It isn’t easy to bring class, craft, and symbolism together in one harmonious blend. Yet, that was what Richard Mille did when it recently launched the limited edition RM 57-03 Tourbillon Sapphire Dragon. This series of just 55 timepieces, available only in Asia, is the culmination of a special project by the Swiss luxury watchmaker that combines the intricate art of engraving with the complex procedure of sapphire machining. The result is stunning – a mighty dragon carved from a block of sapphire.
The mythical dragon is the symbol of perseverance, success, strength and power. And these are the qualities that dictated the creation of this edition by the immensely talented engravers at the Geneva-based Olivier Vaucher, working in close collaboration with the Richard Mille movement and exterior engineers.
As a powerful creature moving through water, it is the play of Yin of sapphire and the Yang of gold in this watch that connotes the fierce and life-giving energy of the Sun. A preferred jewel at Richard Mille, the sapphire has been used extensively and quite successfully by their engineers. With inherent transparency and purity of the aluminium oxide crystals (AI203) and the hardiness of 1800 Vickers, the gem imparts an elegant, royal look to the brand’s world-class watches.
And so it is with the RM 57-03, as well. The beautifully engraved body of the sapphire dragon glistens with heightened transparency that is the result of a new specialised hand-polishing technique. The head and feet of the creature, composed in red gold, present a striking contrast to the blue stone, while the intricately painted golden scales draw attention to the remarkable skill of the craftsmen. A final artistic touch is added with a dash of gold to the dragon’s tongue and eyes.
These exclusive RM57-03 calibre timepieces, five of which are available in a sapphire case, are the perfect example of what can be achieved when traditional technique meets artistic innovation.