Richard Mille RM 50-03 – F1 technology meets watchmaking

We all know fake Richard Mille is a great watch maker – the unique case shape is probably one of the most recognizable in the entire watch industry.

When we talk about collectible and rare watches at The Collectors Circle, we definitely have to talk about Richard Mille’s RM 50-03 McLaren F1, as the luxury brand brings the perfection of watchmaking to life with this masterpiece.

Technological innovation and the constant quest for perfection and progress are the common denominators that connect McLaren and Richard Mille, which is why the two companies have teamed up to create the lightest mechanical chronograph ever built.

Created in collaboration with Formula 1 designers and engineers, the Richard Mille movement is a technological masterpiece with extraordinary mechanical power. The movement weighs only 7 grams and combines a tourbillon with a split-seconds chronograph. Including the wristband, the entire watch weighs less than 40 grams – no kidding! This is all thanks to F1 technology and the use of materials such as grade 5 titanium, carbon TPT and Graph TPT. With the infusion of these materials, Richard Mille entered a new level in watchmaking and was a pioneer in the use of raw materials other than gold, steel or platinum.

For example, Graph TPT is 6 times lighter than steel but 200 times more durable.

With RM 50-30, the brand elevates timekeeping to the highest technical art form. Well done Richard Miller! Collectors Circle expresses its gratitude for being a pioneer in the watch industry.

Hands On: Richard Mille RM50-03 McLaren F1

As the name suggests, this is a fairly complicated watch and it won’t be quick to explain.

What’s the deal with McLaren? What about F1? What does a second chronograph mean? What about the tourbillon?

We’ll take a quick look at the brand, then dive into the 50-03 to see what it’s like to wear a 38-gram watch (yes, you read that right: not pounds, not ounces, grams! Includes strap, lessons).

It’s easy to spot Richard Mille timepieces, and the tonneau case has always been a favorite of the brand and an exotic material. The first model was launched in 2001.

The brand’s goal is clear: to bring aero and F1 car performance in a watch. So, we understand why Mr. Miller decided to work with McLaren and the automotive world.

The first feeling of wearing it is “wow”.

The tonneau case gives a sturdy and heavy look, and we expected it to be heavy and annoying on the wrist. This watch is just the opposite: in addition to being incredibly comfortable, it’s like not wearing it at all.

You will be amazed when you wear such a lightweight Richard Mille for the first time.

Collectors around the world are debating the “weight factor”. Some people like to wear a fake watches for sale on their wrist and will be annoyed by such a light watch.

The first element that grabs our attention is the orange strap. It might seem trivial to start with the details of the strap, but we are ItalianWatchSpotter.

Not only the color, but also the ultra-light nylon without the buckle. Yes, the strap is elastic and doesn’t need to be opened, you just stretch it a bit and let it slide from your hand to your wrist.

There you have it, you’re wearing the world’s lightest split chronograph.

Now let’s move to the case

This material can only be innovative, Graph TPT®, an evolution of the classic Carbon TPT® infused with graphene. This nanomaterial has amazing properties: 6 times lighter than steel, but 200 times harder. The housing is made from 30 micron (0.03 mm) sheets that are glued and crossed together, then cut to final shape.

It measures 44.50mm x 49.65mm and measures 16.10mm thick. 1.5cm certainly doesn’t make this watch slim, but it’s not annoying.

The side pushrods are hollow, reminiscent of McLaren’s air intake design and aerodynamics.

The RM50-03 features a hand-wound tourbillon split-seconds chronograph with hour and 30-minute recorders, as well as power reserve, torque and function indicators.

This is a world record movement: weighing only 7 grams, it can handle up to 5000 grams.

Skeleton watches have always been attractive, but legibility isn’t always easy and quick. The red tones of the hour and minute hands are easy to distinguish. The minute hand of the chronograph is thinner and the hands are yellow and red.

At the 12 o’clock position, we can see two indicators, which may look the same at first glance. These functions are all related to movement operation: power reserve and torque indicator. On the left we find a small coloured arch from 70 to 10 showing how much power is left, while on the right we have the torque indicator showing the tension of the spring in the barrel. This is Richard Mille’s remarkable complication since its first release in 2001: the RM001.

For us, the best are details that are imperceptible to the untrained eye. They are our mission.
A function indicator might be of little use, but it comes in handy in such a complicated watch.

It’s easy to explain: there are three letters, WNH. A small arrow shows one of them, telling us where the crown is.

“W” for winding, “N” for neutral (when wearing the watch), and “H” for hand setting.

After the details, our favorite is the possibility of customizing the watch, and Richard Mille has us (partially) satisfied. The 50-03 was born with the red crown and details, but this is only a prototype. To connect more with McLaren, the final version is orange.

The only remaining customization is the strap, which is available in nylon (black or orange) or rubber (black only).