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Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Red Quartz FQ TPT Watch Hands-On

Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Red Quartz FQ TPT Watch Hands-On Hands-On

One of the most popular Richard Mille watch product collections is the gracefully aging RM 11 (it has had some updates over the years), seen above in its RM 11-03 FQ TPT version (there’s also the RM11-03, RM011, and RM 011). The RM 11 family goes back more than a decade and is based on the RMAC3 movement, which is simple by Richard Mille standards but scores high in terms of practicality. It is, however, a very satisfying mechanism that does more than one might expect from a quick glance. A lot of watch-lovers go wild for RM 11-o3 watches, and this fact has, in some instances, seen pieces sold for more than retail price. RM 11-03 features the distinct look of Richard Mille timepieces (modern tonneau-style shape), along with a host of aesthetic versions (such as here in red quartz TPT) that allow wearers to get the bold visual attention they like from wearing a Richard Mille timepiece. At the same time, the RM 11-03 is less expensive than Richard Mille’s various $500,000-plus products, albeit still very expensive.

The RM 11-o3 FQ TPT has a case that is a mixture of red quartz and carbon, produced in a series of layers (“TPT” is “thin-ply technology”) which offer an attractive aesthetic when machined — similar, in theory, to Damascus-style steel. Originally developed to be a light and strong material for sports (such as competitive racing yachts) and industrial purposes, TPT benefits the watch landscape because of its aesthetics. It can be rendered in a series of colors, and the unique textured look of the case makes it very fashionable today. Richard Mille was smart to adopt TPT materials for watch cases starting more than five years ago and has since released a universe of products in various colors and styles that feature TPT case materials.

Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Red Quartz FQ TPT Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Red Quartz FQ TPT Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Richard Mille’s latest RM 11-03 watch cases have a unique construction in which the movement is affixed to mounts that are part of the case, as opposed to a separate movement holder ring. This and other details are possible because of the long machining times Richard Mille makes possible for its parts (one reason these watches cost so much). The curved tonneau-style case is 44.50mm-wide (not including the crown), 44.94mm-tall, and 16.15mm-thick. On the wrist with the attached bespoke and very high-end rubber strap, the wearing experience is extremely comfortable, in addition to being visually assertive.

The Richard Mille RMAC3 automatic flyback chronograph movement operates at 4Hz with about 50 hours of power reserve between two barrels. The automatic rotor also features Richard Mille’s variable geometry technology, which is interesting, though rarely used. It allows a watchmaker (not the wearer) to change the spinning geometry of the rotor in order to make it rotate more or less easily, according to how active the wearer’s wrists are. Theoretically, using this feature helps someone have the watch be wound enough, but not too wound. I have yet to meet anyone who has carefully investigated their own wearing style and actually had Richard Mille individually set the rotor geometry for their “wrist habits.”

Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Red Quartz FQ TPT Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Red Quartz FQ TPT Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The RMAC3 movement includes a flyback-style chronograph (no need to reset chronograph before you start it again) with a 12-hour counter (hours and minutes are counted in the same dial), synchronized 60-minute countdown dial, and a big date indicator along with a month indicator neatly placed between 4 and 5 o’clock on the dial. That makes the RM 11-03 a chronograph annual calendar — which does exist out there but is a very uncommon type of mechanism. Visually, the RM 11-03 dial is legible but designed to be skeletonized in a striking way using titanium bridges and a lot of visual depth to amplify how the dial appears to the eye. Bold hands and bright dial-color accents help maintain legibility.

Richard Mille is among those modern watchmakers who have embraced the artistic appeal of combining organic-looking textures with otherwise contemporary design. That is the best way to understand the draw of the RM 11-03 with the FQ TPT case. The organic red and black lines produced as a function of machining the case offer a soothing quality to the industrial finishes and lines seen in the movement and other elements of the case, such as the crown, pushers, dial, and hands.

Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Red Quartz FQ TPT Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Richard Mille designers also did a nice job of making the RM 11-03 look very much like a “racing machine for the wrist,” a theme that has helped the brand capture the imagination of a lot of younger (and very well-funded) watch collectors. Richard Mille is never shy about its inspiration from the world of Formula One race cars, which regularly find their way into Richard Mille product designs.

Note that there are at least two very similar versions of this red quartz TPT Richard Mille RM 11-03 watch. Both are limited editions, and both have the same case design and are in the RM 11-03 family. One is this model and the other is part of the Felipe Massa collection (which has a slightly different dial design). If you didn’t know that these two watches existed, you could very easily mistake one for the other without knowing that Richard Mille happened to produce two rather similar timepieces. I actually prefer this RM 11-03 FQ TPT, not only because of the dial design but also because of the different crown and pusher design — which are very well done, in my opinion.

Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Red Quartz FQ TPT Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Richard Mille RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Red Quartz FQ TPT Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Most watch-lovers will not be able to afford a Richard Mille — which is sort of the point of the brand. Last year, I wrote, “Why Richard Mille Watches Are So Expensive” to explain this concept. Richard Mille is also on its own without being part of any watch trade show, as the brand pulled out of SIHH this year. That means that, in order for Richard Mille to keep demand high, it will need to continue to attract the attention of watch collectors and enthusiasts, even if most sales come from the ultra-rich who merely want something cool and status-defining on their wrist. The Richard Mille RM 11-03 Red Quartz FQ TPT watch is a limited-edition of 50 pieces and has a retail price of $173,500 USD. Learn more at the Richard Mille website here.

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  • Some robot in Hell and many 12 year old males are lusting after this illegible watch. Since I don’t fall into either category, I’ll pass on it. Do realy watch geeks (with excess cash) really buy these watches or only nouveau riche who don’t know about watches and think a confused look equates to coolness? Just asking…

    • Swiss_Cheese

      I can say with almost 100% certainty its the noveau riche and the perpetual game of ‘how can I spend an obscene amount of money on a something for the sole fact of spending an obscene amount of money on something’. I’ve only seen one in the flesh and the wearer was the poster child of tasteless… (he was a nice bloke though)

    • pingrava

      A dumpster fire of a watch.

    • BNABOD

      I think it is just for show as to why people buy theses watches

      • ray h.

        I think u are right. If they could just buy a simple ring that only they have and no one else could afford (without going very deep in debt) then that would be the new Richard Mille . I think as long as it separates them from the vulgar (people with less than $) also I think a lot of fake it to you make it people use these to gain entry to people with real money as like a secret ring or hand shake might have done in days gone by ! lol As the person above said if it has anything to do with a wrist watch there are a ton of real candidates out there that cost this much and more but this is the wink and a nod to people of new but crazy money .

    • Independent_George

      Funny, I was thinking along the same lines. Where exactly is the “value” in Richard Mille watches? And before someone responds “value is what the market says it is”, that’s not what I am asking. Engineering aside, what does RM offer other than bling for celebrities? Do Richard Mille watches offer a piece of haute horology wizardry like F.P. Journe or Rexhep Rexhepi? The painstaking craftsmanship of Lange? Is he a solitary genius machining from scratch by hand every single part of his watches like a Dufour or Roger Smith or the Credor folks? Does his watches offer the Old World elegance of Patek or VC? Is he trying to redefine the idea of the wrist watch like Urwerk or is he a mad genius like Konstantin Chaykin? As far as I can tell he’s tireless socialite and and very successful salesman to the new rich. Hang out with the 0.1% at the Soho Club and put them on the wrists of certain influential celebrities (Stallone, Formula One drivers) and influencers (rappers Frank Ocean and Offset), and see the others fall in line.

      I would honestly like to know from well-heeled collectors what the appeal of his watches are.

  • IanE

    One of their ugliest cases ever – and that is a pretty hard hurdle to jump!

  • Martin Francis

    For me the price is irrelevant; I find the execution simply unappealing and the aesthetic rebarbative. If this works for you then all to the good, it simply doesn’t for me.

  • Steve_Macklevore

    What a stupid object; the case colour and design reminds me of a children’s Casio bought in a gas station.

    I don’t know how the management at Richard Mille can live with themselves, peddling this trash and profiteering from it.

  • SuperStrapper

    What a monster

  • BNABOD

    So all that blah blah to say red sandwich case + illegible dial + two barrels for a lame 50 hours of PR ….not that I would ever wear a transformers looking watch because it looks silly. I get the idea here, to make a in your face watch and then to buy it simply to show that you can but ugly in my book is just ugly regardless of price tag …

  • I have to admit I find RM watches a guilty pleasure. The craftsmanship is top-notch, and they’re just so unapologetic about their over the top designs I can’t help but smile. I’ll never own one, but I’m glad they exist.
    But…what is that shapeless goo at the top and bottom of the case, just above where the strap attaches? It looks as if something melted.

    • ray h.

      Well the whole case appears to cardboard layers glued together and then spray painted so….your guess is as good as mine .

  • Mark B

    Yuck. Just yuck.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    I have to go and sit in a dark room for a while.

  • BJ314

    If you can’t use it to tell time quickly, it’s not a watch.

  • WINKS

    Cringing machine for the wrist.

  • Jon Heinz

    It’s the current thing to announce you’ve made it into the silly money stratosphere. They are hella watches indeed but a lot of the price and popularity is pure hypebeast factor. Rob Dyrdek (former pro skateboarder, host of several TV shows and entrepreneur) just got a white Bubba Watson, following close on the heels of his new custom built Ferrari. Dude can afford it though. For me, it’s gonna take the lottery. A dude can dream. On a good day you can spot one at the horse track or in the crowd at a major golf tournament.