This year marks the 100th year of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and when the famed endurance race ran a couple of weeks ago – we were there, and it was rad. But that’s not the only race to be held on the Circuit de la Sarthe this month, as the track is also host to the biennial Le Mans Classic, a vintage racing event that will run from June 29th to July 2nd. In honor of both the centenary of Le Mans and the 11th installment of the Le Mans Classic, Richard Mille has announced a limited edition iteration of its RM 72-01 Flyback Chronograph called the RM 72-01 Le Mans Classic.
Richard Mille has been a partner of the Le Mans Classic event since it started in 2002, and the event has grown into something closer to a festival, with more than 800 vintage racing cars taking to the track over the course of the weekend. It’s a huge event with a lot of special programming, so if you’re in the area, be sure to dig into the calendar here.
Moving on to the watch, Richard Mille has been producing a special version for Le Mans Classic since 2008, and the RM 72-01 LMC is limited to 150 units and features a white and green Quartz TPT case with matching dial accenting and a matching rubber strap. The tonneau case’s dimensions are 38.4mm x 11.68mm x 47.34mm, and it is mechanically identical to the other existing iterations of the 72-01.
This means that the 72-01 LMC sports the brand’s first flyback chronograph movement, the CRMC-1. It’s an automatic 4Hz movement with a 24-hour chronograph, a big date display, and a function indicator that shows when the chronograph is running. The titanium dial is also adorned with a Le Mans Classic nameplate and nods to the running of the race, including showing the “16” in red as a nod to the 4 PM start time of the race. Richard Mille’s tagline is literally “a racing machine on the wrist,” so we can’t be surprised that they wanted to celebrate both their continued connection with the event of Le Mans Classic, but also to the history of Le Mans over the past 100 years. Rolex can’t have all the fun, right? And really, this is Richard Mille doing what it does best, creating a special limited version of an already deeply impressive and eye-wateringly expensive watch. Also, if you’re going to make a $335,000 chronograph (which is essentially a mid-range product in terms of the price scope for Richard Mille), there’s no better audience than the sort of folks who can afford to be custodians for vintage race cars.
While I might prefer my own 72-01 in a less-white colorway, the platform has had several previous iterations, and it’s a model that manages to capture the core of the Richard Mille appeal. It’s a tech-forward and aesthetically boisterous racing chronograph that, like many of the brand’s watches (and collectors), absolutely feels as though it has come from the world of automotive racing.
Sure, it’s both laughably expensive and not exactly subtle, but – just like in the world of top-spec auto racing – for Richard Mille, that’s arguably a feature rather than a bug.
In celebrating 100 years of 24 Hours of Le Mans Race, Richard Mille has released a new flyback chronograph reference dedicated to the endurance racing event — aptly named the RM 72-01 Le Mans Classic.
Doused in the event’s emblematic hues, this exclusive timepiece features a white and green Quartz TPT case. Faithful to its fellow-72-01 models, the Le Mans Classic edition measures 38.4mm in diameter, 47.34mm in height, and 11.68mm in thickness. Spotlighted at the center of the watch is its unique open-work titanium dial that emulates the Le Mans circuit, including the “16” marking that’s underlined in red on the hour counter.
Dubbed by the brand as “a racing machine on the wrist,” this time-teller not only boasts an eye-catching appearance but it’s also powered by Richard Mille’s in-house CRMC-1 flyback “Lifestyle” chronograph caliber. In addition, the skeletonized movement is equipped with essential timekeeping functions, alongside a date display, stop seconds, and a 50-hour power reserve. The in-house caliber can be observed via the watch’s see-through sapphire crystal caseback.