Richard Mille’s menacing new flying tourbillon is downright devilish

Richard Mille RM 66 Flying Tourbillon

The million-dollar watch was inspired by rock ‘n’ roll

Richard Mille’s latest timepiece wants to lure you to the dark side.

Dubbed the RM 66 Flying Tourbillion, the 42 mm watch places the “devil’s horns” at the centre of its skeletonised dial. The gesturing hand, which is ubiquitous in heavy metal and hard rock, is forged from polished 5N red gold and performs double duty as a sculptural bridges that hold the watch’s RM66 manual-winding movement.

A team led by Genevan engraver Olivier Vaucher painstakingly finished each skeleton finger by hand and the ornamental movement is housed within a tonneau-shaped caseband made of grade 5 titanium, which is known for its lightweight but robust qualities. Meanwhile, the bezel and caseback, which bear woodgrain-like texture, are crafted from a combination of carbon and gold leaf known as Gold Carbon TPT.

Richard Mille RM 66 Flying Tourbillon
Front and caseback views of the new Richard Mille RM 66 Flying Tourbillion

The horns aren’t the only nod to rock ‘n’ roll: The index markers on the dial resemble guitar plectrums, the titanium baseplate features palm-like gold details and the “goth” crown is topped with a skull. The watch will withstand the scariest of moshpits, too. The baseplate and bridges reportedly underwent intensive testing to ensure resistance to drops and scrapes.

All these homages to rock ‘n roll, however, should not distract you from the watch’s true technical prowess. The hand-wound calibre RM66 flaunts a flying tourbillion at 12 o’clock – rather unconventional as most tourbillons are positioned at 6 o’clock. The watchmakers at Richard Mille had wanted to accord the complication greater pride of place, and hence decided to flip the movement 180-degrees to accommodate the new look. Additionally, the watch is powered by a fast-rotating barrel that stores up to 72 hours of power reserve.

Richard Mille RM 66 Flying Tourbillon
A close-up look at the watch’s caseband and skull-topped crown

Designing the menacing timepiece was no easy feat, of course. It reportedly required 1,500 hours of research and development to develop the watch.

“Between its development and finalisation, we spent more than 200 hours on this piece, in addition to the 12 hours required to machine and finish a single crown,” Richard Mille’s technical director for cases Julien Boillat said in a statement. “Polishing titanium is much more difficult than polishing gold or steel.”

Limited to 50 pieces, the RM 66 Flying Tourbillon is exclusively available at Richard Mille boutiques for US$1.1 million.

Richard Mille

This article was first published on Robb Report US