Watches: Richard Mille RM 011 Flyback Chronograph NTPT Carbon
By Thierry Ané on November 7, 2013
Ever heard of North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT)? Don’t worry: me neither! Through the latest Richard Mille press release, we are told that this new and improved version of carbon fibre material was originally developed for the sails of racing yachts. Its technological properties were so good that it found its way to Formula One car chassis and to the fuselage of the future Solar Impulse 2 aircraft.
On the homepage of the web site www.thinplytechnology.com, one can read “North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT) is revolutionizing the world of laminate composites with significantly improved mechanical properties and the freedom to position each microfiber optimally for its intended use, with no limitation to angle, area or thickness”. Knowing how difficult it is to produce a watch case due to the existence of complex shapes and angles, it almost seems that they had case making in mind when they came up with this headline!
Since the beginning, Richard Mille has been known for bringing new materials and technology in the watchmaking process. It thus comes as no surprise that this brand will be the first to use NTPT carbon: they have just announced the release of the RM 011 Flyback Chronograph NTPT Carbon for the end of the year.
Originally invented in 2001, NTPT carbon is composed of multiple layers of parallel filaments obtained by dividing carbon fibres. Technically, according to Richard Mille, NTPT carbon “improves the rate of occurrence of breaking stresses by 25% and of micro-cracks by 200%” when compared to other composite materials (like carbon fibres or forged carbon). Aesthetically, this newcomer in the carbon family brings its specific texture and will be as immediately identifiable as carbon fibres or forged carbon were. It features sort of an organic, wood-like texture due to the fact that the direction of the weft of carbon filaments is modified (like twisted) when woven.
The first watch that will benefit from this new case is Felipe Massa’s RM 011 Flyback Chronograph. Housing the skeletonized calibre RMAC1, the watch will feature the same functions as its predecessors: a flyback chronograph, an annual calendar with a large date at 12 o’clock and a month window at 4 o’clock. Entirely made of titanium, this movement provides a 55-hour power reserve thanks to a double-barrel system wound by a variable-geometry rotor.