The RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon reminds us that our intentions are not always pure

August 2015

Mr. E

Richard Mille released its new RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon, a watch that pays tribute to watchmaking history and the creativity of past generations, while also revealing our most secret intentions. Limited to just 30 pieces, it is available exclusively in Richard Mille’s 24 boutiques around the world.

There is a long history of eroticism in watchmaking. Going back centuries, designers have recreated suggestive scenes on timepieces through the use of complications. Because they broke with conservative moral customs and religious thought, watchmakers had to be creative in how they expressed their inner most thoughts mechanically. Like all forbidden love, their pleasure was enjoyed away from prying eyes because they were banned from public use. If found out, the pieces would be confiscated and destroyed. Thus by concealing the complications at the heart of the watches in question, certain models have survived to this day. And they have become highly sought after by collectors given how rare they are.

 The RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon reminds us that our intentions are not always pure

In today’s more permissive environment, love and eroticism can be usually proclaimed proudly and publically. Benefitting from such social freedom, the new Richard Mille RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon does just that, and in plain writing no less.

Like Tibetan prayer wheels, this watch features a mechanism that sets off the rotation of three grade-5 titanium rollers. Each roller is engraved with various phrases that are meant to reveal the hidden intentions of the wearer, like “your lips”, “explore”, “I want to”. These rollers are activated on request by pressing a button at 10 o’clock, which displays a random combination phrase made by the rollers on the dial.

This feat is achieved through Richard Mille’s original “Oracle” complication. Designed in collaboration with Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi, its movement features 505 components and 41 jewels. Like all of the brand’s famous creations, this one is also extremely compact and relatively lightweight, thanks to its unique construction, which enables the tourbillon and barrel to be aligned on the same axis.

 The RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon reminds us that our intentions are not always pure

Having rotating rollers on the dial might complicate things, seeing how usually that real-estate is meant for telling the time rather than proclaiming love. To enhance the legibility of the RM 69, the movement’s engineers developed a mechanism that allows the hands to break free from the gear train. Activating the push-piece at 8 o’clock makes the hands disappear, visually liberating the rollers. Once released, the hands automatically return to where they belong, both in time and space.

Titanium seems to me Richard Mille’s metal of love for this timepiece, implicitly connecting the ideas of strength, durability, love and eroticism. The bridges and plate of the self-winding tourbillon caliber match the rollers, which are also made from grade-5 titanium. The movement, too, is encased in grade-5 titanium, with case dimensions on the large size at 50.00 mm x 42.70 mm x 16.15 mm. Yet, it is still ergonomic and extremely comfortable, as is always the case with Richard Mille timepieces.

And just in case you were wondering, the watch actually gets the “69” in its name from its 69-hour power reserve. This exceptional power reserve, which is displayed in an aperture at 4 o’clock position, is obtained using a simple barrel. That is not just a testament to the brand’s quest for high performance, but it also shows us that endurance matters in the game of love.