Make no mistake, the limited-edition RM UP-01 is not a concept watch and is designed to be worn every day

Luxury watchmaker Richard Mille and Italian supercar marque Ferrari have finally unveiled the product of its collaboration that was announced last year. This relationship has culminated with the creation of the RM UP-01 Ferrari, an exceptional ultra-flat timepiece. And at just 1.75 millimetres thick, it now holds the record as the world’s thinnest watch. The price? A whopping 1.75 million Swiss francs (SG$2.5 million).

But perhaps this can be justified by the amount of innovation and precision that went into creating this technical marvel that was only made possible by both Ferrari and Richard Mille, driven by their shared quest for perfection.

The watch was unveiled on July 5 at a press conference in Maranello, Italy—also known as the birthplace of Ferrari—to a small group of members of the media from all over the world and private clients. Richard Mille marketing director Tim Malachard was on hand to introduce the RM UP-01 and also took the press through the entire development process as he explained how Richard Mille and Ferrari worked together collaboratively on everything, including the overall design. 

The RM UP-01 required more than 6,000 hours of development and laboratory testing as well as at least 50 prototypes—and this is at least five times more than the average watch. In order to meet the challenge of an ultra-flat watch, a traditional movement with superimposed gears and hands was not possible. Thus, Richard Mille opted to "distribute what could not be stacked over a broader surface area" by creating a perfect symbiosis between the movement and case, each ensuring the necessary rigidity of the other. Unlike other ultra-thin watches that use the watch caseback as a baseplate, Richard Mille assembled the 1.18mm manual-winding movement inside the case in order to ensure total shock resistance under any circumstances.

A limited-edition of 150 timepieces, the RM UP-01 was created with the laboratories of Audemars Piguet Le Locle, where its engineers worked with Richard Mille to develop a new escapement (which is patented) with a variable-inertia balance wheel in titanium. This drastically reduces the calibre’s thickness whilst providing the same security as a conventional Swiss anchor escapement.

With the RM UP-01 Ferrari, this ultra-flat mechanical watch is not meant to be a concept watch but an everyday timepiece that can withstand daily life situations. The Richard Mille team was quick to admit that for such a project, it was necessary to set aside all the knowledge we had amassed over years of practice, and every conceivable standard of watchmaking.

As Malarchard said during the press conference: "Shaving off those last hundredths of a millimetre of depth was an extremely demanding and lengthy process."

Case

The RM UP-01’s case has the same characteristics and exhibits the same sleek lines and attention to minute detail, as the large number of manufacturing operations required for its bezel and its monobloc caseband and caseback attest. 

The entire case is machined from grade 5 titanium, a material offering great lightness combined with levels of resistance proven in the laboratory through a rigorous battery of tests. The monobloc construction also optimises rigidity while guaranteeing water resistance of up to 10 metres. 

The caseback and bezel are also satin-finished, with polished bevels. Every detail, including the iconic Ferrari prancing horse, on the case are laser-engraved.  

Movement characteristics

- Movement dimensions: 41.45 x 28.85 mm

- Thickness: 1.18 mm

- Jewels: 23

- Balance: in Grade 5 titanium, 3 arms, 6 setting weights

- Moment of inertia 3 mg•cm2, angle of lift 54°

- Frequency: 28’800 vph (4 Hz)

- Balance spring: AK 3

- Shock protection: Kif

Tatler Asia
© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.