The Richard Mille RMS05 Is A $105,000 Pen With A Mechanical Heart

The Richard Mille RMS05 Is A $105,000 Pen With A Mechanical Heart

The Richard Mille RMS05 Is A $105,000 Pen With A Mechanical Heart Luxury Items Contributed by Iunal Giumali for aBlogtoWatch

It happens only ever so rarely that we cover other products than watches here on aBlogtoWatch, but this $105,000 Richard Mille RMS05 fountain pen is both bold-looking and technically impressive enough to justify a closer look. With a fully automated and, of course, completely mechanical device fitted into it, it is an over-the-top novelty piece from Richard Mille, brought into reality with the kind of excessive engineering so typical of the brand. Let's see what it does and how it works exactly.

The Richard Mille RMS05 Is A $105,000 Pen With A Mechanical Heart Luxury Items

Looking at the horology world in general, I think it is safe to say that the watch industry has reached a critical mass and self-confidence when it comes to taking on other luxury market segments. Max Busser of MB&F tells me that "it just happens" that he makes watches as opposed to something else. Put differently, his brand does mechanical objects that largely happen to be timepieces. Jaquet Droz, for instance, is well known for his work in the field of automata, and companies that began in other industries have also been successful in the world of watches: it seems that many innovative watchmakers don't confine their talents to the field of watches only.

So is Richard Mille going full throttle into pen making, and should we expect to see a full RM pen family in the future? Unlikely. More probable is that the decision to build a pen is tied to the long-term growth plans of the company and the way Mr. Richard Mille does things. Mille definitely has a sense for drama, and we have almost come to expect to be surprised by the enfant terrible of the watch world.

The Richard Mille RMS05 Is A $105,000 Pen With A Mechanical Heart Luxury Items

From a brand like Richard Mille, we are used to seeing creativity and innovation in watchmaking, and some kind of "revolution" in style is expected almost each year. It’s part of the very fabric of the company. One gathers from the brand that its products are designed as racing machines for the wrist to match the high-octane lifestyles of its clients. If the company's edge goes, so does the interest. Thus, their first pen had to retain the same "edge" that RM is known for.

The Richard Mille RMS05 Is A $105,000 Pen With A Mechanical Heart Luxury Items

The innovation this time comes from outside watchmaking and is in perfect alignment with the brand's DNA. It must be noted that Franck Muller has also gone that way with the launch of the Franck Muller 55 yacht. Moving into new luxury segments is desirable and possible only for the brands at the very top of the food chain. It's desirable because their customer base is smaller, and possibly because they have the cache to exert their influence in other luxury fields. It is as if the mojo they have can overflow in other segments. For brands positioned at the middle of the market, such moves are not necessary or easily achieved. So in general, we should not expect a massive trend in this direction for the industry, as it's not really plausible for the majority of the market.

The Richard Mille RMS05 Is A $105,000 Pen With A Mechanical Heart Luxury Items

Coming back to the Richard Mille RMS05, it took four years to develop this pen, which involves a very high level of complexity. This is particularly interesting, as a pen does not offer the same creative possibilities as a watch. Basically, a pen does only one thing: write. Developing mechanisms and additional functions is extremely difficult. This is another reason why it is unlikely that Richard Mille will come up with new pen calibers. Very possibly, we’ll see more variations in terms of styling, though.

The Richard Mille RMS05 Is A $105,000 Pen With A Mechanical Heart Luxury Items

The barrel and cap of the pen are made in NTPT carbon. A type of carbon formed from thousands of layers of carbon compressed irregularly against each other and mixed with a special resin binder. Once a block is formed, the barrel and cap are turned, or cut, exposing the transversal grain of the layers. The visual centerpiece of the pen is the intricate mechanism located at the top end. Having the mechanism located here can render the pen top-heavy and uncomfortable when writing. The solution is to make it extremely light and durable in Grade 5 titanium, an area where Richard Mille has extensive experience.

