Richard Mille and McLaren Celebrate Their 5 Year Partnership With a Limited-Edition Watch

To mark their five-year partnership, Swiss watchmakers Richard Mille and British supercar manufacturer McLaren have unveiled their most ambitious watch yet, the RM 40-01 Automatic Tourbillon McLaren Speedtail, available for $1,335,000.

The watch is modelled on the groundbreaking hybrid speedtail, McLaren’s first Hyper-GT and its fastest road car ever with a top speed of 402km/h. This latest addition to McLaren’s flagship Ultimate Series range was unveiled in 2018, and the first car was delivered last year. McLaren limited production of the $2.94 million hypercar to 106 and all have been spoken for.

Rather than adapt the watch from an existing model, Richard Mille approached the project from scratch. Headed by Julien Boillat, the company’s casing department spent 2,800 hours over a total of 18 months perfecting the case’s unique contours, which are significantly wider at 12 o’clock than at 6 o’clock due to the watch’s teardrop shape.

“The teardrop shape was the basis of the car, and you can see this on the roof, on the general flow of the lines of the car, and we really tried to replicate this on the watch,” said Timothée Malachard, Richard Mille’s marketing director, during the video presentation of the watch. “It was a real challenge for us, many times going back and forth between Les Breuleux [Switzerland] and Woking [U.K.] to see how we could really replicate the ethos of the Speedtail car in the watch.”

Source: McLaren

Made with a total of 69 parts, the watch’s case combines titanium and high-tech Carbon TPT and contrasts mirror-polished, satin, and plain finishes to highlight the distinctive geometry. The watch also features an entirely new movement, the Calibre CRMT4, which is displayed beneath a domed sapphire crystal designed with a triple contour to account for the decreasing taper and thickness of the bezel.

“We wanted to create an exceptional calibre designed in house and incorporating the kind of complications that are integral to the brand’s identity,” said Salvador Arbona, technical director for Richard Mille’s movement division. “An automatic tourbillon with function selector, oversize date display, and power reserve delivers the combined appeal of an attractive display and useful indications while preserving a certain visual simplicity.”

Arbona’s team developed the new engine with 672 components, including bridges, bridge screws, baseplate, and rotor core, all made of Grade 5 titanium. The CRMT4 movement introduces a power reserve display and the oversized date and function selector complications, all brand firsts for an in-house tourbillon.

The mechanism’s gentle, downward curve from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock recalls the brushed metal divider between the car’s cockpit and its bodywork. McLaren’s signature Papaya Orange stripe runs from the 6 o’clock position onto the integrated rubber strap, mimicking the vertical stoplight mounted in the Speedtail’s rear screen.

“Our frequent discussions with McLaren greatly helped us ensure that we achieved an intense stylistic synergy between the two objects,” Arbona said. “We had to create a pure Mille product while incorporating the Speedtail spirit.”

To match the 106 McLaren Speedtails being manufactured, Richard Mille plans to produce the same number of RM 40-01 Automatic Tourbillon McLaren Speedtail watches.