Alain Prost is an artist in the realm of speed, just as Richard Mille is an artist of timekeeping. The collaboration between the brand and the four-time Formula 1 World Champion, co-founder of the Renault e.dams team is founded on unshakable loyalty. This time, a shared interest in cycling provided inspiration. Much like the aeronautics and automotive industries, where R&D play an essential role, cycling is constantly evolving from a technical perspective. As for the object of their shared labours? That would be the all new RM70-01 calibre tourbillon, featuring an unprecedented odometer.
Following extensive discussions with Alain Prost, as well as other cyclists, Richard Mille realised that many of them would be hard pressed to say how many kilometres they’d ridden since the beginning of the season. The RM 70-01’s never-before-seen totaliser remedies this by simply displaying the overall distance travelled. The pusher at 2 o’clock can select any of the 5 rollers of the odometer, whose readout is visible in a titanium window. Once a roller selected, pressing the pusher located at 10 o’clock advances the roller by one. The only effort required of the user is to add the day’s distance to the prior total.
The mechanism itself, however, is much more complicated. The first pusher activates selection of a roller, one of the five. Execution is confirmed by perfect alignment of the two yellow arrows. The second pusher incrementally rotates the roller, which automatically blocks, thanks to the carry mechanism. To avoid accidental manipulations, the complication has been fitted with a neutral position (N). Thanks to a spring-lock, the selection fork will be lined up straight, with an arrow at 2 o’clock pointing to N as visual confirmation that the mechanism is locked.
Equipped with a 70-hour power-reserve, visible at 5 o’clock thanks to an indicator powered by a planetary differential, this manual winding tourbillon calibre sports a base plate and bridges in grade 5 titanium. Titanium’s extreme stiffness enables the calibre to withstand the roughest of trails with ease. Nods to the realm of cycling abound, from the titanium Allen screws that fix the bridges, to the barrel ratchet, which recalls the design of forged wheel spokes, to say nothing of the tourbillon cage and dynamometric crown, evocative of a bicycle’s pedal.
The beautifully finished movement possesses tremendous, almost vertiginous depth. Both its vertical architecture—which lines up the barrel and tourbillon along a single axis—and its compact size were essential because of how much space the odometer occupies within the case.
And what a case it is. Machined out of Carbon TPT®, it perfectly combines tonneau, rectangular and asymmetrical shapes. Taut and curved, its unique lines not only ensure the greatest possible comfort when worn on the right wrist, but also optimised legibility of the time when gripping a cycle’s handlebars. As always at Richard Mille, function dictates form.
In order that they may fully enjoy the dynamic and mechanical qualities of the RM 70-01, each buyer will receive as a gift their very own bespoke road cycle. Developed by Alain Prost and Richard Mille in partnership with the prestigious Italian bikemaker Colnago, these individually numbered bicycles are made by hand and painted in the watchmaking brand’s colours.