The race for ultra-thin watches has been running pretty hot over the last few years, with near-constant jockeying from fan favorites Bulgari and Piaget. These two brands seemed very much like the incumbents until today, when, out of nowhere, Richard Mille, backed by the power of Ferrari, smashed through the competition with its debut entry, the RM UP – 01 Fighting for the Last Hundredths.
The Low down
First of all, there’s a lot going on here. But let’s break it down into some raw data before we talk about what it means. The RM UP – 01 has a total thickness of 1.75mm and a caliber thickness of 1.18mm. Compare this to the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra, announced a few months ago, which measures 1.8mm, and the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept (from 2020), which measures 2.00mm thin.
Already, this Richard Mille is living up to its name, making those last few hundredths of a millimetre matter. What’s even more interesting is how they got there. Aside from how incredibly slender this watch is, it is technically eyebrow-raising that they managed to do it by making a separate caliber and case, rather than integrating the baseplate into the back of the movement. What’s also impressive — though not entirely unexpected given the insane scale they’re working on — is the new escapement. Patented, of course. This escapement, built, like the rest of the watch, from titanium, features a variable inertia balance wheel and ditched the balance and dart — two elements that added thickness — in favor of “anti-reversal elements with an elongated fork [and] new horns.” Technique aside, it’s remarkable how sturdy this caliber is, on paper at least. It offers 45 hours of power reserve and more than 5000 g of acceleration, and 10 meters of water resistance. The flat, mostly solid titanium ‘face’ of the watch has a distinctly Richard Mille shape and aesthetic, is wound by a special key in the bottom left, and has a function selector (winding or time-setting) in the top left. Ferrari’s prancing pony sits proudly in the bottom right.
There’s a lot that is exciting about this watch. First of all, the sheer novelty of it. Richard Mille possesses a skill set well-suited to the ultra-thin race, but they’ve been quiet about it, resulting in a jaw-droppingly spectacular debut. The caliber separate from the case is also an impressive feat, and I’m willing to bet we’re going to see some absolutely wild case iterations of this model in years to come. Finally, Ferrari. A lot of people were excited to see where the partnership between two legendary players in their respective fields would end up, and the Richard Mille UP – 01 Fighting for the Last Hundredths more than lives up to the hype. We can’t wait to see this watch actually worn in the cockpit and on the podium.
Movement: RMUP-01, 1.18mm thin, manual, power reserve of 45 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, function selector
Case: Grade 5 titanium, 51mm x 39mm x 1.75mm, water-resistant to 10M
Strap: Black, rubber and synthetic materials
Price and availability: USD 1,888,000; Limited to 150 pieces