McLaren is back with its Formula One-theme chronographs! When McLaren divorced from long-time watch partner TAG Heuer, not a few were disappointed with the end of their partnership seeing how this could affect the carmaker’s prized F1 watches. Thankfully, McLaren found a new partner in the persona of high-end watchmaker Richard Mille.
Finally, the first fruit of the collaboration between the British carmaker and racing team and famed chronographer has been revealed – the all-new limited edition RM 50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Ultralight McLaren F1. Yes, we admit that its name is a bit long, and perhaps it is the longest among high-end luxury watches. We will refer to the RM 50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Ultralight McLaren F1 as RM 50-03 Tourbillon for the sake of brevity from here on.
Interestingly, while its name is quite long, the RM 50-03 Tourbillon is the lightest mechanical watch ever made, with a weight of less than 40 grams. Despite its lightweight nature, the RM 50-03 Tourbillon reportedly comes with a heavyweight price tag. According to reports, you could get one of the 75 examples of this F1-imspired high-end watch for around $1 million, and that price tag doesn’t include taxes. This pricing is quite logical considering the fact that the watches that Richard Mille has created cost $100,000 or more while its Tourbillon chronographs sells for around half a million dollars. Taking into account that this is an F1 timepiece with only 75 examples carefully crafted, the price of $1 million is not surprising.
But what is in the RM 50-03 Tourbillon that it might carry a tag of around $1 million? Unveiled at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, Switzerland, the RM 50-03 Tourbillon is made from ultra-light yet superior quality materials. With dimensions of 44.50 mm x 49.65 mm x 16.10 mm, the RM 50-03 Tourbillon employs Titanium, Carbon TPT and Graph TPT, which is more commonly known as graphene. Graphene is a nanomaterial that boasts of being six times lighter than steel but is around 200 times more resistant.
The clockwork (caliber) of the RM50-03 Toubillon weighs just seven grams, thanks to the use of grade 5 titanium alloy (90 percent titanium, 6 percent aluminum and 4 percent vanadium) for the baseplate and bridges. Some of its bridges and the transverse carriage are made from Carbon TPT. The bezel and case back of this F1 watch are made from Graph TPT and Carbon TPT for impressive strength and lightness. The case features two Nitril O-ring seals that make the RM 50-03 Tourbillion water-resistant up to 50 meters.
As its name indicates, the RM 50-03 Tourbillon features the so-called split-seconds mechanism as developed by the engineers at Richard Mille. The different levers of the split-seconds system are operated by a new six-column wheel, which also helps optimize the watch’s functions. This new setup significantly improved the timekeeping performance of the RM 50-03 Tourbillon while cutting into half the amount of energy it consumes.