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FOR THE LOVE OF WATCH AND AUTOMOBILE

Richard Mille and McLaren Automotive talk about their 10-year partnership and unveils the latest watch collaboration, RM 11-03 McLaren.

Richard Mille and McLaren Automotive may have only started their partnership last year, yet these two partners are similarly passionate about speed, racing against the clock, and spectacular performance. Due to years of intense competition, McLaren and Richard Mille both currently boast the best R&D in their respective fields. Achieving such a level requires that every element be perfectly coordinated for maximum consistency.

At the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, Richard Mille and Mike Flewitt, the CEO of both brands spoke about the strong emotions induced by their respective undertakings and the technicity of their creations. The emotion comes from the passion they share for watches and cars. “What we love is the charge we get from a design that perfectly sets off each function. What might initially seem to be just what one expects from our engineers actually generates strong emotion,” Flewitt notes.

Richard Mille always makes watches which can be worn for any occasion, just as McLaren creates cars that can be driven on daily basis. “We don’t produce watches to put in a safe waiting for the next generation,” Mille says. Both brands are governed by complex engineering systems, huge investments in R&D as well as needing to pass a lot of tests, “I find especially fascinating that at the end of it all you have a fantastic, living object. I love the fact that ultimately, we make art. These are works of art, living pieces of art,” he adds.

Their exclusivity is important to the clients, some of whom develop a veritable passion for the brand. Their customers believe in what both brands have done to commit for years which establishes a strong relationship between them. Authenticity, genuineness, and values are also what the clients are looking for and that is why both brands feel like they owe the customers to do a proper job. Richard Mille and McLaren understand that it's important to be vigilant when it comes to brand image, products and ensuring a true correspondence between words and actions because these what make their brands stand out from the competition.

While the standard approach of watchmakers in their relationship with car designers or motorsport is very first-degree, however, Richard Mille has an ambitious goal for its new collection, the RM 11-03 McLaren. The watch is their first jointly-commissioned timepiece and unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show. The RM 11-03 McLaren, created in close collaboration between McLaren Design Director Rob Melville and Richard Mille Engineer Fabrice Namura, has been in development since McLaren Automotive and Richard Mille partnered last year uniting a mutual interest in unique design, the use of new materials and modern craftsmanship. The idea was to take on a real technical challenge and come up with something other than a mere dial with an inscription. So when Namura finds the 720S designed by Rob Melville mesmerising beautiful, they wanted to give the RM 11-03 McLaren curves that were similarly both aesthetic and functional. These influences, as well as design cues borrowed from McLaren’s range of luxury sports and super cars, are reflected in this special timepiece. Their collaboration continues to be focused on materials, details and design, all key creative aspects. Cutting straight to essentials, they want the clients to feel the connection between the brands in this latest watch.

The case of the RM 11-03 McLaren is made of Carbon TPT® interlaced with Orange Quartz TPT®, resulting in an extremely resistant and light-weight case while paying tribute to a colour that is synonymous with McLaren. The Carbon TPT® enhances the mechanical performance of the RM 11-03 and offers resistance to harsh environments. The titanium pushers fitted to the Carbon TPT® case echo the design of the distinctive headlights of the McLaren 720S. Titanium inserts, similar in shape to the iconic McLaren F1’s air-intake snorkel and bearing the McLaren logo, adorn the bezel. The complex grade 5 titanium crown is shaped like a McLaren lightweight wheel. While the McLaren Speedmark logo is incorporated on the rubber strap specifically developed for this edition.

Under the bonnet of the RM 11-03 beats the automatic RMAC3 calibre, first launched in 2016, with a flyback chronograph ready to literally race on the track. The instant return of the counter to zero makes it possible to quickly restart the stopwatch function. Powered by two barrels mounted in parallel and a balance wheel with variable inertia, the movement has a 55-hour power reserve. Barrel winding is ensured by a variable-geometry rotor that enables personalised winding adjusted to the wearer’s activity level, further evidence of Richard Mille’s characteristic attentiveness. The fact that a race car’s chassis must always exhibit tremendous torque resistance while remaining light in weight inspired the brand, which adopted these requirements as its own in producing the baseplate and bridges for this calibre of PVD-treated grade 5 titanium to ensure the requisite stiffness and perfect functioning of the going train. The satin-finish grade 5 titanium upper bridge further accentuates the depth of the calibre, creating a visual trajectory around the annual calendar and oversized date as well as the 12-hour chronograph and countdown counters.

With such technical specifications, it comes as no surprise to find the new RM 11-03 McLaren previewed on their booth at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. The RM 11-03 will be offered to McLaren Ultimate Series customers exclusively through Richard Mille Boutiques. McLaren customers will have the opportunity to match their edition number of 1 to 500 of their McLaren Ultimate Series to the caseback number of their RM 11-03 McLaren.

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