Richard Mille’s latest creation named RM47 Tourbillon is an artistic tribute to the Japanese culture and its samurai heritage. The beautiful timepiece with intricate craftsmanship was created in partnership with two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso. In fact, it was during a conversation with the brand’s founder Richard Mille that Alonso’s enthusiasm for Japanese traditional arts and the Samurai principles ended up spawning the idea for the project. It took Richard Mille nearly four years to take the project from the ideation phase to completion, which required collaboration with some of the best horologists and craftsmen. The ornate skeletonized dial of the watch celebrates the Bushido spirit by paying homage to one of the most famous moments in Japanese history – the Forty-Seven Ronin incident when a band of samurai avenged the death of their master, Asano Naganori.
The new RM47 Tourbillon features a gold samurai armor and a pair of swords on the dial that is painstakingly hand-carved and painted by husband-and-wife team Pierre-Alain and Valérie Lozeron. “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,” said Pierre-Alain Lozeron. According to Richard Mille, the engraving work on each piece takes 16 hours, which is then followed by nine hours of hand-painting.
Richard Mille had to use an extremely compact caliber for the watch that was specially designed to make room for the samurai suit. The tourbillon bears the Asano clan’s heraldic Kamon of two crossed falcon feathers at the six o’clock position. In addition to that, the winding crown features another key Japanese symbol, the maple leaf. The baseplate and skeletonized bridges are made of Grade 5 titanium with a black PVD treatment. The movement is housed inside a tonneau-shaped case that features a three-piece construction consisting of a 3N yellow gold caseband attached with a black TZP ceramic bezel and caseback. Limited to 75 pieces, the RM47 Tourbillon is available for purchase with a price tag that converts to around $1.04 million.