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Editor's Pick

The Richard Mille RM 035 Ultimate Edition

By Aaron Voyles
7 Jan 2022
5 min read

Made for skiing legend Alexis Pinturault, the RM 035 Ultimate Edition was labelled ‘ultimate’ by Richard Mille himself. Let’s dive deep and find out what makes this watch so unique

 

The Origin of the Brand 

Set-up in 1998 by two friends who shared a passion for aeronautics, cars and mechanics, Richard Mille and Dominique Guenat's brand sought to combine the high-octane worlds of car racing and several other sports with the best in horological innovation. In 2001, the company presented its first watch, the RM 001. With its tonneau-shaped case, titanium bridges and the world’s first torque indicator, this watch exemplified Richard Mille’s vision of 21st century watchmaking.

 

RM035
With its tonneau-shaped case, titanium bridges and the world’s first torque indicator, the RM001 exemplified Richard Mille’s vision of 21st century watchmaking
RM035
The visionary founder and the man behind it all, Richard Mille

 

As he presented his first creation to distributors and retailers at Baselworld, Richard Mille took off his RM 001 and lobbed it across the floor to demonstrate how incredibly shock resistant it was. This bold act proved successful as the watch’s tourbillon continued to operate flawlessly, and just like that, Richard Mille was born (the brand, not the man).

With its distinct aesthetics, bold mission and obvious dedication towards fulfilling the brand’s goals, Richard Mille set itself apart from day one. Over the last two decades, the brand’s disruptive style and courage to play with different materials has made it one of the leading players in modern watchmaking.

 

Brand Goals

With a mission to merge horology with different industries, Richard Mille had to have the means to incorporate the distinct elements into what they were doing. It's all well and good to merge horology with motorsport or aviation but the concept wasn't really new. 

So how did Richard Mille fulfil its goals? The brand merged the most defining technologies from various industries with its watchmaking skills and promoted it with the help of the biggest stars from these industries.They weren’t merely designing a watch for them to wear, but by creating a watch they would genuinely put through their paces.

 

RM035
RM035

 

RM 035 Ultimate Edition 

Released in 2017, the RM 035 Ultimate Edition was dedicated to skiing instead of tennis like the other RM35 variants. In the same vein, instead of collaborating with the brand’s most popular ambassador, Rafael Nadal, the RM 035 Ultimate Edition was designed in collaboration with Alexis Pinturault, an alpine ski racer with a very modest 19 World Cup victories. And I thought I was good when I went down a black slope that one time!

Ever since 2014, Alexis has been wearing an RM 035 but in true Richard Mille fashion, they had to out-do themselves, and they certainly did. Constructed with the same classic tonneau-shaped case, which is so emblematic of the brand, the RM 035 Ultimate Edition is crafted from NTPT carbon (the acronym stands for North Thin Ply Technology, the name of the Swiss company who patented this technology), one of their latest innovations at the time, which has been put through its paces by Alexis ever since.

 

RM035
The RM 035 Ultimate Edition was introduced in 2017 and was limited to just 35 pieces available exclusively at the brand’s boutiques 

 

Material Innovation

Not the kind to release a watch just for the sake of it, Richard Mille has endowed the RM 035 Ultimate Edition with impressive features. Starting with the case, the Carbon TPT material that it is crafted from, is a super light and exceptionally strong carbon composite made with layers upon layers of carbon.

Used in water vessels or boats that take part in the America's Cup as well as F1 race car chassis', this material can take a severe beating and should not be taken lightly (pun intended).

The watch case has a grainy texture, thanks to the way Carbon TPT is constructed, somewhat akin to the patterns made in Damascus steel. Feeding into the monochromatic aesthetic of the RM 035, this material choice ultimately benefits the watch two-fold – its utility and its looks.

 

RM035
Thanks to the use of Grade 5 titanium, the RM 035 is astonishingly lightweight at 4.3 grams
RM035
The hand-wound skeletonized movement features a double barrel system that helps in improving the watch’s accuracy and ensures a power reserve of 55 hours

 

Movement and Aesthetics

We can't discuss the RM 035 Ultimate Edition's aesthetics without discussing its movement. Like most RM timepieces, the RM 035 is skeletonized, and as such, its movement plays a key role in how it looks and ultimately feels on the wrist.

Featuring a manual wind movement with a 55-hour power reserve, the absence of a winding apparatus lightens the watch. It also gives us a glimpse of the inner side of the caseback where the Carbon TPT's grain pattern acts as a beautiful backdrop for the RM 035's movement.

 

RM035
The tonneau-shaped case of the RM 035 Ultimate Edition is crafted from NTPT carbon and features the sleek, almost grain-like sheen that Richard Mille watches are known for
RM035
With its grainy black backdrop and a mix of finishes throughout the black and red colour scheme, the RM 035 Ultimate Edition makes for an exceptional timepiece

 

In terms of technical prowess, the movement features a double barrel and free-sprung balance with variable-inertia, improving the chronometer-certified movement's accuracy by stabilising torque over more extended periods. With its skeletonized movement weighing an astonishingly light 4.3 grams, thanks to the use of Grade 5 titanium, the RM 035's movement is super shock-resistant.

With its grainy black backdrop and mix of various finishes throughout the black and red colour scheme, the RM 035 looks as enticing as a timepiece can get. While some Richard Mille watches feature colourful cases, dials and straps, the RM 035 uses its monochromatic design to communicate just how serious it is.

 

RM035
RM035

RM035
The watch is paired with a cool polyurethane strap 

 

Quick Take

The RM 035 Ultimate Edition certainly lives up to its billing as the 'ultimate' Richard Mille, thanks to its insane movement architecture and the space-age material technology that it utilizes. Limited to just 35 pieces (I wonder why), it is as exceptionally rare as it is light, robust, and ahead of its time.

 

RM035
RM035

 

Specifications

RM 035 Ultimate Edition

Case size: 48MM X 39.7MM
Thickness: 12.25mm
Material: Carbon NTPT
Crystal: Sapphire
Water-resistance: 50M

Movement: RMUL1
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, variable inertia rotor
Winding: Manual
Frequency: 28,800 bph 
Power reserve: 55 hours
Strap: Polyurethane or Kevlar
Availability: Limited to 35 pieces
Price: CHF 140,500 / HKD 1,190,016 (approx.)

For further information, visit Richard Mille.