When it comes to creating the most technologically involved execution of a fairly simple concept, arguably no brand goes harder than Richard Mille. Regardless of how you may feel about the brand’s ultra-modern aesthetic and sky-high price point, there is a lot of interesting technology behind the timepieces that it produces, and Richard Mille simply does not make boring watches. As its latest new release of 2023, Richard Mille has announced the next chapter in the evolution of the RM 030 that originally made an appearance back in 2011, and the new Richard Mille RM 03-01 Automatic with Declutchable Rotor represents a revamped and more advanced rendition of one of the brand’s signature models.
The new Richard Mille RM 03-01 Automatic with Declutchable Rotor is essentially just a self-winding watch with a date display and power reserve indicator, although this description doesn’t even tell half the story. The two numerals for the date are each displayed by a separate DLC-treated titanium disc, while the self-winding movement features an integrated clutch mechanism that automatically disconnects the rotor from the barrel once the mainspring is fully wound. Additionally, rather than simply having a crown with multiple different positions like watches from virtually all other brands, the RM 03-01 has a function selector switch operated by a pusher that is located on the side of the case at 2 o’clock, which allows users to switch between winding (W), hand-setting (H), and date-adjustment (D) positions for the crown.
Richard Mille’s declutchable rotor concept originally debuted way back in 2011 on the RM 030, although the new Richard Mille RM 03-01 turns things up a notch with the addition of a function selector switch, along with a number of other refinements and updates to both its overall construction and internal movement technologies. On top of that, the new RM 03-01 also offers a completely overhauled display, which features a noticeably more open-worked aesthetic that is based upon angular lines, instead of the curved forms that characterized the dial of the original Richard Mille RM 030.
Rather than featuring a full set of Arabic numeral markers with a date display at 7 o’clock and the rest of its indicators placed around the center of the dial, the new Richard Mille RM 03-01 has a diamond-shaped power reserve indicator sitting to the left of the hands in the center, while its date window has been relocated to 4 o’clock. Sitting just above the date display is an indicator for the function selector switch, while an on/off display for the status of the declutchable rotor appears in the far upper left corner at the 11 o’clock position. As for the actual dial of the RM 03-01, it features a two-layer construction, with the first made from transparent sapphire, while the other is crafted from titanium and has a diamond-shaped design that mirrors the appearance of the plates and bridges of the movement.
The new Richard Mille RM 03-01 Automatic with Declutchable Rotor is offered in two different configurations, with one featuring a case that is crafted entirely from grade 5 titanium, while the other has a middle case made from titanium that is paired with upper and lower sections in 5N red gold. Despite their different materials, both versions of the new Richard Mille RM 03-01 feature tonneau-shaped cases that measure 42mm in diameter by 17.59mm thick, with an overall lug-to-lug profile of 49.94mm. Additionally, sapphire crystals with anti-reflective treatment are fitted to both the dial sides of the watches and their display casebacks, while water resistance for the RM03-01 comes in at a fairly standard 50 meters.
Rather than using an intermediary casing ring to hold the movement inside of the watch like a number of previous Richard Mille models, the internal caliber is developed to be integrated into the design of the new RM 03-01, and it sits on rubber chassis mounting components that are attached by four spline screws in grade 5 titanium. Additionally, just like virtually all of the other tonneau-shaped models in Richard Mille’s lineup, the various case components of the RM 03-01 are held together with a set of titanium spline screws that are paired with abrasion-resistant washers made from 316L stainless steel.
Powering the new Richard Mille RM 30-01 Automatic with Declutchable Rotor is the brand’s Caliber RMAR2 skeletonized self-winding movement, which runs at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) while offering users a power reserve of approximately 55 hours. Although the biggest mechanical difference between the new RM 30-01 and the original RM 030 from 2011 is the addition of the function selector switch, both models are characterized by their signature declutchable self-winding mechanisms and variable geometry rotors.
In order to ensure that their movements do not over-wind themselves, nearly all automatic watches feature a sliding flange within their barrels that allows the mainspring spring to slip when the watch is fully wound. As a way to prevent the additional wear that can occur while the mainspring slips within its barrel, the Richard Mille Cal. RMAR2 features a clutch that automatically disconnects the rotor from the winding mechanism once the watch is fully wound. The clutch will then autonomously re-engage the rotor once the power reserve drops below 40 hours so that the movement can maintain an optimum level of tension in the mainspring. As for the variable geometry rotor, the multi-component structure features a five-position adjustable weight system (the pair of wing-shaped things that sit within it), which allows its winding ability to be fine-tuned and optimized for its individual owner’s lifestyle and wearing habits.
Regardless of their different case materials, both versions of the new Richard Mille RM 30-01 Automatic with Declutchable Rotor are fitted with black rubber straps that are completed by titanium folding clasps, and while the full-titanium version is accompanied by an official retail price of $208,000 USD, the version with 5N red gold case components costs $253,000 USD. While the new RM 30-01 is hardly the most advanced model in Richard Mille’s contemporary lineup, it still represents a highly complex take on the traditional date-displaying automatic watch, and this latest duo of models pairs two of the brand’s signature technologies in a mechanically complex timepiece that maintains a strong emphasis on providing an easy and straightforward user experience. For more information on the Richard Mille RM 30-01 Automatic with Declutchable Rotor, please visit the brand’s website.