Watches: Richard Mille RM 011 Flyback Chronograph Yellow Storm

By Thierry Ané on January 6, 2015

When it comes to innovative materials and unheard-of technologies applied to watchmaking, no Swiss watch manufacture can outperform Richard Mille. This niche luxury brand made a name for itself with a revolutionary approach to the old art of Fine Watchmaking and opened the door to a new type of products expressing the very best of Horology with the help of what the twenty first century can offer from a technical and aesthetic standpoint.

One of the latest (and already copied) innovations from this impressive Maison is the use of a new type of material for the case of the watch: North Thin Ply Technology carbon, or NTPT carbon in short. This new version of carbon fibre material, originally developed for the sails of racing yachts, represents a true revolution in the world of laminate composites with its significantly improved mechanical properties and has quickly found its way into Formula One car chassis and into the fuselage of the future Solar Impulse 2 aircraft before being used in watchmaking.

To be technical for one second, the main advantage of this material composed of multiple layers of parallel filaments obtained by dividing carbon fibres is that the manufacturing process allows positioning each microfiber optimally for its intended use, with no limitation to angle, area or thickness! This must come in handy when producing complex watch cases like the tonneau-shaped models produced by Richard Mille.

But this new material is also good news for all the watch enthusiasts that are more sensitive to the aesthetic aspects of a timepiece. Indeed, this newcomer in the carbon family provides a unique and immediately identifiable texture unlike any other carbon fibres or forged carbon composites. 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 very first model to benefit from this innovative material was the RM 011 NTPT Carbon that I reviewed in November 2013Watches: Richard Mille RM 011 Flyback Chronograph NTPT Carbon and since then, the brand has used this appealing material only for the RM 035-01 Rafael Nadal and the RM 050-01 Lotus F1 Team Romain Grosjean presented at the SIHH 2014 and both included in my coverage of the 2014 collectionWatches: Richard Mille 2014 Collection.

Now, the brand is treating one of its most important markets, North America, with a special boutique edition proudly showcasing this amazing material on its bezel. The RM 011 Yellow Storm will be limited to just 50 pieces sold exclusively through the American boutique network and I strongly encourage all watch lovers to stop on Via Rodeo in Beverly Hills on their next trip to Los Angeles to see it in person at the superb mono-brand boutique opened there by Westime.

The model selected for this special edition hardly needs introduction: the RM 011 is arguably one of the most iconic watches presented by Richard Mille. Immediately recognisable with its 50.00 x 40.00 mm tonneau-shaped case and skeletonized dial, the watch boasts some of the finest (and useful) watchmaking complications. It features a chronograph with a flyback function as well as an annual calendar with a large date at noon and a more discreet month indication at 4:30.

In its Yellow Storm version, the RM 011 dares abundant touches of bright yellow for the rubber strap secured by a DLC titanium buckle, the crown ring, the inner flange with tachymeter scale and all the dial and chronograph indications as well as the Super-LumiNova on the hours and minutes hands. The visual contrast between the greyish wood-like texture of the NTPT and the intensity of the yellow parts is extremely appealing and totally “Richard Mille”.

If you are interested, don’t wait too long as I would not be surprised to see this model sell out extremely quickly…

For more information please visit the Richard Mille web site.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: