In the grand scheme of the watch industry Richard Mille is quite young. With beginnings in 2001, this contemporary brand embraces its newness by creating extraordinary timepieces rooted in technical innovation — striving for perfection in both artistry and architecture. We have covered the brand many times, and you can read about some of the pieces here and here.
Now, Richard Mille delights us yet again with its newest rendition of a coveted piece: the limited edition RM 022 Tourbillon Aerodyne Dual Time Black Carbon– which we got to go up close and personal with just recently. An updated version of the brand’s 2010 RM 022 Tourbillon Aerodyne Dual Time, this Black Carbon version still features the honeycomb-patterned orthorhombic titanium aluminide alloy to provide a sturdy structural foundation for the beloved tourbillon. However, the claim to fame for this remarkable timepiece is its casing make-up. Comprised of North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT), a material already used in racing sails and Formula 1 racecar designs, the Black Carbon has its own unique look. This material is composed of multiple layers of divided carbon fibers which are then woven together. Much like natural wood grains, NTPT ensures each watch has its own individual appearance.
The 48mm three-part case is done in remarkably lightweight fashion. After wearing this piece for all of about five minutes, it was easy to forget that it was even on my wrist! Its comfort ranks second to none, as the back casing is curved to nestle on to the natural slope of your wrist. However, don’t let this featherweight fool you, NTPT is incredibly durable, up to 25% stronger than similar composite materials.
Casing aside, in typical Richard Mille fashion, the rest of the RM 022 Tourbillon Aerodyne Dual Time Black Carbon is also extremely complex. It is complete with a torque meter in the top left corner indicating the precise tension in the mainspring to ensure the watch is running at optimal timing. The power reserve meter sits in the right corner and indicates the power left within the 70 hour power reserve while the dual time zone also sits front and center. With black indicating numbers circling the center minute and hour hands, its adjustment pusher almost secretly settles at 9 o’clock on the side casing.
The push crown function selector, sitting at 3 o’clock is a highly technical feature. It allows you to effortlessly rotate through the three separate modes, H, N, and W, corresponding to hours (set time), neutral, and winding, respectively. The manual winding tourbillon movement with its Black Carbon casing is a highly prized work of art. Especially when we consider the strength and dependability behind a brand that boasts that its watches withstand force of being worn tennis player Rafael Nadal during professional matches! The assessments behind such watches are not just done in the factory but also through real life testing.
This limited edition RM 022 Tourbillon Aerodyne Dual Time Black Carbon means there will only be 10 ever made. However, ringing in at fashionable $480,000, the engineered NTPT casing assures each watch is individually one of a kind.