When watch nerds think “classic Richard Mille”, the mind’s eye tends to rush straight to the tonneau. Releases like the Le Mans inspired RM 11-03 make a striking impression: featuring rectangular profiles, exposed screws and flanks armoured in jutting titanium that are evocative of the high performance world of motorsports. However, in addition to its plethora of memorable shaped watches, Richard Mille have developed complex models with rounded cases: almost all feature tourbillons; and are in equally short supply. From tried-and-true diving models to new aviation themed releases, here are four Richard Mille pieces that will help you stand apart even from your own horology-inclined, complication-loving brethren.

RM 025 Tourbillon Chronograph Diver

Richard Mille

Representing the earliest round model in the Richard Mille portfolio, the RM 025 is the unique result of the eponymous watchmaker’s commitment to letting form dictate technical detail. Mille discovered that circular designs historically lent themselves to underwater applications, leading also to the creation of one of the brand’s earliest dive watches. Mille ensured the RM 025 was water resistant to a depth of 300 metres (in compliance with the international diving standard known as ISO 6425) by utilising a unique tripartite case construction that simultaneously enhanced the watch’s round silhouette. With seamlessly integrated lugs and an original design for watertight pushers, the RM 025 is as impervious to the perils of deep sea diving as a submersible bulkhead.

RM 031 High Performance

Richard Mille

Super complicated watches are par for the course at Richard Mille, but the RM 031 (or “High Performance” as its sometimes known) is distinct in this regard. Borne from Mille’s personal desire to create “a very Orthodox” wristwatch, the RM 031 combines a relatively pared back aesthetic with high performance chronometer. It’s quite possibly the most inert looking Richard Mille model ever made, utilising a four-part case held together with 12 spline screws — a first for the manufacture. Beneath its crystalline face however, wearers can see that Mille’s design team were as serious as ever about the watch’s technical pedigree. At the time of the RM 031’s release, its movement was equipped with one of the most advanced regulating mechanisms in the world: thanks to a variable inertia balance wheel and direct impulse escapement, the watch tolerates a maximum variation of merely 20 seconds per month; about four times as accurate as the average watch movement (according to Swiss chronometer testing standards).

RM 36-01 Competition G Sensor Sebastian Loeb

Richard Mille

Richard Mille’s overly technical naming conventions can be illuminating for watch lovers. The RM 36-01, for example, is a clear evolution on the RM 036 — the latter designed to be worn during grand touring or leisure driving. Unlike its predecessor however, the RM 36-01 “Sebastian Loeb” was conceived for the exclusive purpose of competitive racing; with design and mechanical elements to match. To this end, the watch’s caseband is made with an inventive combination of polymer that has been injected with carbon nanotubes; while the rotating bezel is injected with pressurised aluminium oxide (offering unique scratch resistance). Best of all, this model houses a whimsical looking g-sensor at its centre: designed to indicate the number of Gs accumulated during difference phases of competitive driving by sensing weight displacement.

RM 039 Aviation E6-b Flyback Chronograph Tourbillon

Richard MilleFeaturing over 1,000 individual components (many of which are invisible to the naked eye), the RM 039 is Mille’s aviation themed magnum opus: a million dollar watch housing a full blown flight computer, UTC function and flyback chronograph. Much of the Richard Mille design team’s learned wisdom is applied in the construction of the RM 039 — most notably in the tripartite case composition and lightweight bridges. However, the watch’s full potential really becomes evident once in the hands of aviators who are familiar with the E6-B, a rudimentary naval computing system embodied in the RM 039’s rotational bezel. (Incidentally, the slide rule utilised by the E6-B is best visualised as concentric circle, going some way to explaining why this model favours a round case design.) With this, wearers can calculate flight time, ground speed, fuel consumption rates and even wind corrections.

For more information about these releases, visit Richard Mille online

Randy Lai
Watches Editor
Having worked in the Australian digital media landscape for over 5 years, Randy has extensive experience in men's specialist categories such as classic clothing, watches and spirits. He is partial to mid-century chronographs and a nice chianti.