Swiss luxury watch brand Richard Mille has unveiled a new creative and super-technological timepiece: the RM 88 Automatic Tourbillon Smiley.
In 1963, a man named Harvey Ball painted the famous yellow smiling face. Smiley, founded by Franklin Lufrani, was licensed to use the drawing in 1972 and now owns the rights to it in more than 100 countries. Smiley has licensed and collaborated with companies such as Dior, Fendi, Reebok, Champion and many others, including Richard Mille. As surprising as it may sound, but the model is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the patent for the use of this emoticon.
The golden emoji is definitely the centerpiece of the piece, but there’s a lot going on on the watch face. The new in-house automatic caliber CRMT7, which took three years to develop, is hidden behind small fluffy clouds. Unlike most skeletonized watches, the movement did not become a central visual feature. RM has developed a new skeletonized movement that leaves enough room for all the tiny gold sculptures engraver Olivier Kuhn has created. There is a ladybug, a cactus, an umbrella, a pineapple, a rainbow here.
This RM is as three-dimensional as it gets. Each “sculpture” is finished by hand. Microblasted pineapple has tiny green leaves coated with PVD. The spines of the cactus were polished by hand one by one to remove the PVD coating. The flamingo eye is set using the world’s smallest beading tool.
The figurines are mounted on a base board and fixed using different types of fasteners. They are angled to allow the wearer to see as much of the surface as possible, and also to ensure that each component remains truly three-dimensional. The Smiley itself is assembled on a decorative bridge covered with iridescent lacquer, giving the impression that it is floating above the mechanism.
A small seconds hand adorned with a sun at one end and a lightning bolt at the other, making one revolution around the cloud per minute, and a 3 o’clock function indicator showing the position of the extended crown – winding (W) and time setting (H). Power reserve of about 50 hours.
The transparent case back reveals a lightning-shaped rear bridge made of grade 5 titanium and an oscillating sun-shaped rotor made of 3N yellow gold. All of this is housed in an ATZ (Zirconium Oxide Reinforced Aluminum) white ceramic and red gold case. The yellow fabric strap fastens with Velcro.