All smiles for fans of Richard Mille as their favourite timepiece brand releases its latest intricate masterpiece, the RM 88 Automatic Winding Tourbillon Smiley. This timepiece was inspired by Franklin Loufrani’s symbolic drawing, The Smiley. For the past five decades, The Smiley has been the embodiment of joy, sharing and positivity. Its symbolic representation can be traced across several generations of pop culture.
The precision and complexity of this timepiece are seen down to the tiniest detail of each element in its display. Micro-blasted and painted in yellow gold, the Smiley is placed atop the additional motion-work bridge in microblasted ARCAP® with polished anglage and drawn edges. Through hand-applied varnishes, this watch features a rainbow motif gleaming with faint reflections contrasting with its anthracite-coloured rhodium plating. The cocktail glass is an assembly of four parts, all in gold.
Its baseplate and bridges are made of grade 5 titanium, a highly corrosion-resistant and remarkably rigid alloy, allowing the gear train to function effortlessly. This grade of titanium is frequently used in aerospace, aeronautics and automotive industries. The baseplate and bridges were put through intensive validation tests to optimise their resistance capacities.
Detailed by hand, the meticulous finishes of the RM 88 are visible in the green PVD-coated leaves, the microblasted and polished surface of the pineapple, the spines of the cactus which have been microblasted in yellow and polished one by one, and the sun with microblasted gold and polished rays. A timepiece of exquisite perfection.
The design and execution demonstrate a holistic approach to the conception of the movement and case. Everything has been constructed according to specialised specifications. For example, a casing ring is excluded and the movement is mounted on chassis mounting rubbers (ISO SW) fixed by titanium screws. The bezel and caseback are in ATZ white ceramic, known for its high scratch resistance and unchanging colours. It is one of the hardest materials in the world, long and rigorous machining using diamond tools is required to create these complex, curved bezels and satin finish.
This timepiece includes a 3N yellow gold rotor with OneWay® winding system and ceramic ball bearings, a 18K 5N red gold caseband. The tripartite case has a water resistance of 50 metres, secured by two Nitrile O-ring seals. The case is assembled with 12 grade 5 titanium spline screws and abrasion-resistant washers.
The RM 88 runs on its in-house CRMT7 calibre and is skeletonised with an automatic winding tourbillon movement with hours, minutes and function indicator in a power reserve of 50 hours (± 10%).
There are only 50 pieces of this limited-edition Richard Mille ever made.
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