The Richard Mille RM011 Felipe Massa Flyback Chronograph is a watch which has quite possibly become more famous than the racing driver for whom it was named. Originally introduced in 2008 when the Brazilian racing driver was at his peak and having a tremendous tussle with Lewis Hamilton for the F1 World Championship, for some reason Richard Mille poured more love and care into this than almost any other watch he has created, and for this reason it has become a collectors classic which continues to be revisited by Richard Mille each year. More than any watch it somehow manages to instill all the high-tech drama and passion of the sport it represents.
That’s why it is widely considered by RM aficionados to be the single hottest RM in the world and of course it also happens to be available only in very limited quantities.
Earlier this year, keen movie buffs may have spotted the watch on the wrist of action star and watch lover Jason Statham in one of his most recent outings, Parker. While Statham’s adopted Texan accent in the movie probably wasn’t under research and development for a year, the Richard Mille RM011 Felipe Massa most certainly was. The watch underwent sixty-eight different stamping operations for the three main components (bezel, middle section and case back). The machine tooling process alone required 8 days of adjustment for the bezel, 5 days for the middle section and 5 days for the case back.
Then the casting of each case involves fully 202 separate machining operations. The design and execution of the watch has been engineered to the kind of rigorous standards one would expect of a Formula 1 car. For these reasons it is a Richard Mille masterpiece of precision and style.
The watch has been designed in a range of casings including white gold, rose gold and titanium with a skeletonised dial face. Powered by an RM 011-S movement, the watch has a 55 hour power reserve, while its automatic winding movement is capable of a chronograph function, annual calendar, 60-minute countdown timer, and more. By using the pusher between 4 and 5 o’clock, the running chronograph can be reset without first having to stop the mechanism.
It’s a lot of watch as the dimensions are 50mm by 40mm. It runs on a calibre RM011 in-house movement, and was specially made for Felipe Massa by Richard Mille, how nice to have a master watchmaker for a friend. This year, as Massa leaves Ferrari, we can but wonder if there will be a limited edition Massa/Ferrari tribute watch of some kind from Richard Mille. But even if that is not the case, while at 32, Massa’s best driving years are probably left behind on the racing circuit, he still has the Richard Mille RM011 named after him.
While Massa is yet to find a drive for next season, the watch that bears his name continues to be released in new versions. The eye catch RM011-S was launched earlier this year. This new version features an annual calendar function which means no adjustment is needed for 30 or 31 day months (only February due to its 28 days needs to be manually adjusted). The date is prominently displayed in an oversized aperture at 12 o’clock. The month is displayed by Arabic numerals in an aperture that sits at a 45-degree angle between 4 and 5 o’clock.
Richard Mille used carbon fibre for the watch, a material also used in racing cars, it’s employed on the hour and minute tracks, and the index dots are filled with luminous material.The chronograph function enables the wearer to start or stop the chronograph via the pusher located between 1 and 2 o’clock, and its flyback complication allows it to be continuously reset without stopping the chronograph simply by pushing the second button located between 4 and 5 o’clock.
Richard Mille RM011 Pricing
A much loved and admired RM model, the new version retails for around $133,000, while older version can be picked up at reputable online watch dealers for around $70,000. Click-here to download official Richard Mille RM011 Technical Specification in .PDF.
More resources about the Richard Mille RM011 on the Official Richard Mille Website.