Following extensive discussions with Alain Prost and other cyclists, Richard Mille realised that many of them would be hard-pressed to say how many kilometres they had ridden since the beginning of any given season. The RM 70-01 Alain Prost’s never-before-seen totaliser remedies this by simply displaying the overall distance travelled. The pusher at two o’clock can select any of the five rollers of the odometer, whose readout is visible in a titanium window. Once a roller is selected, pressing the pusher located at 10 o’clock advances the roller by one. The only effort required is for the user to add the day’s distance to the prior total.
The mechanism itself, however, is much more complicated. The first pusher activates the selection of a roller — one of the five. Execution is confirmed by the perfect alignment of two yellow arrows. The second pusher incrementally rotates the roller, which automatically blocks, thanks to the carry mechanism. To avoid accidental manipulations, the complication has been fitted with a neutral position (N). Due to a spring-lock, the selection fork will be lined up straight, with an arrow at two o’clock pointing to N as visual confirmation that the mechanism is locked.
Equipped with a 70-hour power reserve — visible at five o’clock, thanks to an indicator powered by a planetary differential — this manual winding tourbillon calibre sports a baseplate and bridges in grade 5 titanium. This material enables the calibre to withstand the roughest of trails with ease. Nods to the realm of cycling abound, from the titanium Allen screws that fix the bridges to the barrel ratchet, which recalls the design of forged wheel spokes, to say nothing of the tourbillon cage and dynamometric crown — evocative of a bicycle’s pedal.
The beautifully finished movement possesses tremendous, almost vertiginous depth. Both its vertical architecture — which lines up the barrel and tourbillon along a single axis — and its compact size were essential because of how much space the odometer occupies within the case. Machined out of Carbon TPT, it perfectly combines tonneau, rectangular and asymmetrical shapes. Taut and curved, its unique lines not only ensure the greatest possible comfort when worn on the right wrist but also optimise legibility of the time when gripping a cycle’s handlebars.
As always at Richard Mille, function dictates form. In order that they may fully enjoy the dynamic and mechanical qualities of the RM 70-01, each buyer will receive as a gift their very own bespoke road cycle. Developed in partnership with the prestigious Italian bicycle-maker Colnago, these individually numbered bicycles are handmade and painted in the watchmaking brand’s colours.
For more information about the inspiration behind the watch, read our cover story here.