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THE DC REVIEW: KVF Richard Mille RM011

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F1 driver Felipe Massa was the first brand ambassador or "friend" to join the Richard Mille family in 2004. Most people associate him with the RM011 but in fact the first Felipe Massa RM was the RM006 which was a super lightweight tourbillon.

But in 2007 the brand launched the first RM011 (the RM011-FM) in collaboration with the then Ferrari driver. It was the first standard flyback chronograph that Richard Mille produced, having only produced split seconds chronographs previously, and would go on to be perhaps the most iconic and widely recognised of all their watches.

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Fast forward several years, and Richard Mille commemorated 10 years of its partnership with the Brazilian by releasing two anniversary pieces, one being an all sapphire RM056 and the other being an NTPT Carbon version of the iconic RM011, complete with a number 19 at the 12 o'clock position (Felipe's racing number) and the drivers signature on the sapphire display back.

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It's this 10th Anniversary edition of the RM011 which I have just purchased in rep form, and which I will be reviewing here. There are also two Romain Grosjean versions and an all black version available but it was the Felipe Massa Anniversary edition which really spoke to me!

There have been RM011 reps for many years, but none have captured the depth in the dial with its unique skeletonised elements including the date display, and they have mostly been much like all RM reps until recent months, a bit cheap and nasty looking!!

But finally, amidst all the hype surrounding a future V6 factory release (with "leaked" photos promising gen like dial and correct proportions) the KW/KV factory quietly slipped these four carbon RM011s onto the market!

I took a while deciding to pull the trigger, it is well over $600 after all, but I kept coming back to it and eventually took the plunge!

Am I glad I did? Well let's find out...

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The first thing everyone will talk about is the carbon pattern, but I'll come to that later. First let's talk size... I'm told size matters?! I know a lot of people are reluctant to get into RM because they are big watches, I know I was. I have 17cm wrists (6 and 3/4 inches) so fairly small, and generally 40mm is as big as I go with standard watches. I've sold many a 42mm Patek or ALS because they were simply too big for me. So you'd think these RMs with often up to 43mm super thick cases would be totally out of the question. But you'd be wrong!!

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The magical thing about RM is the ergonomics. Sure the cases are wide and thick, but lug to lug they are often smaller than traditional round watches, and the cases are cambered with the straps turning sharply downward away from the lugs to wrap around even the smallest wrist.

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All this means that Richard Mille watches are easily the most comfortable watches I've ever worn, and they fit all wrists, large and small, with perfection! So if you are a noodle wristed stick insect don't shy away from these watches, they'll wear better than any AP you'd care to mention!

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Now on to the watch in hand. I've never held a genuine RM011 or seen one in the flesh, and probably most of us never will, but in terms of how well this rep captures the essence of the RM011 it scores big points.

The dimensions are a little off, as always. The gen measures 40mm diameter and 16.15mm thickness, so at 42mm and 18.5mm respectively the rep is already larger, but in a watch this size that's really splitting hairs. It's big, end of! 

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That said, it doesn't look as big as I expected it might. I don't feel like I have a high rise apartment block on my wrist, and dare I say it, in virtually all black this watch is almost... stealthy! 

I can imagine in titanium or rose gold (please ref factories please) this watch would be somewhat conspicuous, but this version isn't shouty. Not like an RM027 in white with orange strap, or an all white RM055!

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The first thing which struck me about this rep was the quality. When you are into RM reps you kinda grow to accept that they will be a little plasticy with no real finishing, and without the solidity of a JF AP for example. Not so here, this thing is beautifully finished, even under a macro lens the case finishing and movement elements are really sharp and high quality, there is a level of detail here that you just don't expect, which goes some way to justifying the $600+ price tag. 

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Check the depth of the dial, you can see right down into the wheel bellow the deep running seconds hand...

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And the skeletonised big date is such a great touch...

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Also the rubber strap on these KWF models is a cut above previous models. It's a harder rubber than before, still soft and supple but feels denser and has none of the rough edges of the strap on my RM055.

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The other big issue with previous RM011 reps was the sub dial spacing, as often with A7750 reps the 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock sub dials were always too far apart and smaller than they should be.

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I don't fully understand how they have achieved it (perhaps the larger case size helps) but despite housing an A7750 movement like previous incarnations this rep manages to get the dial layout spot on. Check this side by side, gen on the right obviously!

