Richard Mille RM-002 Tourbillon
Why We Love it
Why We Love it–
In 1999, a nearly 50-year-old watchmaker with decades of experience struck out on his own. His creations would soon change the face of horology forever.
Richard Mille’s timepieces have since garnered fame, stirred controversy, and been seen on the wrists of actors, athletes, musicians, and other celebrities around the world. Technologically advanced, highly sophisticated, super limited, and priced like luxury automobiles, these watches are the new face of a revolution that has followed in the brand’s wake. Indeed, the global success of the ‘high-end independents’ can, in part, be directly attributed to the embrace that RM has received over the past two decades by collectors, connoisseurs, and watch lovers around the world.
The company’s first product, the RM001, was a revelation in contemporary watchmaking. Conceptually, this semi-prototype sought to bridge the automotive and horological worlds by incorporating lightweight materials, innovative complications, and a design that spoke as much to the influence of hypercars as it did the history of the Vallée de Joux. Housed in a large, tonneau-shaped white gold case, it incorporated a tourbillon — a complication then typically seen only in delicate pocket watches and the occasional oddball wristwatch.
When the RM team quite literally threw the RM001 on the ground at the 2001 Baselworld fair to demonstrate its shock resistance, however, it was apparent that this was no ordinary tourbillon. Special technology — including a PVD-coated titanium baseplate, a two-sided, 'skeletonized' tourbillon bridge, and a three-part case — had been used in the watch’s construction, and RM had proven its point. The team would then refine this watch for full-scale production by introducing a sequel, the RM002, in 2002.
Working with Dominique Renaud and Giulio Papi — ex-Audemars Piguet employees who had struck out on their own in the late 1980s to make complications — RM built a machine that more closely resembled a Formula 1 car than a traditional wristwatch. Once again housed in a tonneau-shaped case, its feature set is distinct, its dial unique, and its overall impression one of a watch from the future: At 6 o’clock sits the aforementioned tourbillon, while to its right is a small indicator. Below 12 o’clock are dual indicators facing left and right: a power reserve on the left, and a torque indicator opposite.
The watch’s partially rubberized crown does not pull out — rather, it features a push-button selector that corresponds with the small function indicator between 4 and 5 o’clock — quite literally, this piece has the ability to analog shift functions.......... With the crown set to “W,” one can wind the manually wound Calibre RM-002-V1 movement. With “H” selected, the hands can be set. “N” is for “neutral,” during which no function is selected. 78 hours of power reserve are visible at the indicator between 10 and 11 o’clock, while the torque indicator, similar to that of a car, lets the wearer know how much twisting force is available to the movement. When it runs too low, the movement should be wound. Just 75 pieces of the first execution of the RM002 were produced in white gold, rose gold, and platinum. (In 2005, a second version with a carbon nanofiber dial was released.)
Constructed of platinum, the example we have here measures 38mm x 45mm and features different finishes, with a vertically brushed midcase, polished outer edges, and eight screws spaced evenly around its bezel. Its three-piece construction is held together by a total of 12 titanium spline screws and makes use of three Nitril o-rings to ensure 50m of water resistance.
Beneath a curved sapphire crystal is a dial that has become highly recognizable even to laymen: A coated titanium base plate in subtle grey-black provides the basis for the complicated functionality built upon it, above which sits a transparent crystal featuring automotive-inspired, white Arabic indices for the main dial and the function indicators and displays. Meanwhile, a tonneau-shaped ring that sits around the dial periphery and houses the hour markers provides yet a third layer of depth. An exposed mainspring barrel and tourbillon cage suspended via Grade 5 titanium bridges provide visual interest, while a luminous, skeletonized handset indicates the time.
Powering this complicated affair is the Calibre RM-002-V1 manually wound movement. With its unique clutch-activated system, tourbillon, and 78-hour power reserve, this special calibre is notable for its incredible shock resistance: Affixed to chassis mounting rubbers and secured by four titanium screws, it uses ARCAP allows for its center bridges, making for a highly anti-magnetic affair with hand-finished appeal in black polish and frosting. Its keyless works are also visible via a sapphire caseback, providing a visual feast for the wearer.
The RM002 is no timepiece for the casual watch buyer. But for those horological aficionados who have seen it all and lived to tell the tale, few timepieces will scratch the itch quite like this very special Richard Mille.
Highly considered in its design, produced by experts with decades of experience, and built to exacting specifications, it’s a timepiece that exists at the intersection of art and horology — and one that any experienced collector would be proud to own.
Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.
We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Shipping & Returns
Shipping & Returns+
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.
Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.
We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.
We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Richard Mille RM-002 Tourbillon