Richard Mille RM 60-01

Having created watches for a variety of sports – like this RM27-01 worn by Rafael Nadal – Richard Mille presents a new high-tech watch for a different arena: nautical navigation. The RM 60-01 Regatta Flyback Chronograph includes a bevy of navigational features to ensure that your position at sea can be determined in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The looks and technical details are distinctly Richard Mille, with a skeletonized dial and cutting-edge features including a self-winding movement that can be customized to suit your personal activity level.

At the core of the RM 60-01 is the Caliber RMAC2, a self-winding flyback chronograph movement with a 50-hour power reserve. One of the more interesting features is the variably oscillating rotor exclusive to Richard Mille. Standard self-winding movements use rotors that wind at a constant rate, regardless of movement. In the RM 60-01, titanium screws can be used to adjust the ribs of the RMAC2’s rotor to six different positions, effectively customizing the rotor’s inertia to suit different levels of movement. So the winding mechanism can be optimized to perform just as well when you’re ferociously unfurling the masts of a competition sailboat as when you’re sitting at your desk.

The RM 60-01’s nautical complication comes in the form of a UTC hand and rotating bezel with compass. The four cardinal directions are in bold red around the bezel along with a graduated 360-degree scale in yellow. The UTC hand is the long hand with a red arrow at the tip and it can be adjusted via a pusher at 8 o’clock. To figure out your bearings, you need to know local time where you are. From there, you point the UTC hand in the direction of the sun and turn the bezel until the UTC hand lines up with your local time (on the white scale for the Southern Hemisphere and the green scale for the Northern). Once you’ve done this, the bezel will act like a compass, pointing out the cardinal directions for your current location. It’s worth noting however that this is calibrated for ideal conditions in which the sun is due east at 6am and due west at 6pm, so in reality you’re getting an approximate reading.

The 24-hour scale is applied to a transparent sapphire crystal disc set right over the movement, letting you use the UTC hand to track a second timezone when it’s not being used for navigation. The skeletonized dial, though a hallmark of Mille timepieces, makes legibility a concern on this watch when functionality is touted as such a paramount feature.The chronograph is a flyback, meaning you don’t have to stop the mechanism in order to reset it. Instead, you can just press the reset pusher and it will snap back to zero and instantly begin timing another interval. The minutes subregister at 9 o’clock also uses a static arrow at the top to tell the elapsed time on a rotating disc marked in bright yellow. Additionally, the hours register down at 6 o’clock counts up to 24 hours instead of the more typical 12. For keeping time at sea, this makes a lot of sense There’s also a large date window just above the central anchor point for the hours and minutes hands and a skeletonized month display down at 4:30. Richard Mille doesn’t emphasize this feature, but the date display compensates automatically for 30 and 31 day months, effectively making this an annual calendar. Everything is packaged in a four-part 50mm titanium case, which is both durable and lightweight. The oversized crown has a proprietary locking technology that allows you to twist the inner portion to lock the pushers. A green or red arrow indicates whether the pushers are locked or not.

For the intended market – nautical thrill-seekers with a chunk of money to spare – the watch ticks a lot of desired boxes. It boasts 100m water-resistance (suitable for sailing and recreational water sports) in addition to the rotor with variable geometry mentioned above. To increase timekeeping accuracy and lessen the effects of shock on the mechanics, the RM 60-01 features a free-sprung balance wheel. This type of mechanism does away with a regulator that has the potential to inhibit precise motions of the balance spring, instead utilizing four weights to accurately adjust the balance wheel.