The RM 011 and its successor models are, without a doubt, some of the most popular watches from Swiss luxury manufacturer Richard Mille. The RM 011 first debuted in 2007 and resulted from the company’s collaboration with Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa. Massa wanted to build a watch that could withstand the extreme conditions of an F1 racetrack. The result was a high-tech chronograph that remains one of the most robust watches ever made.
The Richard Mille RM 011
There’s no mistaking the RM 011 for anything other than a Richard Mille timepiece. Its 50 x 40-mm barrel-shaped case curves slightly at the top and bottom, which helps it sit well on the wrist alongside its integrated bracelet. All the materials are incredibly lightweight and durable – another obvious Mille characteristic. The first edition RM 011 was crafted out of titanium, while later editions are made of gold, ceramic, silicon nitride, carbon TPT, and quartz TPT. TPT stands for “thin-ply technology,” a manufacturing process that involves fusing thin layers of carbon fiber or quartz crystal at extremely high temperatures to form a single unit. The resulting material is hard-wearing, lightweight, and boasts a unique grain. Richard Mille dedicated their first quartz TPT watch to tennis star Rafael Nadal.
The interior of the RM 011 is no less impressive. The watch gets its power from the skeletonized caliber RMAC1 with a titanium baseplate and bridges. The movement offers an annual calendar, which accounts for both 30 and 31-day months. You only have to manually adjust the date on March 1st each year. The date appears in a large window at 12 o’clock, and the month sits at 4:30. The RM 011 also features a chronograph with a flyback function, meaning you can reset the stopwatch to zero with a single press of a button and without stopping the clock. Moreover, the watch has a 60-minute countdown timer located at 9 o’clock.
Another highlight of the RMAC1 is its variable-geometry rotor made of titanium with white gold oscillating weights. The weights can be adjusted to six different positions and, thus, adapted to the wearer’s activity level. If the watch is going to be worn during high levels of activity – while playing sports, for instance – then a watchmaker can adjust the settings, so the rotor rotates more slowly. If, on the other hand, the wearer is less active, the rotor can be set to move faster. This ensures the watch always has an optimized energy supply.
Versions of the RM 011
Richard Mille has introduced several different versions of the RM 011, including some limited editions that are favorites among collectors. One such coveted watch is the RM 011 Ti Americas White Limited Edition, which was launched to celebrate the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The watch boasts a black-coated titanium case and a white outer dial ring, hands, and numerals. This edition was only available for sale in North America.
Another watch made exclusively for the North American market is the RM 011 Midnight Fire. This edition features a black ceramic case, a red ring around the dial’s outer edge, red indices, and white hands.
The eye-catching RM 011 Red TPT Quartz debuted in 2015. For this watch, Richard Mille blends layers of red quartz with black carbon to create a dark red case with a unique grain. The watch has a limited run of just 50 pieces.
Successors to the RM 011
Since 2017, Richard Mille has introduced several new watches based on the design of the RM 011. The RM 11-03 is a major fan favorite. At first glance, the design seems remarkably similar to the RM 011, bar its more angular bezel. However, if you take a closer look, you’ll notice the movement has more depth to it. The newer watch is powered by the caliber RMAC3, which offers the same functionality as the RMAC1 but is much more visually appealing.
The RM 11-03 is available in titanium, rose gold, and carbon TPT. Some of the most popular versions are the McLaren and Jean Todt limited editions. The case of the former is made of black TPT carbon layered with orange TPT quartz, McLaren’s signature colors. The RM 11-03 McLaren is limited to just 500 pieces. The second special edition, the RM 11-03 Jean Todt, is dedicated to the current president of the FIA. The watch is made of blue TPT quartz and has a limited run of 150 pieces.
The 11-01 and RM 11-04 are two other interesting watches in the series. Both are dedicated to Italian soccer manager Roberto Mancini and are perfect for keeping track of the time during matches. A 45-minute scale represents a single half, including stoppage time. It can even display extra time should it come to that. The main difference between the two watches is the movement. The RM 11-01 is powered by the RMAC1, while the RM 11-04 houses the RMAC3.
The RM 11-02 and the RM11-05, in turn, combine a flyback chronograph and GMT function.
Prices for the Richard Mille RM 011
Prices for the Richard Mille RM 011 vary greatly depending on the exact design. Unworn watches can be found on Chrono24 starting around 113,500 USD. Mint-condition special-edition models like the Red TPT Quartz or Midnight Fire sell for roughly 180,000 to 230,000 USD. An original RM 011 Felipe Massa in titanium or rose gold will set you back some 265,000 to 325,000 USD. You’ll find particularly rare models at the very top of the price range, such as the version made of light blue ceramic or the RM 01 Lotus dedicated to the eponymous racing team. Expect to see prices between 500,000 and 520,000 USD for either of these timepieces.
Pre-owned watches tend to be only slightly more affordable. With a bit of luck, you may be able to get your hands on a used RM 011 Felipe Massa in titanium on Chrono24 for around 185,000 USD.
Performance of the RM 011
From a financial perspective, the Richard Mille RM 011 has seen some ups and downs recently. Nearly every model has increased in value over the past two years, but prices have varied greatly from month to month. At the time of writing, prices have plateaued, and some models have declined slightly in value. This shows that the RM 011 is not only an extraordinary high-tech watch for wearing and admiring but also potentially a good investment if fluctuating prices don’t put you off.