15th February 2018, Renens, Switzerland: North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT™), a world leader in ultra-lightweight prepreg materials is delighted to announce the signing of a new, exclusive long-term agreement with Richard Mille continuing the close collaborative working relationship that the two companies started together in 2013.
NTPT™ and Richard Mille have signed a long-term collaboration and exclusive supply agreement. The new multi-year contract will see NTPT™ develop and provide its lightweight thin ply materials exclusively to Richard Mille for the fields of horology, jewellery and luxury stationery items.
As part of the extended agreement, NTPT™ is also in the progress of upgrading its R&D and production facilities at the company’s Headquarters in Renens, Switzerland. This multi-million Swiss Franc investment will create a large clean room production area for a new prepreg line, ATL machine and autoclave, establishing a Swiss made supply chain and boosting R&D capabilities. NTPT’s cutting-edge new facility will help develop quartz based blocks, with the highest levels of purity to make the finest composite components, and enable NTPT and Richard Mille to jointly explore the future possibilities of Thin Ply material technology.
NTPT™ began their collaboration with Richard Mille when Thin Ply prepregs were used in a watch, for the first time, to produce the original RM 011 in Carbon TPT®. The distinctive tonneau shaped case was machined from a solid carbon block, formed using 30 micron layers of carbon fibre prepreg cured in an autoclave. The transition between each layer provided the distinctive TPT surface effect.
Following on from the success of this first project, NTPT™ responded to Richard Mille’s challenge to develop additional materials with a range of coloured options, resulting in the JEC award-winning Quartz TPT®. Four years later, NTPT™ materials are now extensively used within the Richard Mille watch cases and are also being integrated into the micro components of the watch movements.
The unique properties of NTPT™ Thin Ply materials provide Richard Mille with a level of design engineering customisation and weight reduction simply not possible with conventional composite technologies, resulting in spectacular new watch developments like the RM 50-03 McLaren F1 – the world’s lightest split-seconds tourbillon chronograph weighing less than 40 grams. This development introduced an entirely new material, the Graph TPT®, a Carbon TPT® whose physical properties have been considerably improved by the injection of graphene. This was possible thanks to the collaborative work between The University of Manchester, McLaren Applied Technologies and North Thin Ply Technology.
“We are thrilled to be strengthening our partnership with Richard Mille with this new agreement. It’s a fantastic way to start 2018 and we’re really excited to see the future material possibilities that we can create together.” Comments Francois Mordasini, Group Chairman, North Thin Ply Technology. “The Thin Ply carbon and quartz materials developed and supplied by NTPT™ are instrumental in helping us to provide the finest watches and luxury accessories that combine the best technical innovation, the best of artistry and architecture and the best techniques in watch making with hand finishing”. comments Richard Mille.