There is a new winner in the never-ending race to create the world’s thinnest mechanical wristwatch. While the competition in recent times has largely been between the Italian luxe brand Bulgari and the Swiss watchmaker Piaget, the crown this time has gone to a different Swiss brand, Richard Mille, which partnered with Italian supercar specialist Ferrari to create the RM UP-01 Ferrari that was unveiled last week.
With a thickness of just 1.75 mm, this minimalist masterpiece is .05 mm smaller than the Octo Finissimo Ultra that Bulgari had launched in March this year. The latter had grabbed the title from the 2mm thick Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept, which launched in 2020.
Richard Mille is famous for ‘tonneau’ or barrel shaped watches, and RM UP-01 Ferrari is no different, with a titanium case of dimension 51mm x 39mm x 1.75mm. And unlike the Bulgari and Piaget ultra-thin watches, where the caseback doubles up as the movement baseplate on which the components are mounted, the RM-Ferrari watch has a conventional caseback with the movement inside the case.
At 1.18 mm, Calibre RMUP-01, the movement that powers the watch is incredibly thin. Developed by Richard Mille in association with the Swiss movement maker Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi, it has an ultra-flat escapement system, with skeletonised movement plates and bridges. Despite its size, it still delivers a power reserve of 45 hours. And in keeping with Ferrari’s involvement with the development of the watch the movement has been tested to withstand up to 5,000 g of acceleration.
Like the Bulgari and Piaget watches, Richard Mille has also reimagined the dial. It is effectively a large bezel with a sub-dial that indicates hours, minutes and seconds. The traditional winding stem has been eliminated in favour of two crowns integrated into the front of the case case, one for function selection and the other to utilise the selected function.
Another impressive number is the timepiece’s astronomical price. Only 150 limited edition pieces are to be produced, but each will cost a staggering $1.88 million. That’s about the value of a modestly sized garage packed end-to-end with Ferrari supercars. Not surprisingly, the brand has roped in Ferrari F1 team drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz — both of whom have had a whirlwind season this year — to model the watch.
This isn’t a watch as much as it is a statement, a pricey expression of Richard Mille’s prowess as a watchmaker, and Ferrari’s engineering expertise.
(Featured Image Credits: Richard Mille)