The avant-garde luxury watchmaker and the world’s most desirable performance car brand shatter records with their newest creation.
It’s called the Richard Mille RM UP-01 Manual Winding Ultraflat Ferrari and is the result of years of work, dozens of prototypes and more than 6,000 hours of development and laboratory testing, with the Richard Mille team working closely with Ferrari’s engineers. Despite this, it’s taken the watch world completely by surprise – and not just because of how impressive it is.
How thick is it? 1.75mm. That’s only 1mm thicker than a credit card. The movement itself is only 1.18mm.
The RM UP-01 Ferrari beats the previous record holder, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra, by a not-insubstantial 0.05mm, and the record holder before that, the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept, by 0.25mm.
What’s particularly remarkable about the RM UP-01 Ferrari is that unlike many other ultra-thin watches (such as the Bulgari and Piaget mentioned above), it uses a traditional movement and case assembly rather than having the back case also act as the baseplate. But the wonders don’t stop there…
The watch is a proper collaborative affair. In the course of developing the RM UP-01 Ultraflat, engineers from Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille developed a new type of escapement with a balance wheel in titanium that drastically reduces the calibre’s thickness whilst providing the same security as a conventional Swiss anchor escapement.
The upshot of this is that the RM UP-01 Ultraflat’s hand-wound movement, despite its mind-boggling thickness, can withstand accelerations of over 5,000 G, is water-resistant to 10m and has a 45-hour power reserve. The latter is particularly impressive – that’s more than most standard watch movements.
Only a small amount of the flat, wide case’s real estate is actually dedicated to time-telling, with a small central dial less than 1cm wide at what would normally be 12 o’clock, an aperture exposing the movement at 2 o’clock plus two gear holes at 8 and 10 o’clock, which are actually a function selector and the watch’s crown.
With a screwdriver, you can wind the watch using the latter and switch between winding or adjusting the time with the former. It’s a novel solution; a great alternative to having a conventional crown and one that calls to mind a mechanic working on a Ferrari supercar.
Both the movement and the case of the RM UP-01 Ultraflat are made out of grade 5 titanium, favoured for its toughness and light weight in both the automotive and watch industries – indeed, the watch and its strap only weigh 30g. The iconic Ferrari prancing horse and all the details present on the case are laser-engraved to save weight.
A limited-edition of only 150 pieces, it’s priced at a shocking US$1,888,000 (~AU$2,787,060). That’s around US$1,000 for every micron of girth (or lack thereof). Mamma mia.
Of course, Richard Mille and Ferrari have long been partners, with the Swiss watch brand notably sponsoring and supplying Ferrari’s famous Formula 1 team. Richard Mille also has a partnership with McLaren – we wonder if this watch will make them jealous…