodized and painted by hand, bringing to mind the colors of his Jamaican homeland, together with Yohan Blake’s nickname ‘The Beast’, a name imparted to him during his amazing record breaking perfomances on athletics tracks around the world.

Technical specifications

CALIBER RMUL2: manual winding skeletonised movement with hours, minutes and seconds; inspired by caliber RMUL1.
Dimensions: 50.23 x 42.70 x 15.84 mm.
Movement weight: circa 4.3 g.
Circa 55 hours (±10%).
The manufacturing of these components in grade 5 titanium with black PVD coating for the baseplate and the bridges gives the whole assembly a great rigidity and achieves excellent surface flatness, essential to the perfect functioning of the gear train.
The skeletonised baseplate and the bridges have been subjected to complete validation tests to optimise their stress resistance.
This type of balance wheel ensures greater reliability in the event of impact as well as during assembly and disassembly of the movement. This improves precision in the long term. There is no need for an index and it is possible to adjust the inertia more finely directly on the balance wheel via 4 small adjustable small weights.
The double barrel system helps improve torque stability over a longer period by reducing pressure and wear on the teeth, bearings and pivots, resulting in improved performance.
Their shape allows better control of the torque applied to these screws during assembly. The screws are thus perfectly resistant to manipulation during assembly and disassembly and are exposed to minimal wear and tear.
- Movement dimensions: 30.25 x 28.45 mm
- Thickness: 3.15 mm
- Jewels: 24
- Barrel arbor: in 20AP steel
- Balance wheel: Glucydur, 4 arms, moment of inertia 4.8 mg.cm2, angle of lift 53°
- Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
- Balance spring: ELINVAR
- Shock protection: Incabloc 908.22.211.100 (transparent)
- Escapement wheel jewels: Rubifix (transparent)
- Stem with two positions: manual winding and time setting
TZP black ceramic was chosen for the RM 61-01 Yohan Blake’s bezel and caseback. This low density material (6g/cm3) is highly scratch-resistant and has a low thermal conductivity coefficient. Constituted of 95% yttrium-stabilised zirconium, TZP has a pronounced grain that provides the perfect finish. A long and difficult machining and grinding process using diamond tools is necessary to create the complex forms of the bezel and caseback, which are given a final matt surface finish. Its drawn-out shape between 2 and 5 o’clock stops the torque-limiting crown from rubbing against the sprinter’s wrist.
The caseband is in NTPT® carbon, a material composed of multiple layers of parallel filaments obtained by dividing carbon fibers. These layers, with a maximum thickness of 30 microns, are impregnated with resin, then woven on a special machine that modifies the direction of the weft by 45° between layers. Heated to 120°C at a pressure of 6 bars, the NTPT® is then ready for machining. When compared to composite materials, whose exceptional physical properties are already well known, NTPT® carbon improves breaking strains by 25%and the occurrence of micro-cracks by 200%.
The RM 61-01 case is water resistant to 50 meters. It is assembled with of 20 spline screws in grade 5 titanium and abrasion-resistant washers in 316L stainless steel.
Their shape allows better control of the torque applied to these screws during assembly. The screws are thus perfectly resistant to manipulation during assembly and disassembly and are exposed to minimal wear and tear.
In NTPT® carbon with Alcryn® collar.
Upper flange in green anodized aluminum with hour index markers filled with approved luminescent material.
Minutes flange in yellow varnished titanium.
Bezel side: in sapphire (1,800 Vickers) with anti-glare coating (both sides).
Thickness: 1.50 mm
Case back: in sapphire with anti-glare coating (both sides).
Thickness: at the center 1.20 mm and outer edges 1.95 mm.
- Baseplate wet sandblasted grade 5 titanium, PVD treated and hand-drawn after treatment
- Locking sections hand polished
- Burnished pivots
- Pinions with undercuts
- Sandblasted and rhodium-plating, beveled wheels (before cutting the teeth)
- Minimum corrections applied to the wheels in order to preserve geometry and performance
- Screw slot and screw beveled and polished with rounded and polished tip
- Straight line grain finish of the upper surface
- Lower surfaces microblasted
- Sink hand-polished
- Hand polished sinks

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
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