Richard Mille has consistently pushed the boundaries of ultra-high-end luxury watchmaking by using and creating new watch materials. With the launch of their latest watch, the RM 11-05 Automatic Flyback Chronograph GMT, the Swiss watchmaking house has debuted one of their most exciting materials yet: a brand new material called grey Cermet.
Richard Mille created grey Cermet in partnership with the IMI Group. It took their teams years to create this innovative new material, which is as lightweight as titanium, yet almost as hard as a diamond. These unique properties are due to the composition of grey Cermet, which is made from a metallic zirconium matrix that has been combined with high performance ceramic.
According to Richard Mille, grey Cermet is “the fruit of painstaking research conducted by the brand, which is unrelenting in its commitment to the creation of new materials.” Figuring out how to combine zirconium and ceramic in a homogenous manner proved challenging, particularly because Richard Mille did not want to use nickel or cobalt in their design. Nickel and cobalt are commonly used to create cermet, but they do not conform to REACH Standards. Richard Mille was able to create their homogenous grey Cermet without either or these materials by using a process in which their ceramic infused zirconium matrix is hot stamped with electrical currents. This process results in an attractive grey cermet material that is less dense than titanium and ranks at 2,360 Vickers in hardness, very close to the diamond’s ranking of 2,400 Vickers.
Grey Cermet is exclusive to Richard Mille and is currently featured only in their new RM 11-05 Automatic Flyback Chronograph GMT. This new timepiece’s bezel is crafted from the highly scratch resistant grey Cermet. Richard Mille’s new material joins a variety of advanced, high performance materials that make up the RM 11-05’s case. This model features a caseback crafted from grade 5 titanium and a caseband made of Carbon TPT.
The Richard Mille RM 11-05 Automatic Flyback Chronograph GMT may be most notable for its innovative new bezel, but it also boasts a variety of impressive design elements and functionalities. The RM 11-05’s case features two Nitrile O-ring seals, 20 titanium spline screws, and 316L stainless steel washers, all of which contribute to the watch’s 50 metre water resistance. Richard Mille’s new watch also features a free-sprung balance wheel with variable inertia, a double barrel system, a variable geometry rotor, a 50 hour power reserve, and the new automatic calibre RMAC3, which powers several complications. The RM 11-05 features a flyback chronograph, an annual calendar, and a second time zone indicator.
In terms of aesthetic appeal, the RM 11-05 Automatic Flyback Chronograph GMT has a look that is at once futuristic, sporty, and luxurious. The model’s grey Cermet material features a brushed finish that provides the watch with a high tech look, while the watch’s colorway ensures it’s utterly sporty. The RM 11-05 features a light blue strap and light blue and orange accents on the watch’s dial, crown, pushers, flange, case, and strap. These playful colors are very reminiscent of iconic Gulf race cars, a likely inspiration for the brand’s founder Richard Mille. The watchmaker has often stated that a large part of his inspiration comes from racing cars and the study of shock resistance.
The Richard Mille RM 11-05 Automatic Flyback Chronograph GMT is a limited edition watch that has been made in extremely limited quantities. Only 140 pieces have been made. The RM 11-05 is priced at $215,000 and is available as of July 2020.