richard mille - Richard Mille RM 030 Le Mans Classic
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
richard mille - Richard Mille RM 030 Le Mans Classic

Richard Mille RM 030 Le Mans Classic

richard mille

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See other pictures Luc Virginius / Chronopassion

Le Mans Classic

For this automatic winding caliber, Richard Mille developed a rotor that would prevent overwinding thanks to its capacity to automatically disconnect from the rotor’s winding mechanism when the spring is fully wound. Additionally, this new mechanism is linked to the power reserve indicator placed at 9 o’clock to provide an optimal winding control with the best ratio of constant torque/power. The RM 030 LMC also has a 24 hours display placed at 2 o’clock. The indication “16”references to the depart time of the endurance race of le Mans classic, is a discrete homage to the event.
The RM 030 LMC displays the colors of the historic race inside of its movement as well as its white ATZ ceramic case and with the rubber of the NTPT® crown. This special edition is a limited series of a 100 pieces.
 

Technical specifications

Technical specifications of the RM 030 Le Mans Classic
- Automatic winding movement
- Power reserve: circa 55 hours
- Baseplate, bridges and balance cock in grade 5 titanium
- Declutchable rotor with variable geometry
- Winding indicator
- Date display
- Free sprung balance with variable inertia
- Double barrel system
- Balance: Glucydur, 4 arms, inertia moment 4.8 mg cm2, angle of lift 53º
- Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
- Spline screws in grade 5 titanium for the case and the bridges
- Interior flanges in carbon fiber
- Torque limiting crown in NTPT® carbon
- Baseplate and bridges in hand-ground grade 5 titanium, wet sandblasted, Titalyt® treated
- Sapphire blasted and hand-drawn surfaces

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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