03 April 2018
03 April 2018
North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT)’s latest thin ply technology material developments are showcased in the new RM 11-03 McLaren Automatic Flyback Chronograph.
This new timepiece, jointly commissioned by Richard Mille and McLaren Automotive, was recently revealed at the 88th Geneva International Motor Show.
The new RM 11-03 McLaren is the first timepiece to come out of the design partnership between Richard Mille and McLaren Automotive that began in 2017, with the limited run of 500 pieces being offered initially to McLaren Ultimate Series clients. Intended to showcase new materials as well as the most technically challenging machining and production techniques, the RM 11-03 combines the unique style of the Richard Mille brand with several strong styling cues from the McLaren range of luxury sports and super cars.
NTPT has developed new thin ply materials for Richard Mille since 2013, with the company’s exceptionally stiff and lightweight Carbon TPT composites enhancing the mechanical performance of Richard Mille’s watches as well as being exceptionally resistant to harsh environments. This latest collaboration required the creation of a new orange coloured hardwearing quartz-based composite echoing the historic livery of some of McLaren’s most successful racing cars.
Developing the orange composite layers of the RM 11-03 McLaren case provided NTPT with a significant material development challenge, requiring the project team to create a new orange thin ply (52 g/m2) quartz prepreg and then validate it for this highly demanding application. NTPT exceeded Richard Mille’s stringent requirements for UV resistance, colour homogeneity and brightness with the non-allergenic composite material also providing excellent resistance to a range of chemicals that the watch could encounter during its lifetime.
For this project, NTPT was supported by long term partners Saint Gobain and Polynt Reichhold. Saint Gobain provides the Quartzel quartz fibres necessary for NTPT’s fibre spreading process, enabling precise definition of the coloured layers in several of Richard Mille’s watches. Combining these fibres with a custom Polylite HS hot melt resin from Polynt Reichhold, NTPT formulated a high purity quartz composite with the exact colour shade, UV stability, processability and mechanical properties required, whilst also providing a vivid contrast between the deep orange TPT Quartz and black TPT Carbon plies.
“The RM 11-03 McLaren is arguably the most stunning watch we have worked on with Richard Mille so far,” comments Ludovic Chichignoud, COO, North Thin Ply Technology. “We are immensely proud to be working with Richard Mille, pioneer in advanced composite materials in their field, and we’re looking forward to their next exciting designs and material challenges in the future.”
Photo provided by NTPT
NTPT has opened new laboratory facilities and a 300 m2 cleanroom production area at its headquarters in Renens, Switzerland. This is a step forward in the long-term collaboration with Guenat S.A. Montres Valgine (GMV)-Richard Mille, which includes the exclusive supply of lightweight Thin Ply prepreg materials to Richard Mille horology, jewellery and writing instrument designs, as announced in February this year.