On the occasion of the RM72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph launch, Benjamin Millepied & Thomas Roussel, two hybrid artists, have collaborated with the brand in a primal desert encounter to produce W I T H I N
Richard Mille’s RM 72-01 is a new kind of hybrid timepiece; the intersection of art and technology, a ‘metronome of the emotions’, all curves, warm colours and carefully detailed scale. It is also the first watch in the history of Richard Mille to be equipped with a patented flyback chronograph with oscillating double pinions that is entirely produced designed, crafted and assembled at the brand’s workshops in Les Breuleux, Switzerland.
Available in four versions—5N gold, titanium and white or black ceramic, this highly-architectural, grade 5 titanium model is a distillation of the maker’s pure mechanics and hand-crafted finishing. Driven by the in-house Calibre CRMC1, automatic winding movement with a 50 hours power reserve, its crown—in 5N gold and black TZP ceramic—is pulled to reveal a function indicator offering a choice of winding (W), time setting (H) date adjustment (D). Two pushers require the exact same force to activate the various different functions—start, stop and return to zero, whilst in flyback mode or not. The exact pressure required determined to the very last gram, so ensure engagement of the mechanism is distinct, yet gentle.
Behind the music composition with Thomas Roussel
The display, and the connection between the minutes and hours, are decoupled from the seconds wheel with counters for 24 hours and 60 minutes positioned at 5 o’clock and 2 o’clock respectively. By demonstrating that a chronograph is not just for counting short periods of time, this is a watch, explains Richard Mille, that “sets its own tempo, imposes its own rhythm. Every component is interlinked and plays its part, choreographed to the last micrometre, to make an indelible mark on its era.”
To capture the spirit, aesthetics and mechanics of this extraordinary timepiece on film Richard Mille turned to two modern hybrid artists - dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied and composer Thomas Roussel – to make a short film. With the elegant methods of dance and the creative process of watchmaking, both sharing an obsession with achieving harmonious movement and meticulous tuning - the same actions repeated a hundred times to produce the perfect gesture, the film chose the Joshua Tree desert “an endless uncluttered, mineral environment…a landscape, out of time” for its location.
‘Every component is interlinked and plays its part, choreographed to the last micrometre, to make an indelible mark on its era.’
Benjamin Millepied, international choreographer, creator of the ballets for the film Black Swan, the former head of the Paris Opera and the founder of the LA Dance Project, behind the camera for the project, encouraged raw human energy to express itself with male and female dancers, demonstrate their natural vitality in an unstructured and organic pas-de-deux, the dancers follow a parallel, cyclical choreography that counts every second, and expresses time and space in an intense, life-affirming way.
The desert environment was similarly inspirational for composer Thomas Roussel. Known for his metaphysically inspired work - in 2015, his Prequell composition set gravitational waves to music, representing the distortion of time, the music for Richard Mille film project drew on a space-time theme also. “I created music where time dilates and duplicates itself, ” explains Roussel. Starting from a sample of the watch’s stopwatch, the composer injects a tempo, that matches the energy of the dancers. Around a “tourbillon of vigour”, Roussel winds a repeating, mysterious piece of primordial music. The percussion keeps the beat as if counting seconds. This collective work, explains the collective of artists and watchmakers, is “a return to a time when the core elements of earth, stone and water provided the cradle of humanity…the RM 72-01 embodying this movement of origins, this fusion of human bodies, sounds and time.”
Benjamin Millepied portrait : Robert Jaso
Thomas Roussel portrait : Mathieu César
W I T H I N film and hero shots : Melissa Roldan