Alonso’s $1m Collab With Richard Mille Is Absolutely Stunning

Credit: Richard Mille

A fateful conversation between Fernando Alonso and Richard Mille led to the creation of the brilliant RM 47.

Did you know that two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso is a big enthusiast of Japanese traditional arts and Samurai principles (bushido)? Does that make Alonso a weeb? I don’t think so because how many weebs have had a hand in the creation of something so beautiful? Maybe a few I don’t know.

Since Alonso’s conversation with Richard Mille it took four years to create the Samurai watch and it was worth every second in my opinion.

A statement from Richard Mille reads,

“Between sword and chisel, between the cutting edge of the blade and the incisions defined by the precision of the engraver’s technique, there are many parallels to evoke the similarities between the qualities of these warriors and those demanded by our artistic crafts.”

Credit: Richard Mille

The background around this watch actually makes it even more interesting. The watch itself is a tribute to the Asano family who originated from Hiroshima whose most famous member was the daimyo, Asano Naganori. This man was the lord of the 47 rōnin who avenged their master’s honour after Asano was forced to commit seppuku for assaulting a court official. The 47 rōnin planned for a year and managed to kill the official and then committed seppuku themselves for the crime of murder.

You can see the Asano family kamon on tourbillon at 6 o’clock. A kamon was a heraldric sign each samurai clan featured (kind of like a coat of arms or sigils in Game of Thrones). This kamon featured two crossed falcon feathers.

Onto the watch itself.

The RM 47

Credit: Richard Mille

The baseplate and bridges are made with grade 5 titanium. This titanium is biocompatible meaning that is corrosion resistant and rigid, so your gross wrist sweat won’t ruin the watch over time. In more mechanical terms, this alloy allows the gear train to function smoothly. The alloy is 90% titanium, 6% aluminium, and 4% vanadium.  

The samurai armour (which looks sick btw) was crafted from 3N yellow gold and is completely hand-engraved by Pierre-Alain Lozeron. Not only is the armour decorative but also acts as protection for the movement. It took 16 hours of engraving to make up the 11 components that make up the armour. After the engraving, Lozeron’s wife then begins the micro painting press. The challenge here is to ensure that the paint and the engraving enhance one another which is a feat easier said than done once you realise the amount of technical work that goes on. For example, if the paint is insufficiently translucent, the colour would actually cover up the detail of the engraving. But if it’s too light, it would reduce the depth the paint is supposed to accentuate.

Credit: Richard Mille

The RM47 calibre features a free-sprung balance with variable inertia. This is a balance wheel that guarantees greater reliability when you bonk the watch or disassemble the movement, providing greater chronometric results over time.

The case and bezel are TZP black ceramic. This material is highly scratch-resistant. It’s a long and difficult process to machine and grind the material using diamond tools to create the complex forms of the case and bezel. To add the final touch, the caseband is made of 18k 3N yellow gold.

Naturally this watch will see a limited release of just 75 pieces and is estimated to have a cost of $1 million USD.

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