The Richard Mille RMS05 Is A $105,000 Pen With A Mechanical Heart Luxury Items

The mechanism is equipped with a fully functioning escapement, self-winding system, bridges, and wheels. It is used to retract and advance the nib. This type of mechanism known as a "vanishing nib" in the pen world, for those not familiar. The innovation comes from the way the nib is actioned. The details are scarce at the moment, but most likely, the automatic movement winds a coil. When the button on the top of the pen is pressed, the coil is released and the stored energy is used to glide the whole nib unit forward. When the cap is pushed back on the pen, a complex mechanism winds back the coil, pushing the nib inside, and the pen is ready for another cycle. Basically, pushing the cap back on the pen functions like a manual winding mechanism. Since the mechanism is wound already by the push action of the cap, it means that the self-winding mechanism functions as a top-up system. So it is useful, but not essential.

The Richard Mille RMS05 Is A $105,000 Pen With A Mechanical Heart Luxury Items

Traditionally, "vanishing nib" pens do not have a cap. The whole point of such a system is to do away with the cap. The Richard Mille RMS05 needs a cap, though, to manually wind the mechanism. Since the mechanism needs a manual rewind, the cap is a necessary compromise. However, having the barrel fully crammed with the mechanism, there is no way to replace the ink cartridge via the top end of the pen, as in most pens. Richard Mille has solved the problem by having it replaced, unconventionally, via the front of the pen. This way, the whole nib unit must be pulled out and fitted back again with the replaced cartridge on.

The Richard Mille RMS05 Is A $105,000 Pen With A Mechanical Heart Luxury Items

Fundamentally, the pen does not innovate in the way the fountain pens work, but in the way the nib is concealed. Even so, the gliding action is incredible and the technology behind it is impressive enough. This complex piece of engineering is aimed mainly at the watch aficionado who is going to get a kick out of playing with their Richard Mille pen. For the regular fountain pen lover, it would be rather foreign. But then, the regular fountain pen user doesn’t lead a particularly "high-octane" lifestyle.

The Richard Mille RMS05 Is A $105,000 Pen With A Mechanical Heart Luxury Items

The Richard Mille RMS05 Is A $105,000 Pen With A Mechanical Heart Luxury Items

While being a complementary piece for the Richard Mille watch owner, the pen would be excellent as a gift instead of an add-on when selling a Mille watch. So there is a sale-method rationale behind it too. In the pen world, only Yvan Arpa of Artya, and previously of Romain Jerome, have tried such audacious designs and incorporated functional mechanisms in pens, with the Romain Jerome Titanic pen and the Avenue du Mail under the Spero Lucem brand. Price for the Richard Mille RMS05 Pen is $105,000. richardmille.com

Iunal Giumali created his own pen-with-complications concept brand Styljoux. He is fascinated by pens as writing instruments and watches as instruments to measure time. When he doesn’t take himself too seriously, he enjoys writing on his pen blog Penficionado.

What do you think?
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  • IanE

    I nearly commented on how pointless this was!

    • Raymond Wilkie

      You just did : )

      • IanE

        I also almost added the standard ‘excuse the pun’, but my restraint is legendary (in my own mind!).

        • Raymond Wilkie

          Dont hold back, let it out !

  • Raymond Wilkie

    What a complete waste of time and money. Yes, its beautiful to look at and the mechanics of it are lovely, i would like to see it working, but stick to what you know . And am not being picky or anything but the Franck Muller 55 yacht is a speed boat.

    • spiceballs

      or “stink pots” as we pure sailors term them, but that is yet another story and debate – – .

  • funNactive

    Pretty – nice pen for $100, pointless @ this price range.

  • “…the pen would be excellent as a gift instead of an add-on when selling a Mille watch.”

    That’s a nice way of instructing the salesmen to include in their pitch, “You, Sir, seem like a sucker.”

