Richard Mille RM 65-01 Automatic Split-Seconds Chronograph In Yellow And Blue Quartz TPT

Last week, Richard Mille added two new colors to the RM 65-01 lineup. First launched back in 2020, the RM 65-01 is made of 600 components total and is the most complicated automatic (non-LE) watch to be produced by the brand. The very saturated yolky shade of yellow will exist as a limited run of 120 watches, and the pastel blue will become a staple in the collection. Both are made of Quartz TPT or Thin Ply Technology (Quartz TPT was first developed for the RM 27-02 Nadal), which is a composite made of multiple layers of quartz fibers, which are generally used for very high-performance applications due to their resistance to high temperatures, their strength, and their transparency to electromagnetic waves.

Richard Mille RM 65-01, with its focus on motorsports, has long focused on highly complex chronographs. Starting with the RM 004, a manually-wound, split-second powered by a Renaud & Papi caliber, these new RM 65-01s are the latest in the lineage. This high-beat, self-winding rattrapante chronograph features Caliber RMAC4, a high-frequency movement with variable inertia, oscillating at 36,000 vibrations per hour (vph)/5 Hz. The RMAC4 in the RM 65-01 is supplied by Vaucher and was originally based on the architecture and layout of the Parmigiani caliber PF361.

I’m not really one for frequency talk, but it’s pretty helpful to take a little frequency crash course (brush up on your knowledge here) in order to understand this model. Technically, a chronograph operating at 5 Hz is more functional than the more common 4 Hz alternative. A movement running at 5 Hz has a balance that is physically oscillating at 36,000 vph; on the dial side, this translates to the ability to measure elapsed time (the whole goal of a chronograph, after all – just ask Zenith) in one-tenth-of-a-second intervals, compared to one-eighth of a second with a chronograph running at 4 Hz.

Equipped Richard Mille RM 65-01 with a vertical clutch and dual six-column wheels for a smooth pusher feel (hey, you get what you pay for), the chronograph is capable of timing events up to 12 hours. The total power reserve is 60 hours, while a variable-geometry rotor optimizes winding according to the wearer’s activity. A button located at eight o’clock is labeled, in very Richard Mille fashion, “RAPID WINDING,” as it allows for just that. More of a feature for feature’s sake (or, as another watch journalist astutely put it to me, “a solution looking for a problem”), one can push this button a mere 125 times to “rapidly” recharge the mainspring. The function selector on the crown enables the wearer to switch quickly from traditional winding mode (W) to setting the semi-instantaneous date (D) or the hours and minutes display (H).

It’s officially summer, which means it’s officially peak Richard Mille season for the flamboyant-leaning, watch-wearing elite – and for Pharrell Williams, who seemingly won’t take off his RM UP 01. Speaking of Pharrell, an RM 65-01 in a custom color signed by Pharrell on the caseback way went up for auction at Joopiter’s “Just Phriends” auction last year and sold for $481,250. The auction was curated by Sarah Andelman, former creative director of the Paris concept store Colette. RIP Colette. This all speaks volumes about the aesthetic of this particular RM model when you consider the overall brightly colored and strikingly contemporary aesthetic of the rest of the lots in the auction.

Color is one of the things that RM does best. While it seems like this release is a simple color change to the existing 65-01, it’s important to note that colors and tints have to be added to the resin material that eventually becomes Quartz TPT at the first stage of manufacturing. Should the chemical that alters the color conflict with any of the other materials in the quartz composite, the entire material could be compromised. This color change is likely the result of a long process of RnD and few other brands would go through such a lengthy process for the sake of a color change.

Is the rapid winding mechanism essential when you could simply pull out the crown and wind the watch? No. But these are adult toys. The more smartly color-coded buttons that correspond to the functions on the dial, the merrier. Do these watches seem more technical than they are? Perhaps. Am I willing to let myself be bamboozled by marketing because I enjoy getting a quick glimpse of a very glamorous lifestyle that is not mine? Yes.