Richard Mille RM 61-01 Is The Last Of Its Kind The Beast Bares Its Claws One Last Time… by Rob NuddsJanuary 24, 2020 MIN READRichard Mille RM 61-01 Is The Last Of Its Kind
Richard Mille struck gold when they teamed up with former World Champion, Yohan “The Beast” Blake. But now, the Richard Mille RM 61-01 will be the last of its kind.
Yohan Blake burst onto the scene as Usain Bolt’s charming teammate, winning legions of fans through his affable persona, ferocious alter-ego, and blistering performances on the track. He announced himself on the world stage, winning the 2011 world title in Bolt’s absence. A year after that promising win in Daegu, he buddied-up with Richard Mille. For the London 2012 Olympics, he donned a prototype model while the brand developed its first piece for “mass” consumption.
A sleek and stylish reinterpretation
The RM 59-01 tourbillon was released soon after. The inaugural model created for Blake by Richard Mille placed the claws of his “Beast” character (a nickname given to him by Bolt) on the dial. The stunning visual and memorable color-scheme saw it become one of the brand’s most lauded and recognizable pieces. With just 50 pieces available worldwide (and with a retail price of $620,000, it was a pretty exclusive model).
The Baby Blake…
The Richard Mille RM 61-01 was first launched six years ago in 2014. Its smaller diameter and more digestible colorway earned it the moniker “Baby Blake”. It still had the vibrant green and yellow on the dial, but the case was jet black. A year later, in 2016, a black-cased, black and white-dialed version of the Baby Blake was released. And now, the model has been given the TPT treatment. It is a monochromatic maturation of a concept that was attractive for many reasons besides its striking skin. Retained are the iconic “beast bridges” that have, in the past, brought the dial to life. But this version (as with previous 61-01s) sees the claw-like bridges reduced from four to two, vastly altering the look and feel of the model in comparison to the electrifying RM 59-01.
A full-blooded concept
As cartoonish as the original 59-01 was, it was, at least, a full-blooded concept, brought to life with the kind of verve and vision brand like Richard Mille needs to instill in every model they produce. This iteration seems to me like a watered-down version, barely reminiscent of its forerunner. Beyond his physical prowess, Blake has always been known as a happy, good-natured character. This boyish charm shone through in the RM59-01. Here, in the RM61-01, that impish appeal is usurped by a staid visage. Technically masterful as always, Richard Mille, more than many brands, needs to embrace its bonkers side. Remember last year’s candy shop of novelties? They were ridiculous. But they were ridiculously joyous.
I always defended the “rhubarb and custard” flavor of Rafael Nadal’s Richard Mille…
And who wants a subtle Richard Mille? In a Breitling, for example, such a reduced colorway might strike a chord. But when you’re spending close to seven figures (rather than four), you probably want people to notice. For that reason, I always defended the “rhubarb and custard” flavor of Rafael Nadal’s Richard Mille RM 27-03 and the Yohan Blake 59-01, but I cannot get excited about the aesthetic of the new RM 61-01.
Looks aside, this is exactly what we’ve come to expect from RM over the past few years. A case made from Carbon TPT and Quartz TPT layers is typically trailblazing. Layers of Quartz TPT (no thicker than 45 microns) are interwoven with layers of Carbon TPT. With every layer, the orientation is changed by 45 degrees (increasing the strength of the finished product). This high-tech sandwich is then heated to 120-degrees centigrade while being compressed to a pressure of six bars. These billets (comprising 600 layers) are then machined into the iconic tonneau case shape. The machining process unveils the multi-layered character of the watch, with random patterns coming to the surface.
The movement of the RM 61-01 is in-house (although it would have been hilarious to see them stick a Sellita in this case). Expertly skeletonized, the grade 5 titanium bridges and plates are further darkened by a PVD treatment. An operating frequency of 4Hz and a power reserve of 55 hours do little to distinguish this watch from the masses.
The Richard Mille RM 61-01 is shock tested to withstand impacts over 5,000Gs.
It is a particularly good choice for anyone who is likely to sustain immense shocks on regularly because the Richard Mille RM 61-01 is shock tested to withstand impacts over 5,000Gs. There will only be 150 pieces available, so you better don your sprinting spikes if you want to snare one for yourself. Prices for the Baby Blake tend to be around €125,000, but the TPT case may push that number up. If you desperately want to add the RM 61-01 to your collection, now is the time to do it: This model will be the last in the family, bringing its six-year run to an end. Check out the brand here.
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About the author
Rob’s first exposure to the watch industry was a part-time retail role for the Signet Group at the age of 17. An obsession with watches soon developed. Following an ill-advised BSc in Archaeological Science, he applied for sponsorship to undertake… read more
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