Richard Mille’s new watch reminds you to turn your forehead. A yellow circle, two oval eyes, a wide upturned mouth.
The emoticon, designed by Franklin Loufran a little over 50 years ago, has become an established symbol in the collective consciousness. It represents positivity, joy, and sharing, and has served as a focal point in pop culture for several creative generations. This leadership role was enough for the Richard Mille teams to create an emotionally-driven watch that emphasizes all these values.
All the colourful micro-sculptures on the watch are handmade by the craftsman Oliver Kuhn. A cheerful ensemble is arranged around the central smile motif, which also includes a blooming flower, a rainbow, a golden pineapple and sun rays. Each of them is applied to an additional base plate. But Smiley sits above the rest with a motion bridge with polished corners and drawn edges.
Automatic Tourbillon Winding RM 88 A playful watch called Smiley features a micro-blown yellow-gold smiley face in a three-piece case. The whimsical sculpture is set with a prickly cactus, cocktail and pink flamingo, among others.
To honor and highlight the watch, the watch on the back of the original Smiley over 50 years ago was said to have been three years in the making.
The frame and case of the watch are made of white ATZ ceramic.
The material is made of aluminum oxide powder, which is injected with a pressure of almost 2000 bars. ATZ is known for being one of the hardest materials in the world along with diamonds and is highly scratch resistant. In fact, during the manufacture of the watch, diamond tools were used to carefully create its curved bezel and satin finish.
The RM 88 band is crafted from 18K 5N red gold for a unique contrast.
The eye-catching watch also follows Richard Mille’s other offerings. It is equipped with the watchmaker’s new calibre CRMT7, a skeletonized automatic tourbillon. It runs at 28,800 vph and achieves a power reserve of up to 50 hours.
This finish is also visible on the back of the base plate, which can be seen through the fluted case of the watch. In addition to the watch’s bright yellow strap, the signature indicator on the crown brings the watch together. The Automatic RM 88 Tourbillion is limited to only 50 units.
Around Smiley’s radiant face, the RM 88 automatic Tourbillon Smiley movement is taken over by miniature sculptures that form and renew a surreal scene full of fun and excitement, showing the true mastery of the infinitesimal.
As easy as it looks, creating this ballet was a technical challenge of the highest order. But the dream has now come true, with special attention to detail and perfection, breathing life into a real smile mechanism.
PVD-treated micro-sprayed grade 5 titanium ensures high rigidity of the base plate and bridges, as well as the precise surface smoothness that is essential for perfect transmission performance.
RM 88 automatic Tourbillon Smiley Design
Grade 5 titanium is a biocompatible, highly corrosion-resistant, and extremely stiff alloy that allows the gearbox to function effortlessly.
The alloy is 90% grade 5 titanium, 6% aluminum, and 6% vanadium.
This combination further improves the mechanical properties of the material, which explains its widespread use in the aerospace, aerospace, and automotive industries. The skeletonized base plates and bridges underwent intensive and complete validation tests to optimize their durability.
An impressive micro-blown and painted yellow gold Smiley figure dominates this landscape from the top of a micro-blown ARCAP® material chrome travel bridge with polished corners and patterned edges. It has a greater echo of the rainbow motif and shines with dull reflections thanks to hand-applied lacquers that stand out against the anthracite-rhodium coating.
No effort was spared in the finishing, down to the smallest details of every element on this screen. The cocktail glass consists of four parts, all gold. The umbrella is olive (1.7mm high), 0.4mm fluted straw-all polished-and the glass itself, with its micro-blown base for added coolness, weighs just 0.4g. The golden flower above it is mirror-polished, the petals brushed and rhodium-plated.
It also goes through several processes: its wings are polished and its feathers are traced with a Dégussit flint point; its eye is made with the smallest image tool available; its base is micro-blasted and the grass and water parts are polished. The component gets a metallic red PVD coating before the nose is brushed black.
The pursuit of perfection is always there, evidenced by the green PVD-coated leaves; the micro-blown and polished face of the pineapple; the micro-blown yellow gold spines of the cactus, individually polished to remove the PVD coating; and the sun, micro-blown gold with polished rays. In keeping with watchmaking tradition, all finishing work on the RM 88 Smiley is done by hand.