Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough


Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough

RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough

New result of the encounter between Richard Mille and Pablo Mac Donough
La Cote des Montres - January 15th, 2018

Polo is the sport of a true gentleman. It is a perfect meeting of man and beast, of strength and precision, speed and serenity. For its part, the RM 53-01 is the ‘smashing’ new result of the encounter between Richard Mille and Pablo Mac Donough, one of the world’s best players. Sporty and dynamic, this watch reveals a suspended tourbillon calibre, visible through the unprecedented laminated sapphire glass of its Carbon TPT® case, a complex armour of an entirely new kind for this high-risk sport, the epitome of manliness.

That one of polo’s greatest champions should be able to wear a watch in the midst of play, and a tourbillon at that, is by no means a miracle. Rather, it bespeaks years of research and studies of how a wristwatch resists when confronted with violent blows. Experts in this area, the brand designed the RM 53-01 around a single goal: making it extremely tough, while unveiling its calibre.
“Polo is a dangerous sport, and hard knocks are a regular occurrence. It’s a very elegant game, but also a contact sport,” explains Richard Mille. “Given that Pablo has sustained a large number of fractures in the course of his career, I asked our teams to come up with a watch that could resist the many types of shocks arising in a polo match, whilst leaving the movement visible.”

Well aware that regular glass would not provide the necessary resistance to ward off the impact of a mallet, engineers for the brand, collaborating with Stettler - a world-renowned sapphire specialist - took inspiration from current practices in the automotive realm to produce a laminated glass.

Use of this glass, composed of two sheets of sapphire glass separated by a thin Polyvinyl film, constitutes a horological first. In the face of the strong shockwave produced by a blow from a mallet, the glass will crack, but without ever shattering. With anti-reflective and UV coatings, this glass, which preserves the movement from the external environment, is patented exclusively to Richard Mille.

Punctuated by notches that reinforce its structural integrity, the case is machined in Carbon TPT®, a fabulously tough and virtually indestructible protection, recognised for its excellent resistance to micro-cracks and tears. The characteristic damascene sheen of Carbon TPT® and sharp lines of the case speak to the especially sporty nature of this watch.

Shock is the enemy of a tourbillon movement. Richard Mille’s solution to this? A cable-suspended movement! The atypical architecture of this design required the creation of two separate baseplates. The first, or ‘peripheral’ baseplate, is fixed to the case and supports the tensioner mechanisms. The second, known as the ‘central’ baseplate, is linked to the peripheral baseplate by cables and incorporates the wheels comprising the calibre as well as the winding mechanism.

The central baseplate rests, like a spider in the middle of its web, on two braided steel cables just 0.27 mm in diameter. These cables, sketching a three-dimensional structure in their path through 10 pulleys, are anchored by 4 tensioners. The watchmaker is responsible for tensioning the cables by rotating a spline screw located at the centre of each tensioner. By ensuring an even distribution of tension, this pulley system guarantees perfect balance of the whole mechanism. The suspended movement and the use of grade 5 titanium (double baseplate and bridges) contribute increased stiffness, while ensuring smooth functioning of the going train and optimal shock protection.

The RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough is a limited edition of 30 pieces in Carbon TPT®.


Richard Mille RM 53-01 Manual Winding Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough

Technical specifications

Limited edition of 30 pieces.

Calibre RM53-01: Manual winding tourbillon movement with hours and minutes.

Dimensions : 44.50 x 49.94 x 16.15 mm

Main features


Power reserve: Circa 70 hours (±10%).

Double skeletonised baseplate with grade 5 titanium bridges
Grade 5 titanium is employed for the bridges and the highly atypical double baseplate construction, which consists of a first, ‘central’ baseplate that firmly holds together the various wheels of the calibre, and a second, ‘peripheral’ baseplate, attached to the central baseplate by cables and supporting the entire tensioner system. Grade 5 titanium is a biocompatible alloy used in aeronautics for its high resistance to corrosion, remarkable lightness, and low expansion coefficient. The suspended movement and this titanium comprised of 90% titanium, 6% aluminium and 4% vanadium together improve the strength of the movement, ensuring smooth functioning of the going train and optimal shock resistance.

The skeletonised baseplate and the bridges were subjected to separate and extensive validation tests to meet rigorous strength requirements and offer an extreme weight/resistant ratio.

