By Hallie Engel
Richard Mille is introducing new material NTPT (North Thin Ply Technology) carbon to watches this autumn, which will allow the company to create the first RM 011 NTPT carbon case.
First developed for the sails of racing yachts, NTPT carbon quickly became an invaluable material in nautical circles, as sails made from the substance are highly resistant and light. The material has also been used for Formula 1 car chassis for the last two seasons, and in aeronautics for the fuselage of the future Solar Impulse 2 aircraft.
The surface of NPT Carbon displays extremely regular undulations, as it’s composed of multiple layers of parallel filaments obtained by dividing carbon fibres. These layers, with a maximum thickness of 30 microns, are impregnated with resin and then woven on a machine that modifies the direction of the weft by 45° between layers, creating a distinctive visual effect reminiscent of precious wood. Heated to 120°C at a pressure of 6 bars, the NTPT is then ready to be processed on a CNC machine in Richard Mille’s Proart case factory.
When compared to composite NTPT carbon improves the rate of occurrence of breaking stresses by 25% and of micro-cracks by 200 percent. The NTPT fully protects the RMAC1 automatic calibre, which is recognisable by its large date at 12 o’clock, its month display at 4 o’clock, and its flyback chronograph.
The movement, made entirely of titanium, has a 55-hour power reserve provided by its double-barrel system, which is wound by a variable-geometry rotor.