SIHH 2018 : Richard Mille creates a gem-set ceramic
With a wide range of models already available, the Ladies’ collection certainly allows any woman to find the right watch for her wrist, however, Richard Mille continues to add to the variety of materials, gem settings and bracelets with an exclusive gem-set ceramic, a world premiere.
With this unprecedented marriage of diamond and black ceramic, the brand illustrates its indefatigable determination to develop its offerings for women who are as much fascinated by technicity as by beauty.
In addition to its exceptional hardness and scratch resistance, black TZP ceramic possesses an extremely fine grain, ensuring a perfect finish with a matte effect. The latter is the outcome of a long and delicate process of milling and micro-shot peening, whereas showcasing the complex shapes of the bezel and case bottom requires the intervention of a finisher, who polishes each angle by hand.
‘After our work on setting gems in Carbon TPT®, we wanted to extend this innovative setting technique to new materials,’ explains Cécile Guenat, Technical Director for Jewellery-making at Richard Mille. ‘We naturally gravitated to ceramic, because it had never been done before. There is now no subterfuge in the way diamonds are incorporated, thanks to way the mitraillage is performed by machining the material directly.’
Separately produced, and carefully polished to ensure a perfectly even feel, red gold prongs are embedded in the many settings, each 0.25 millimetre in diameter, receiving and holding fast the diamonds placed by the gem-setter. These are full-cut stones, selected for their exceptional clarity. Thus do the velvety black of the ceramic and the sparkle of diamonds set each other off spectacularly.
The case in gem-set black ceramic and red gold houses an in-house Calibre CRMA2, an automatic movement assembled on a baseplate and bridges crafted in grade 5 titanium. Its variable-geometry rotor in 18-carat 5N red gold makes it possible to adjust the automatic winding to the activity levels of its wearer. At the heart of this calibre, the dial in 5N red gold set with black onyx and diamonds sits like a discrete echo of the technical feat displayed by the bezel.
The RM 07-01 Black Ceramic will be on view for a sneak peek at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva during January 2018.