From time to time, exclusive car manufacturers join forces with exclusive watch manufacturers. The most recent example is McLaren, who created a special watch with Richard Mille.
McLaren Automotive and Richard Mille enter the fifth year of their ongoing partnership and reveal their latest and most ambitious collaboration to date – the RM 40-01 Automatic Tourbillon McLaren Speedtail.
As the name suggests, this remarkable and unique watch honours the fastest, most advanced and most exotic road car McLaren has yet produced – the futuristic looking Speedtail.
Based on the form of a teardrop, the most aerodynamically efficient shape found in nature, the Speedtail is the apotheosis of the streamlined hypercar, a three-seat hyper grand tourer that became the third car in McLaren’s Ultimate line-up.
With its 1,070-horsepower hybrid powertrain, the Speedtail covers 112 metres per second when travelling at its top speed of 250mph/402kph, making it the fastest McLaren road car to date.
McLaren’s provided the starting point for the design of the RM 40-01 Automatic Tourbillon McLaren Speedtail.
It took Richard Mille’s casing department, led by Technical Director Julien Boillat, an unprecedented 2,800 hours over 18 months to perfect the lines.
Like the Speedtail on which it is based, the watch’s lines mimic the form of a water droplet while bezel indentations evoke the bonnet openings, and pushers that recall the air outlets behind the front wheels.
Due to the unprecedented complexity of the design, five prototypes were created before the optimum shape was achieved. The challenge lies in the fact that the case is significantly wider at 12 o’clock than at 6 o’clock, with a further taper between the titanium bezel and case back, which are separated by a caseband made from Carbon TPT and unequal length titanium pillars.
To protect the RM 40-01’s state-of-the-art movement, Richard Mille developed a unique upper crystal featuring a ‘triple contour’ to account for the decreasing taper and thickness of the bezel. It alone took 18 months to perfect.
The strap is also a unique design, being asymmetrical and with the rubber version using Vulculor technology from Biwi SA, a special process that enables coloured rubber to be over-moulded – so allowing the iconic McLaren orange accent coloured stripe seen at 6 o’clock on the movement to extend to the wrist.
In the pursuit of perfection, three power reserve systems were developed before the definitive version arrived, which is integrated into the watch.
The entirely new movement architecture demanded a remarkable 8,600 hours of development, much of which went into finalising the extreme level of detail.
And in order to preserve the overall balance of the watch and its sleekness of line, the date corrector was positioned at 8 o’clock – a far more technically complex but also more aesthetically pleasing solution than the easier option of locating it at 11 o’clock.
To reflect the 106 McLaren Speedtails manufactured, 106 RM 40-01 Automatic Tourbillon McLaren Speedtail watches are planned.