Richard Mille has launched a new limited-edition timepiece, the RM 022 Carbon, a lightweight tourbillion that combines orthorhombic honeycombed titanium aluminide and carbon nanofibre.
Only five editions of the model will be available, showcased at selected retailers in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia.
The case of the new tourbillon has been made using carbon nanotubes, which are injection moulded under high pressure into a black polymer, creating a robust composite.
The nanotubes are said to be 200 times stronger than steel and are exceptionally light. They are capable of absorbing far stronger impacts than traditional carbon fibre due to their structure with its excellent surface-volume ratio.
The RM 022 Carbon has a 50mm case making it significantly larger than the standard RM 022 case. The case is assembled with 20 Spline screws in grade 5 titanium and abrasion resistant washers in 316L stainless steel.
The honeycombed geometrical pattern that also features in the material make up of the tourbillon was originally the subject of research by NASA for application as a core material on supersonic aircraft wings, where resistance to extremely high temperatures and torsion is paramount. The alloy in this honeycombed form has unparalleled stiffness, a low thermal expansion coefficient and exceptional torsion resistance.
A release from Richard Mille said the new timepiece is “an understated timepiece that epitomises the Richard Mille philosophy, uniting the best of haute horlogerie with innovative inspiration derived from the most recent scientific research into super lightweight metals and other materials”.