Following up on its RM 052 Tourbillon Skull from 2012, Richard Mille is introducing a masked face on the new RM 52-06 Tourbillon. The watchmaker says the figure can be interpreted as anything from a kabuki mask or a superhero to a gladiator helmet, but we think it looks more like Marvel’s The Punisher. Either way, it’s a departure from the now cliché skull symbol that’s become popular with many watch and fashion brands over the years—and it also comes with the kind of mechanics that set it apart from its skeletal competitors.
The mask, which comes in PVD-treated grade 5 titanium or white gold, is fully integrated with the movement. It acts as a wheel train and tourbillon bridge, while the back acts as the center bridge. The back of the mask has been micro-blasted and polished with an anglage technique to emphasize its shape. On the front, just like the RM 052, the tourbillon beats just below the mouth where a ruby jewel accents the center of the cage. The skeleton baseplate has eight arms, machined from one block of grade 5 titanium, that anchor the mask and movement to the 49.94 mm by 42 mm by 16.15 mm case.
The case, of course, is made from Richard Mille’s proprietary materials with Thin North Ply Technology—Carbon TPT, for the model shown here, as well as Quartz TPT for color-rich versions of the watch that haven’t been released yet. Mille famously introduced Carbon TPT to his watchmaking back in 2013 on the RM 011 and later developed Quartz TPT, a more flexible version of the material, for the RM 27-02 Rafael Nadal Tourbillon. The North Thin Ply Technology company, which develops TPT materials for Richard Mille, initially created TPT for the sails of racing yachts, and it has since been used in aeronautics, golf and Formula 1 racing for its sturdiness and light weight.
The latest version of this watch is priced almost $200,000 more than its 7-year-old predecessor. When the RM 052 debuted at SIHH in 2012 it was limited to 21 pieces, 15 in titanium and six unique pieces in rose or white gold, and retailed for $500,000. There will be four sets of the RM 52-06, each containing 18 pieces which start at $698,000. The watch will only be available in the Americas.