  • Istvan

    I do not really understand all the negative comments. We here are all watch enthusiasts (I suppose) and as such, we agree to pay fortunes for pointless pieces of beautiful mechanics and engineering that accidentally happen to tell us the time much less precisely than our smartphones. How is a beautiful mechanical pen more pointless? Because it is costs 100k$? It is all a matter of Financial possibilities. The people who can afford a 700k$ watch, can also afford a 100k$ pen, and number of them certainly will.

    • iamcalledryan

      Watches are about passion, and as with any passion, people tend to get equally passionate about what they dislike. With the added veil of the internet you tend to get more of a negative vibe in the comments. It’s a shame, and particularly when people extend their own subjective views to conclude that anyone who likes things like this and can afford it is a chump, but what can you do?

      Aside from the fact that this is not a watch I still think its the coolest pen I have ever seen. Any automaton is “pointless” and “unnecessarily expensive”, but a watch tells the time and this writes so at least it does something functional. If people don’t like it they don’t like it, but I don’t see how a pricetag or a personal sense of function should carry the only weight in one’s appreciation of the object itself.

      • Berndt Norten

        Watches are indeed about passion and so too are pens. I am a pen collector. This is not a pen designed for pen lovers. It’s a pen for posers. Its key purpose is to separate money from those with more money than sense. Nothing is said about the nib. Nothing about the feed. How the pen writes–that seems to be beside the point, but with pen lovers, that’s the whole point. Now if RM had integrated a true watch movement into the pen… then we could talk! No I’m not channeling Joan Rivers….

        • iamcalledryan

          I think your concern might be more with the marketing and lack of actual detail. I find that frustrating too. Hard to say that this isn’t for pen lovers without really knowing what it’s like to hold, to write with, how useful and enjoyable the mechanism is. Like a hyper car could be said to be for posers it doesn’t mean it is not an amazing car or even just amazing to behold.

          To me this is exactly the pen that I would expect from RM and To call RM a brand for posers or a brand designed to exploit the naivety of its buyers is short of the mark by a long shot. There are far shorter distances that one would need to travel in terms of R&D and materials and uniqueness to satisfy the basic mandate to “rip off” one’s client base.

          • Berndt Norten

            RM produces fine pieces. And then it does the Sauron Eye. But, as usual, u r the voice of calm measured reason.

          • iamcalledryan

            Thanks, it required that I completely expunge the Sauron from my memory…

        • iamcalledryan

          It’s probably still not going to sell you on functionality, but there is a video here that demonstrates the various “functions”. Utterly superfluous, but cool nonetheless.

          http://www.watch-insider.com/news/sihh-2016-richard-mille-rms05-mechanical-fountain-pen/

  • DanW94

    Or you could just go with the MontBlanc Meisterstuck fountain pen and save yourself a boatload of money : )

    • Berndt Norten

      Or a nice Pelikan. I have a flock of them. This RM is nonsense. Not a word is said about the nib, the feed. How the pen writes… that’s beside the point. Pilot’s Vanishing Point pen was invented in the … 1960s was it? This is just plain silly.

    • Roma KLM

      Or an excellent Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil for $12,800. )

  • SuperStrapper

    If it takes you 4 years to develop a pen, you suck at pens and should be ashamed of yourself. RM is well documented in not having any shame though.

    I’d wager confidently that my Fisher bullet writes better. When I’m feeling fancy or sign an important contract, I go all out and use my Lamy safari.

    • JimBob

      The space pens are all terrible for writing. But so do nib pens, so touché, I guess.

      • SuperStrapper

        I heard that for years, and so I avoided them. I own a bunch of unmolested acreage that backs onto a never ending glut of Crown land, and I’ve done casual surveying for years. I’ve had good luck narrowing down a good type of waterproof notebook, but always struggled with an adequate pen for a variety of scenarios, and one year I was gifed a Fisher. It might as well have been handed down from the heavens. It writes like a dream. I was so impressed that I splurge the $40 on a raw brass Fisher bullet, and it writes the exact same.

        I love writing with the Lamy, but the ink takes too long to dry to be practical for everyday use.

