Richard Mille launched the RM 50-02 ACJ, at SIHH 2016. This tourbillon split second chronograph is certain to garner covetous glances from aviation watch enthusiasts at the show, while it arrives as a unique timer with a sprinkle of exclusivity.
The uniqueness comes from the collaborative effort Richard Mille engaged in to create the RM 50-02, teaming with Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) for a watch that has a bespoke feel. ACJ is a division of Airbus, the French airline subsidiary specializes in luxury air travel in planes typically holding no more than 50 people. The nature of ACJ offers a hint to the high end aspirations of the new Richard Mille, and according to the companies it was a true collaborative effort.
ACJ and Richard Mille spent two years developing and crafting the RM 50-02 ACJ Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph limited edition timepiece. The result is something that certainly stands out and true to the partnership there are plenty of Airbus references. Sure, this is an aesthetic to love or to hate, while the price means this is a truly exclusive piece (the RM 50-02 costs $1,000,000), but it is hard to deny that this is an imposing aviation watch that fits into that market sector perfectly.
Working with an airline means Richard Mille could not resist dotting plane references around the RM 50-02 ACJ Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph. Chief among them is the arched plane window inspired dial, a viewing pane to all the intricate mechanics that keep this timepiece ticking. Even the hands take cues from modern plane readout dials, while the ACJ logo is used sparingly, but enough to know that this is not a Richard Mille solo effort.
Dressed in titanium and alloy, the RM 50-02 ACJ is a surprisingly light load considering its hefty dimensions, but then this pricey watch is not really meant for daily use anyway. Those bulky dimensions look like 42.70mm wide and 50.10mm tall by 16.50mm thick on paper, and that bulk coupled with a white ceramic bezel plate means this is a watch that stands out.
While the ACJ inspirations are easily visible, Richard Mille has not been pushed into the shadows as the precision and detail from the Swiss brand is in abundant evidence. The movement is precise and feels fresh thanks to some new materials (such as anti-corrosive movement parts), although the actual mechanics have been used in previous Richard Mille examples.
The tourbillon split second chronograph manually wound movement is new however. There is a blue sapphire crystal dial, and a tourbillon with its own opening, something the mainspring barrel bridge also gets. Other key specs include a 60-minute split-second (rattrapante) chronograph that sports a power reserve movement torque indicator, and crown selection indicator.
The Richard Mille RM 50-02 ACJ is a collaboration that will draw praise from aviation enthusiasts, although only the elite 0.1% will be able to afford its substantial $1,000,000 cost.