The phenomenon of Richard Mille is as deep as it is widespread. There’s an enormous amount of appeal for virtually anything coming out of the Richard Mille atelier, and thus it’s quite difficult to pin-point a timepiece that stands out. One that does, however, is the RM 011 NTPT Lotus F1, a piece made for Formula One driver, Romain Grosjean. But this is no ordinary watch made for no ordinary athlete. No, the RM 011 NTPT Lotus F1 was made for a specific purpose: To be tested and exposed to the rigors of an intense Formula One race, where speeds regularly exceed the 300km/h mark, all while being worn on the outside of Romain Grosjean’s racing suit. Let’s take a look at what makes the Richard Mille RM 011 NTPT Lotus F1 so special.
For starters, its 50mm long and 40mm wide case is made up of a material known as NTPT. This is an exclusive material made solely for Richard Mille. It’s made up of more than 600-layers of carbon fibre, which are then glued together with a special resin. NTPT is notoriously difficult to work with, but the end result speaks for itself. Light as a feather, and with a bezel that is basically corrosion-proof, the Richard Mille RM 011 NTPT Lotus F1’s case is an absolute work of art. It’s rigid and resistant to impacts, virtually scratch-proof, and features a wonderful grainy pattern not that dissimilar to a wood-grain.
The darkness of the NTPT carbon case is contrasted beautifully by the gold chronograph pushers and brackets, as well as the red crown, also tipped in gold. This play on colours extends to the openworked dial, too. The hour numerals and central aspect of the centre-stack of hands have the same gold-hued colour. The model name of the watch, Romain Grosjean’s insigna below it, and the Lotus F1 Team’s inscription at 12 o’clock are all clad in gold, too.
The dial, whilst quite busy, is super legible. There’s a clear distinction between the Richard Mille RM 011 NTPT Lotus F1’s functions, and the traditional layout of the chronograph enables wearers of even the most traditional of watches to grow accustomed to the avant-garde and ultra-contemporary persona of the RM 011 NTPT Lotus F1.
No Richard Mille is complete without an equally as insane mechanism powering the beast. In the case of the RM 011 NTPT Lotus F1, the RMAC1 has been given the duty of continuing this streak of perfection. This is an automatic movement that is simply divine. Basically fully visible from the front and the back with thanks to its extensive skeletonisation (which also includes a skeletonised rotor), the RMAC1 features PVD-treated titanium throughout, along with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a movement inside of a watch of this calibre. You have the passing hours, minutes and seconds, along with a flyback chronograph, an annual calendar and a 50-hour power reserve. This is a beautiful movement well befitting of a watch of this level.
The Richard Mille RM 011 NTPT Lotus F1 is a beast of a watch, both figuratively and literally. I find it difficult to fault the watch, and as a lover of all things horology, I can state, definitively, that the RM 011 NTPT Lotus F1 is perhaps one of the most impressive pieces to come out of the Richard Mille atelier when we’re talking about holistic watchmaking. Pricing is slightly ambiguous with respect to the Richard Mille RM 011 NTPT Lotus F1 being discontinued, but you can expect to pay somewhere in the region of $200,000USD if you manage to locate one.
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