When I got the call from Richard Mille to join its team at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, I was sure about one thing – the watch unveiled wouldn’t fly under the radar. While guaranteed to be packed full of material innovation, it would almost inevitably not be everybody’s cup of tea. The all new RM 11-03 didn’t disappoint.
Richard Mille and McLaren Automotive partnered last year, and this is the first watch they have produced as a team. The watch is the joint vision of McLaren Design Director Rob Melville and Richard Mille Engineer Fabrice Namura. Limited to just 500 pieces globally, and priced at an eye watering $191,500, the watch will be made available initially to McLaren Ultimate Series clients. If you buy the car you will get first dibs on the same number watch (sadly you can’t buy the watch and not the car, at least for now). The automatic RMAC3 calibre movement was first launched in 2016, and features a flyback chronograph and 55-hour power reserve.
Beyond the fact that it’s the first in the partnership, the watch itself is mad. When two performance focused organisations come together, it’s only right the outcome is extreme. From a design perspective, the RM 11-03 takes inspiration from McLaren’s cars of yesteryear. For example, the titanium pushers have been made to look like the headlights of the McLaren 720S. The titanium inserts are similar in shape to the McLaren F1’s air-intake snorkel. The complex grade 5 titanium crown is shaped like a McLaren wheel (with the McLaren logo applied to the bezel at 6 0’clock).
The case is made of Carbon TPT interwoven with Orange Quartz TPT; TPT stands for Thin Ply Technology, a method for layering carbon fiber that Richard Mille first introduced in 2013. The darker layers are carbon fiber, while the magma orange layers are silica fiber (the orange color, of course, is iconic for McLaren).
While it’s not for me from an aesthetic perspective, I think the use of high technology materials needs to be celebrated. The fact that Richard Mille actually created a new baseplate and bridges for the RM 11-03 McLaren made from PVD-treated grade 5 titanium (all for improved gear train functionality) is super cool.
Those of you familiar with the RM11-02 Ceramic and RM11-02 NPTP will recognize the additional pusher at 9 o’clock (used for setting the second time zone) and at 2 and 5 for the chronograph stop/start and reset functions. Like all Richard Mille movements, the RMAC3 calibre is meticulously chamfered and polished by hand. The dial features an annual calendar and oversized date, as well as a 12-hour chronograph and countdown counters and yellow accents on the hour markers. If this is the start, it’s hard to imagine where these two go next.
Brand: Richard Mille
Model: RM 11-03
Dimensions: 49.94 x 44.50 x 16.23 mm.
Case Material: Carbon TPT®
Caliber: RMAC3 calibre
Functions: Annual Calendar and Flyback Chronograph
Power Reserve: 55 hours
Other Features: baseplate and bridges in grade 5 titanium; variable geometry rotor with 18 white gold segment; oversized, semi-instantaeous date display; free sprung, variable inertia balance.
Pricing & Availability
Price: $191,500 plus tax
Availability: Available initially to McLaren Ultimate Series clients
Limited Edition: Limited to 500