Cable-suspension mechanism
The movement at the heart of the RM 53-01 rests on 2 braided steel cables just 0.27 mm in diameter. The tension of these cables is made possible by the 10 pulleys and 4 tensioners affixed to the peripheral baseplate and to each side of the main bridge. The cables run through the tackle pulley system and are attached to the tensioners on the other side. The watchmaker tensions the system by tightening a spline screw located at the centre of each tensioner. The pulleys ensure that the tension of the cable remains constant, and therefore that the system is balanced.

Designed to sit suspended within the case, the calibre RM53-01 can withstand shocks exceeding 5,000 g’s.

Free sprung balance with variable inertia
This type of balance wheel guarantees greater reliability when subjected to shocks and during assembly or dismantling of the movement, thus achieving better chronometric results over time. The index is eliminated, thereby allowing a more precise and repeatable adjustment using 4 setting screws.

Fast rotating barrel (6 hours per revolution instead of 7.5 hours)
This type of barrel provides the following advantages:
  • The phenomenon of periodic internal mainspring adhesion is significantly diminished, thereby increasing performance,
  • An excellent mainspring delta curve with an ideal power reserve/performance and regularity ratio.
Barrel pawl with progressive recoil
This device permits an appreciable winding gain (circa 20%), especially during the start of winding. It is also helpful in distributing the mainspring’s internal tension effectively.

Winding barrel teeth and third-wheel pinion with central involute profile
The central involute profile of the winding-barrel teeth provides an optimal pressure angle of 20°, which promotes effective rotary motion and compensates for possible variations in the operation of the going train. This, in turn, ensures excellent torque transmission and a distinct improvement in performance.

Spline screws in grade 5 titanium for the bridges
The design of these screws permits better control of the torque applied during assembly. These screws are therefore unaffected by physical manipulation during assembly or disassembly and age well.

Other features


  • Movement dimensions: 31.94 x 30.26 mm
  • Thickness: 6.35 mm
  • Tourbillon diameter: 12.40 mm
  • Balance diameter: 10.00 mm
  • Number of jewels: 19
  • Balance wheel: Glucydur®, 2 arms and 4 setting screws
  • Inertia moment: 11.50 mg.cm², lift angle 53°
  • Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
  • Balance spring: Elinvar by Nivarox®
  • Shock protection: KIF Elastor de KE 160 B28
  • Barrel shaft in nickel-free Chronifer® (DIN x 46 Cr 13 + S) with the following properties: stainless – antimagnetic – suitable for tempering
The tripartite case is crafted of Carbon TPT®, whose remarkable surface displays complex damascene patterns. Carbon TPT® consists of over 600 layers of parallel filaments obtained by separating carbon threads. With a maximum thickness of 30 microns, the Carbon TPT® layers are saturated with resin, then compiled on a special machine that modifies the orientation of the fibres between each layer by 45°. Once it has been heated to 120°C and subjected to a pressure of 6 bars, the Carbon TPT® is machined at Richard Mille’s factory. Carbon TPT® is renowned for its excellent resistance to micro-cracks and splits.

The complete case construction is water-resistant to 50 metres thanks to two Nitrile O-rings, and is assembled using 20 spline screws in grade 5 titanium and 316L stainless steel washers.

Spline screws in grade 5 titanium for the case
The design of these screws permits better control of the torque applied during assembly. These screws are therefore unaffected by physical manipulation during assembly or disassembly and age well.

Laminated sapphire glass
A new patented sapphire glass and a world premiere in the realm of watchmaking, the RM 53-01 is equipped with a glass of laminated sapphire crystal. In case of impact, this glass may crack, like a car’s windscreen, but under no circumstances shatter, thereby protecting the movement, as verified during impact pendulum testing, when a metal spike was added to the 4.5 kg weight. Comprised of two sheets of sapphire crystal separated by a Polyvinyl membrane, this glass is also protected by anti-UV and non-reflective coatings.

Thickness: 2.40 mm at the centre; 5.69 mm at the edges.

Torque-limiting crown
This additional security system prevents accidental overwinding, which could cause damage to the winding stem or put extreme pressure on the mainspring barrel.

Upper flange in titanium.



  • Anglage and polishing by hand
  • Shot-blasted milled sections
  • Black and grey PVD treatment for the baseplates and bridges
Steel parts
  • Microblasted surfaces
  • Satin-finished surfaces
  • Anglage and polishing by hand
  • Long strokes
  • Matte “brouillé” strokes
  • Polished sinks
  • Lapped and polished ends
  • Burnished pivots
  • Diamond-polished sinks
  • Circular decorations on the front surfaces
  • Rhodium plating (before cutting the teeth)
  • Minimal corrections are made to the wheels to preserve their geometry and overall performance.