Richard Mille RM 72-01 Le Mans Classic

As a sponsor of some of the world’s top teams and drivers, Richard Mille has a strong presence in the world of automotive racing, and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, Richard Mille has just created a new limited-edition version of the RM 72-01. Originally introduced in 2020, the RM 72-01 is Richard Mille’s current flyback chronograph model, and it has been offered in a handful of different materials and configurations during the years since making its debut. Crafted from green and white Quartz TPT and featuring checkered flag accents on its dial, the new Richard Mille RM 72-01 Le Mans Classic offers a fun and colorful take on one of the brand’s most successful models.
Featuring Richard Mille’s signature tonneau-shaped profile, the case of the new Richard Mille RM 72-01 Le Mans Classic measures 38.4mm in diameter by 11.68mm-thick, with an overall lug-to-lug distance of 47.34mm. Held together by spline screws in grade 5 titanium, the case components are made from green and white Quartz TPT, which is a composite material that consists of hundreds of fine silica threads that are woven at a 45-degree angle and bonded together with resin before being cut and machined to shape. Once cut, the exposed weave of the threads gives Quartz TPT components an asymmetric wavy appearance that is somewhat similar to the black and gray lines that are characteristic of carbon fiber components.
Although the design and layout of the new Richard Mille RM 72-01 Le Mans Classic is largely the same as the original RM 72-01 watches that debuted in 2020, the use of green and white Quartz TPT gives the new model a significantly different overall appearance, particularly due to the contrasting green sections that are located between the screws on the front and back components of the case. Sapphire crystals with anti-reflective treatment are fitted to both the dial side of the watch and its caseback, while access to the movement is granted by a crown and pair of pushers on the 3 o’clock side of the case, which are made from grade 5 titanium and black TZP ceramic. Just like other versions of the RM 72-01, water resistance for the new Le Mans Classic edition comes in at 30 meters to protect against incidental contact, while the watch is completed by a matching white rubber strap that is fitted with a titanium deployant clasp.
In addition to its bright green and white case, the dial fitted to the Richard Mille RM 72-01 Le Mans Classic also represents a fairly significant departure compared to the standard models, although it still offers the same core layout and orientation. Just like most Richard Mille watches, the Richard Mille RM 72-01 Le Mans Classic features a skeletonized display, which means that the “dial” is essentially an outer flange that contains the hour markers combined with an open-worked central section that makes up the chronograph registers and other necessary elements. To match the case, the majority of the dial elements also embrace a green and white colorway with bright orange accents on the sub-dials and a checkered flag motif on both the Le Mans Classic logo located at 11 o’clock and the frame for the vertical date window that sits at the 7 o’clock location.
The upper flange that contains the hour markers is made from carbon fiber with luminous indexes, and it also features a tachymeter scale printed in white that works in conjunction with the centrally-mounted chronograph seconds hand. Meanwhile, the open-worked component that forms the central section of the dial is made from grade 5 titanium, and it measures just 1.17mm thick. The running seconds are displayed by the sub-dial at 9 o’clock, while elapsed time is tracked by the 60-minute and 24-hour registers, which are located at the 2 o’clock and 5 o’clock positions, respectively. Sitting between the two chronograph registers is a function indicator that shows the current position of the crown (winding, date adjustment, or hand setting), while the “16” marketing on the 24-hour totalizer for the chronograph is finished red as a subtle nod to the traditional start time of the endurance race.
Powering the new Richard Mille RM 72-01 Le Mans Classic is the same Caliber CRMC1 automatic flyback chronograph movement that can be found inside the various other watches from the RM 72-01 series. Featuring a variable inertia balance with its mainplate and bridges in grade 5 titanium, the Richard Mille Cal. CRMC1 also includes a solid platinum rotor, and it runs at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 50 hours. Controlled by a column wheel, the Caliber CRMC1 can measure times up to 24 hours in length, and it also offers both a date display and a function selection indicator. Additionally, due to the use of Richard Mille’s patented oscillating pinion coupling system, all three chronograph hands receive torque directly from the mainspring barrel, rather than having their energy drawn from the base movement. This allows the timekeeping of the Cal. CRMC1 to remain completely unaffected when using the chronograph, and it also means that the power reserve remains at its full 50 hours, regardless of whether or not the chronograph is running.

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