26th March 2018, Renens, Switzerland: North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT™), a world leader in ultra-lightweight prepreg materials is proud to see its latest Thin Ply Technology material developments showcased in the new RM 11-03 McLaren Automatic Flyback Chronograph. This stunning 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 have developed new Thin Ply materials for Richard Mille since 2013, with their 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 striking new orange coloured hardwearing quartz-based composite echoing the historic livery of some of McLaren’s most successful racing cars.
McLaren’s orange colourway has always had a strong connection with the brand and its fans, with both the RM 11-03 McLaren watch and the orange liveried MCL 33 F1 car providing a fantastic link to the brand’s heritage for 2018.
Developing the bold 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 and unique orange thin ply (52 g/m2) quartz prepreg and then validate it for this highly demanding application. NTPT exceeded all of Richard Mille’s stringent requirements for UV resistance, colour homogeneity and brightness with the non-allergenic composite material also providing excellent resistance to a wide range of chemicals that the watch could encounter during its lifetime.
For this project, NTPT enjoyed the full support of long term partners Saint Gobain and Polynt Reichhold. Saint Gobain are unique in providing the ultra-consistent 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. 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.” Comments Ludovic Chichignoud, COO, North Thin Ply Technology.