The Richard Mille RM032 Replcia has two particularly unusual features among Richard Mille’s collections. First, it’s round, a notable exception for the brand, which generally favours the tonneau shape. And second: it’s a dive replica watch. It is one of a trio, the other members of which are the breathtakingly complex – and expensive – RM025 tourbillon chronograph, and the simpler RM028. The RM032, a perfect synthesis of the company’s technical expertise, comes somewhere between the two. Diving replica watches are by their nature highly technical, as they have to fulfil a number of functional criteria, and Richard Mille Men’s Replica treats them as a rigorous technical exercise.
The case must be waterproof – a 300-metre depth rating is usual. The case of the RM032, in titanium, black DLC-treated titanium or gold (pink or white gold – but these aren’t strictly dive replica watches) measures 50 mm across for a depth of 17.8 mm. The RM032 is truly a beast. There’s no risk of it being crushed by water pressure, but it could have been prone to other problems. The size of the replica watch might have given it a tendency to slip on the wrist, making it vulnerable to catching on unexpected outcrops of rock, coral reefs or shipwrecks. But the shape of the lugs and the curved caseback ensure a snug fit on wrists of all sizes, like a limpet on its rock.
Water resistance is generally a major issue in the vicinity of the crown, a natural opening into the replica watch that has to be secured. The risk is multiplied by three in the case of a diving chronograph with two pushers, like the RM032. Richard Mille has therefore added some special safety features. Rather than the usual four or five firm turns of the crown, the RM032 can be hermetically sealed by performing a half-turn of an additional ring at the base of the crown. An engraved red or green indicator shows what position the crown is in – red means the crown has been deactivated and the pushers immobilised.
The bezel of a dive replica watch should be capable of rotating in just one direction, and it must be lockable. Richard Mille decided to take the logic somewhat further than the traditional ratchet. You have to depress the pusher at 12 o’clock with one finger and the 6 o’clock pusher with another finger and squeeze hard to make it turn. If you want to change your diving time you need to be both dextrous and determined. The bezel has engraved markers every five minutes, with the last fifteen minutes in red. It is angled inwards, which protects the surface as well as directing all attention to the replica watch face.
Luminescence isn’t usually a standout feature of Richard Mille replica watches, which are designed to shine in the daytime, not at night, but the RM032 has Superluminova on the index dots and hands, an important requirement for divers venturing into murky waters, or diving in the dark.
So much for the diving specs. In every other respect, the RM032 is a Richard Mille, which means it goes well beyond the usual norms and traditions. It’s not just a simple three-hand replica watch with date, like 99% of divers; it also has a flyback chronograph. The big chronograph seconds hand with its yellow tip skims the minute track around the outside of the dial, and there is also an annual calendar with big date. If you don’t want to keep the chronograph running, there is a “running indicator” comprising a white disc that creates a six-spoked black-and-white animation as it rotates, to show that the replica watch is running correctly. In fact, it’s one of the most readable elements on this replica watch. With its cutout dial, multiple hands, skeletonised components, visible screws and inscriptions, this Richard Mille demands as much attention as it no doubt attracts.