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A Formula One chronograph

 The Richard Mille RM 50-03 McLaren F1, presented at SIHH, is the world’s lightest split seconds tourbillon chronograph

by Guido Klausbruckner 29 January 2018

Richard Mille’s passion for Formula 1 racing, and in particular for the McLaren team, goes back to 1966 when he witnessed the team’s debut at the Monaco Grand Prix. On that occasion, Bruce McLaren drove the car powered by a Ford engine, and it was the first race of the new 3-litre engine series. The McLaren completed nine laps before it was retired due to oil leaks, on a day that saw just four classified finishers, the world record for fewest finishers in Formula One history.

Last year, Richard Mille and the McLaren team signed a ten-year contract, and this watch is a perfect demonstration of the sort of results that this combination can produce. The Richard Mille RM 50-03 McLaren F1 is a record breaker, for its weight: the movement, comprising 600 parts, weighs an incredibly low 7 grams, while the watch is feather-light at 40 grams. But it is robust enough to take aboard a Formula One car, with tested G-force durability.

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The watch marks the arrival of one of the latest materials to have been invented, graphene, and it is the first time that it has been used in a watch. Graphene was pioneered by the University of Manchester, and it is six times lighter than steel, and 200 times as strong. Graphene is based on carbon, and its properties make it ideal for incorporation into other carbon-based materials such as the Carbon-TPT that has already been used by Richard Mille in the past.

 Graphene has also been used to give extra strength to the rubber strap. The resulting weight reductions are enhanced by the use of other lightweight materials such as titanium, and the extensive skeletonization of baseplate and bridges.

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The watch is the perfect visual expression of Formula One. The pushers recall air intakes, and the power reserve and torque indicators at the top of the dial have the graphic design typical of a Formula One dashboard. The tourbillon ensures timekeeping precision, while the column wheel, visible through the sapphire caseback, acts on redesigned clamps and rockers controlling the split-second chronograph mechanism. 

The RM50-03 calibre is hand-wound from the crown, which has three positions, indicated on the dial (winding, neutral, time-setting).

The RM 50-03 McLaren F1 will be produced in a numbered limited edition of 75 pieces and will be available only at Richard Mille boutiques. Each watch will be accompanied by a 1:5 scale model of the McLaren-Honda racing car driven in 2017 by Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne. 


The watch costs 980,000 Swiss francs plus tax. See more at http://richardmille.com/

The Richard Mille RM 50-03 McLaren F1, presented at SIHH, is the world’s lightest split seconds tourbillon chronograph