A name to conjure with

Richard Mille has launched a new “Black Night” limited edition timepiece based on the RM 016. The name has appeared before on limited edition watches from this avant-garde haute horlogerie brand. However, this model departs from the tonneau shaped models often associated with the brand and comes in a rectangular case.

Richard Mille RM 016 “Black Night” Limited Edition

RM 010 “Black Night” Limited Edition

Richard Mille RM 016 “Black Night” Limited Edition

RM030 “Black Night” Limited Edition

Richard Mille has launched a new “Black Night” limited edition timepiece. The name has appeared before on the limited edition RM 010, worn by the Richard Mille Polo Team. However, this model departs from the tonneau shaped models often associated with the brand and comes in a rectangular case.

On seeing the words, “Black Night” I first thought of the hit by the Deep Purple back in 1970. Afterwards, the agnomen applied to the models worn by the Polo Team, made me check the spelling. Could it have been, “Black Knight”, alluding to the perilous pursuits on the polo field? Or alternatively a cartoon character with dark intentions? No, the name refers to the “All Black” DLC treatment of the titanium case.

Richard Mille RM 016 “Black Night” Limited Edition

RM016 “Black Night” Limited Edition

Visual contrast with the widow’s favoured hue is conferred by a bright, burlesque red chapter ring and matching rubber strap.

The dial

White Arabic numerals are applied to the sapphire crystal appearing to be suspended in mid air. The font of the numeral is über modern in keeping with the contemporary aspect of the watch. The numerals are outlined in white, but predominantly clear, allowing enhanced visibility of the movement below.

A bright red chapter ring, is marked with white luminous dots every 5 minutes with corresponding white Roman numerals. White strokes, depicted in two weights, impart minutes and 12 second integers.

The hour and minute hands are black and detailed with white luminescent material.

A date display is located at 7 o’clock. I particularly cherish the view of the date wheel advancing to the date aperture where the relevant date is ultimately shown against a white background. It feels like the secret of the date mechanism is being shared with the wearer.

Richard Mille have dispensed with tradition and presented a watch without a conventional dial, allowing the wearer to see the uppermost surface of the plate. It entices the wearer to admire each visible component and every apparent beveled surface. Modernity has not deprived the wearer of craftsmanship.

The case

Ergonomically embracing case design has always been at the centre of the Richard Mille paradigm. The tonneau shaped models beautifully arc the profile of the wrist, enhancing wearer comfort. Whilst, the shape of the case has changed, the intimacy of the RM 016 with the wearer’s arm continues to delight.

Richard Mille watches are incredibly stylish, but the designs are conceived to be practical in the first instance. This does not always make for expedient manufacture.

Titanium is a far tougher material than gold, necessitating greater downtime as machine parts need to be changed more frequently.

The manufacture of the tripartite case is involved. The bezel, caseband and caseback all have to marry to exacting tolerances. All three main components are drawn together with grade 5 titanium spline screws. No ordinary screws are used by Richard Mille. The spline screws can be tightened to a pre-determined torque and will not be damaged during assembly or dismantling.

The case is the product of 202 separate machining operations.

Sapphire crystal features on the both the front and caseback. It indulges the wearer with a unique vista unlike any other brand of watch.

The movement

Richard Mille sought inspiration from Formula One when conceiving his watches. He has pursued strength, rigidity and lightness like many who stand upon the podium on a Sunday afternoon.

Grade 2 Titanium with black PVD coating is used for the bottom plate, bridges and balance cock.

The rotor on the watch has variable geometry. Rafael Nadal, a famous Richard Mille ambassador, is likely to have a slightly greater activity level than someone like me. Our diverse lifestyles can be addressed by adjusting the wings on the rotor ensuring it does not wind too quickly or too slow. This approaches a near bespoke level of horology and differentiates the watch from the humdrum.

Finissage embraces wet sandblasting and PVD treatment reinforcing the cutting-edge character of the watch. However, anglage and polishing are done by hand, typical of the finest Swiss haute horology has to offer.

Conclusion

Avant-garde design and technological know-how have culminated in the creation of an exceptional watch. It has a prepossessing appearance born of mechanical ingenuity and the relentless pursuit of perfection.

The name “Black Night” may have conjured many thoughts in my mind yet the name, “Richard Mille”, immediately engenders a sense of excitement and covetous motives in discerning watch collectors around the globe.

Technical specification

  • Model: Richard Mille RM 016 “Black Night” Limited Edition
  • Reference: RM 016 “Black Night” Limited Edition
  • Case: Titanium case with black DLC treatment; dimensions 49.80 mm x 38.00 mm; height 8.25 mm ; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; date.
  • Movement: Caliber RMAS7, self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 31 jewels; power reserve 55 hours.
  • Strap: Red rubber strap supplied on black DLC treated pin buckle.
  • Note: Limited edition of 10 pieces (Europe, CIS, Middle East and Africa).

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