February 24, 2023
Within the realm of ultra-expensive, high-performing sports watches, Richard Mille is arguably the world’s number one brand. In addition to being accompanied by six or even seven-figure price tags, Richard Mille’s watches are actually worn by some of the world’s top athletes as they play their respective sports. Lightweight and highly shock resistant, certain Richard Mille models have famously been worn by a wide variety of notable professional athletes, and while the brand has been a long-time supporter of a number of female competitors from the world of sports, it didn’t actually have a dedicated women’s sports watch in its lineup until now. Officially known as the Richard Mille RM 07-04 Automatic Sport, the new collection of women’s sports models was created in collaboration with six high-profile female athletes, and it makes its debut appearance in six different colorways, with each one dedicated to a different one of the female athletes who helped create them.
To design the new RM 07-04 Automatic Sport collection, Richard Mille partnered with Aurora Strauss and Margot Laffite from the world of motorsports; Yuliya Levchenko and Nafi Thiam, who both compete in track and field; Ester Ledecká, a Winter Olympics triple gold medallist skier; and Nelly Korda, the world number two golfer. Developed over the course of three years using the input from the six female athletes who represent the face of this collection, the Richard Mille RM 07-04 Automatic Sport offers the same sports-oriented performance features as the brand’s full-size men’s models, but in a more compact and ultra-lightweight package.
Featuring cases that offer Richard Mille’s signature tonneau shaped profile, the new RM 07-04 Automatic Sport collection measures 30.5mm in diameter by 10.35mm thick, with an overall lug-to-lug profile of 44.95mm. Five of the six models feature cases crafted from different colors of Quartz TPT, while the final model receives a black Carbon TPT case. As the models embrace a largely skeletonized aesthetic, sapphire crystals are fitted to both the dial side of the watches and their casebacks, while the case itself its assembled using 20 spline screws that are made from grade 5 titanium. Given that one of the requests from the athletes was for a lighter watch, the total weight of the new Richard Mille RM 07-04 Automatic Sport watches comes in at just 36 grams, and that even includes their integrated fabric straps with Velcro-style closures.
Positioned on one of the columns on the 9 o’clock side of the middle case is a rectangular plate made from grade 5 titanium that features an engraving of the model’s number, while a large rubberized winding crown, which is also made from grade 5 titanium, sits at the 3 o’clock location and offers access to the movement. Positioned just below the crown at the 4 o’clock location is an oblong button made from a contrasting color of Quartz TPT that has a grade 5 titanium frame surrounding it, and this serves as a function selector switch, which is a unique feature that can be found on a number of other Richard Mille sports models.
The concept behind the function selector switch is to allow the winding crown to be disengaged from the movement when it is not being used. Pressing the button for the function selector switch allows users to change between winding, neutral, and time setting modes for the crown, and disengaging the winding crown from the movement allows shock resistance to be significantly increased. Normally, the crown and stem are connected directly to the internal caliber, but by allowing the movement of the watch to sit freely within the case, forces exerted on the outside of the watch can be better redistributed before they reach the internal caliber. In addition to offering 50 meters of water resistance, the new Richard Mille RM 07-04 Automatic Sport watches are also accompanied by an impressive 5,000g’s of shock resistance.
Like most skeletonized watches, the new Richard Mille RM 07-04 Automatic Sport models don’t really have dials in the traditional sense of the word, although they do have a flange in a contrasting color that consists of the outer chapter ring, along with the hour marker and minute track, and it also contains the markings for the function selector indicator. The internal sections of the flange are shaped exactly like the bridges of the movement that sit below it, and at first glance, they appear to be a single piece, although they are actually sitting on top of the baseplate of the movement. A pair of skeletonized centrally-mounted hands display the hours and minutes, while a smaller hand located at the 5 o’clock position indicates the current mode for the winding crown: neutral (N), winding (W), or hand setting (H).
At the heart of the new Richard Mille RM 07-04 Automatic Sport watches is the Caliber CRMA8 automatic movement, which holds the distinction of being the most compact self-winding caliber in the brand’s current collection. Running at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 50 hours, the CRMA8 features its baseplate and bridges crafted from micro-blasted grade 5 titanium with a black DLC finish, while the rotor is made from platinum and mounted on ceramic ball bearings. A free-sprung balance with a variable inertia adjustment system further adds to its shock resistance, and just like other Richard Mille movements, the CRMA8 includes the brand’s specialized gear teeth profile and fast-rotating mainspring barrel to help guarantee optimal performance.
Regardless of their different colors or case materials, all six of the new Richard Mille RM 07-04 Automatic Sport watches are accompanied by the same official retail price of $185,000 USD. Additionally, while Richard Mille may have developed these new models specifically with female athletes in mind, watches are inherently rather unisex objects, and as someone with smaller wrists, I would happily wear several of the six different colorways — and I can’t imagine that I’m alone in that sentiment either. In many instances of active use, sports watches are often most practical when they are fairly small and compact timepieces, although one of the more challenging things in watchmaking is to reduce the size of something without compromising functionality. Equally capable as the brand’s full-size sports models, the new Richard Mille RM 07-04 Automatic Sport collection offers the same state-of-the-art materials and over-engineered technology, but just in a smaller and more compact format. For more information on the Richard Mille RM 07-04 Automatic Sport collection, please visit the brand’s website.