Tipping its cap to a true gentleman’s sport, Richard Mille collaborated with Pablo Mac Donough, one of best polo players in the world, to create the RM 53-01 Tourbillon.
Polo, unlike any other team sport calls on the player to synergise, not just with his teammates, but also with his mount. Human and equine, both species must work as one. Often hailed as a gentleman’s sport, polo requires a combination of strength, precision and speed that earns it a high level of respect in the sporting world. Richard Mille pays homage to these fine skills with its RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough.
The watch is a tribute to one of the finest polo players of the world – Pablo Mac Donough, and keeping with the demands of the game, is built to withstand violent blows. Sportsmen generally find wearing watches cumbersome while playing, and the watchmaker has, with the RM 53-01 successfully devised an ergonomic and lightweight watch that can also meet the rigourous requirements of the sport.
RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough
When the tough gets going…
If Pablo has to wear a watch on the polo field, the timepiece should have armour-like strength. If the numerous injuries Pablo has sustained during his career are any indication, no ordinary watch can stand-up to the pressure on the field. Richard Mille has invested years researching how to create a timepiece that is both aesthetically superior and can still survive crushing shocks. The maison’s expertise and reputation for excellence has resulted in a beautiful, yet exceptionally tough watch, shock resistant up to 5000 Gs.
“Polo is a dangerous sport, and hard knocks are a regular occurrence. It’s a very elegant game, but also a contact sport,” explains Richard Mille. “Given that Pablo has sustained a large number of fractures in the course of his career, I asked our teams to come up with a watch that could resist the many types of shocks arising in a polo match, whilst leaving the movement visible.” designing a solid watch with visible calibre became the goal of the RM team.
Of the many obstacles faced during the creative process, replacing the glass was particularly challenging, as regular glass would be unable to offer the required resistance. Engineers for the brand collaborated with Stettler, a world-renowned sapphire specialist, coming up with a laminated glass, a first for the horological industry. The glass comprises two sheets of sapphire glass separated by a thin Polyvinyl film and will crack, but not shatter even when struck directly with the strongest blow of a mallet.The laminated glass also has anti-reflective and UV coatings and has been exclusively patented by Richard Mille.
The RM 53-01 also features the use of Carbon TPT®. This tough material is is known for its resistance to micro-cracks and tears. The characteristic damascene sheen of Carbon TPT® and the sharp lines of the case add to the sporty look of the watch.
Another impediment in making a watch suitable for a polo player, was with the tourbillon, as this delicate element is normally unable to withstand a shock. Compensating for the multitude of shocks received on the polo field was achieved through a cable-suspended movement. The first, or ‘peripheral’ baseplate, is fixed to the case and supports the tensioner mechanisms. The second, or ‘central’ baseplate, is linked to the peripheral baseplate by cables. The movement incorporates the wheels comprising the calibre and the winding mechanism. The suspended movement and the use of grade 5 titanium add to its stiffness, while ensuring optimal shock protection.
The RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough is a limited edition of 30 pieces in Carbon TPT®. Its black body accentuated with aqua blue details houses an impeccable architecture. We can already see polo players, lovers of the sport and fans of the watch’s inspiration, Pablo himself, vying to try out this unique piece.