It is a known fact that Richard Mille specialises in high performance, high architecture, and overall high technology watches. One only needs to turn to the nine watches the independent watchmaker has created for tennis star Rafael Nadal, who wears them while playing matches, to understand this. Mille has built an entire genre of watches that can stand the rigours of strong impact situations (like a tennis serve or a golf swing) with material development and of course mechanical innovation. The latest to join this category is the RM 38-02 Manual Winding Tourbillon Bubba Watson, a watch that marks the fourth Richard Mille x Bubba Watson collaboration.
Cast in the American golfer's signature colour, pink, which features on Watson's clubs, golf balls, driver, and clothing, the RM 38-02 Manual Winding Tourbillon Bubba Watson is a limited edition of 50 pieces. The time-only skeleton tourbillon watch, measuring 43.70 x 50.04 x 15.95mm has an asymmetrical front, with the many levels of its inner workings visible both from the sapphire crystals on the front and back. The bezel and caseback are in pink and white Quartz TPT, while the caseband combines Carbon TPT and pink Quartz TPT layers to create a candy-like pattern. Carbon TPT and Quartz TPT are composed of multiple layers of parallel filaments obtained by dividing carbon fibres or silica threads, and feature unique striations; they are also cornerstones of the brand's material innovation, and in the past have featured on the Rafael Nadal watches. The crown has a special feature as well - its security system prevents accidental overwinding. The case is water-resistant to 50 metres.
Accents of pink are naturally spread throughout the piece. The hour markers are cast in pink with luminescent material nestling inside, and also featuring on the hands. Touches of pink are also present on the crown and on the back of the calibre on a micro-perforated bridge that mimics the pattern on the head of the driver Watson uses.
The thing of beauty though really is the movement. The watch is built on the same ethos of being able to face high acceleration situations, and the watchmaker has worked towards this by starting with the baseplate itself. Cast in Carbon TPT, the baseplate is forged with multiple layers of parallel filaments obtained by separating carbon threads, and further fortified using pressure, heat, and resin. The result: Resistance to microcracks and splits. On this are set the PVD-treated Grade 5 titanium bridges, which are corrosion-resistant and conducive to the smooth functioning of the gear train, and the 10.90mm tourbillon with a variable-inertia balance.
The movement of RM 38-02 Manual Winding Tourbillon Bubba Watson, which provides a power reserve of 70 hours, is only 9.19mm thick, but designed to withstand shocks no less than 10,000 g's. The watch has a frequency of 21,600 vph (3Hz) and is equipped with a free-sprung balance with variable inertia, which guarantees greater reliability when subjected to shock. Another striking feature of the movement architecture are the two tubes in grade 5 titanium and hand-painted in pink that pass through the movement on either side.
RM 38-02 Manual Winding Tourbillon Bubba Watson comes in the tenth year of Bubba Watson's association with Richard Mille.
Images: Courtesy Richard Mille