        • JimBob

          They are very reliable, and they write better than the very cheapest of disposable ballpoint pens. I have a bunch of them, and for regular table-top writing on normal paper they kind of suck. But if you’re in a non-table situation and a sharpie won’t work for you, Fisher is the way to go.

          • iamcalledryan

            ABlogToWrite

    • beardedman

      I have a charcoal Lamy Safari and it’s got a wire bail clip as ugly as the day is long. It is a very nice pen to write with and feels good in the hand but fancy it is not! I have a Monteverde Impressa in pearl and blue that is relatively inexpensive yet pretty elegant, if slightly top-heavy when posted. But when I want to sign a check or write anywhere away from my desk, my retractable stainless Space Pen has never let me down.

  • Gokart Mozart

    I would rather have the “family” of FP Journe writing instuments and have enough left over for 1 or may be 2 of his watches.

  • otaking241

    I have to admit this is pretty darn cool. Whether it’s $105K worth of cool is between you and your wallet, but in a world with $1M+ “super cars” I don’t think RM deserves any special derision for making a balls-out, ultra premium fountain pen. And if you’re thinking “what justifies the price?” see: 4 years of R&D distributed over sales that will probably be measured by the handful.

  • Marius

    What a splendid idea reviewing this innovative pen is. May I recommend ABTW to write about other accessories that also require four years of development such as: the Omega cufflinks, the Cartier Crash fragrance, the Tag Heuer mobile phone, or the Bulgari diamond-studded bracelet. In reviewing the above-mentioned accessories, ABTW should not forget to use key words (repeated as many times as humanly possible) such as: innovation, edge, extraordinary, highly complex mechanism, and finally–and this is my personal favourite–high octane lifestyle (although, I assume that someone who has a high octane lifestyle will spend $105,000 on a car, a motorcycle, or a trip around the world rather than on a pen, but I digress).

  • Rattrapante

    Retracting the nib and still requiring a cap really isn’t the best usage of the RM’s expertise in my opinion. What would be very cool is if they could devise a mechanism to regulate ink flow similar to how mechanisms are being developed to regulate watch accuracy as the tension in the balance spring changes.

    • Berndt Norten

      Pilot of Japan introduced its “Vanishing Point” pen over 45 years ago. It’s still going strong. The nib is activated the same way a ball point pen is activated, only there is a cover to prevent the ink from drying (the nib is fully enclosed when not in use). It sells for under $200.

  • Ulysses31

    A small pen is (hrr) a big hindrance in life. You really need a sizeable one, preferably with a complicated mechanism inside, because how else would people know how important you are? Your character? Pfft, get real. You don’t have any character. You have a big fat wallet and a tiny little uh…

    All that effort put into achieving something so unnecessary; typical RM, clutching at straws. I’m sure someone will love it, but that ain’t me.

  • Boogur T. Wang

    “Wellll…flick my Bic ! “

  • Gabe Chambers

    It’s kinda like arguing a gshock is a better proposition than a hublot but for mine these are the best pens ever !-4 colours and mech pencil ! Ergonomic space age resin construction – I’m pretty sure there’s a model with an exhibition window of the mechanism – breathtaking AND you get $104 995 change to spend on watches!

  • BNABOD

    A lot of ink for a pen and I could not get myself to read the whole thing on this really busy morning where I am about to hit the slopes. Anyhow 100k for a pen will no doubt be a great gift for the person who has everything else. If someone gave it to me I suppose I would keep it so I will try not to judge so much.

  • Ryan B.

    Definitely not practical but I can’t help myself to like it.

    I rate it eight out of ten watch links.

  • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

    Like it or not, it fits perfectly with RM as a brand, including size, practicality, styling and of course price. Looking forward to their mechanical swimming suit for next.

  • Mike Burdine

    It’s pretty and interesting but the first paragraph sort of sums it up. It is a $105K over the top novelty item. If that is in your wheel house….rock on.

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  • James Miner

    They should make a tattoo machine. The design options for showcasing mechanics are numerous, and the product itself has plenty of “edge” to keep RM in vogue.