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Ok, so having posted a side by side the most obvious difference is the carbon pattern, so let's address the elephant in the room.. or should that be the zebra in the room?

For some time now KVF have been producing RM reps with this zig-zag carbon pattern. Other rep makers have been getting closer with more random patterns but KVF don't seem to have made any progress, and that is a shame. That said, it is definitely a higher quality carbon. I've owned several carbon RM reps and all have been pitted and rough, with a kinda matte chalkboard texture to them. But the KVF carbon is dense, no pits or blemishes, and really smooth with an almost satin finish. Also, in person the pattern is nowhere near as noticeable as it appears in photos. As soon as you point a camera at this thing it goes into full zebra mode, but trust me on this, in real life it's no worse than any other rep RM carbon pattern, none of which come close to the real thing anyway. This certainly won't be my last carbon KVF rep, I'm already eyeing up the new slimmer RM035-02!!

At this point you've probably gathered I'm quite impressed with this watch and my verdict is it's pretty much awesome, but it's not without its shortcomings. The dial print for example is a little wonky (specifically the "RM011 FELIPE" plaque and the 19 at 12 o'clock) this seems to be true on all the pictures I've seen so I'm thinking it's more a design issue than print issue, also the dial print could be more vivid and bright (see comparison below) and I do hate the feel of an A7750 just in general, but really these are minor gripes on an otherwise superb piece!  

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Overall, an extremely well thought out and well put together rep, easily among the best I've ever owned. If you can get over the carbon pattern (and you really should) I'd highly recommend this rep. I wear a Patek 5227 to work every day but outside of that I haven't worn anything else since this arrived, and even the wife doesn't seem to mind it which is really saying something (she hated the RM027 deeply)!

Well done KVF, now get on with making the titanium and rose gold versions and you'll be raking it in!

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That is a very distinctive watch.  Lot of detail.  Enjoy mate!

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Great review. Not into these but I can’t deny that is one crazy looking watch. Really like that dial. Enjoy 

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great review, this new kvf watch is a beauty. I am going to get the rm35-02 they make.

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Wow ! :Applause:

You've summed up and capture every essential aspect of this watch, from the technical point of view to the state of mind behind such an expensive rep purchase !
Am I right to say that in the end, A7750 (and all that come with it) wasn't really the thing that mattered the most but simply that you fell in love with the look and precision of this rep ?

Is it a Titanium case or simply a marking on it ?
I prefer the carbon pattern on the rep but I think this is a matter of taste.

Thank you very much for this nice review !

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15 minutes ago, Glaude said:

Wow ! :Applause:

You've summed up and capture every essential aspect of this watch, from the technical point of view to the state of mind behind such an expensive rep purchase !
Am I right to say that in the end, A7750 (and all that come with it) wasn't really the thing that mattered the most but simply that you fell in love with the look and precision of this rep ?

Is it a Titanium case or simply a marking on it ?
I prefer the carbon pattern on the rep but I think this is a matter of taste.

Thank you very much for this nice review !

Yeah I woukdnt have cared if the chronograph didn't function, but the fact it does is a bonus, albeit the chronograph feel isn't very nice. I definitely just fell for the watch and had to have it.

I doubt the midcase is actually titanium, I think it's steel but has an interesting textured finish to it which is really nice!

DC

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Superb review now I always had a soft spot for RM and now I really want this watch....

Just can't ever see myself throwing $600 at a rep as much as I like the design and it may be well put together it's a good chunk towards a nice gen...

Realised recently that maybe I've now got myself a limit in place of what I can spend on a rep and don't think I'll ever break the £200 mark again.  Didn't intend to do this but it just seems to have happened, seen some insane deals on m2m recently but held back because it's just not rep money any more if that makes sense.

Still enough waffle on that I really do applaud you guys who can keep buying the top end stuff even if I don't, keeps the forum exciting, and as the new better models come out every now and then the old version gets price slashes so I can buy it ;)

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I love the carbon pattern. I have worked with insane amount of carbon with regards to cycling - bike parts. Started with 3k, then 12k - but finally I started having all of my parts made with UD - naked. I loved seeing the seems of the layered carbon in messy patterns - just looked more raw and exciting to me. So - again - I think these types of watch cases are fantastic. It's not the norm - which suits my style much of the time :) 

Great review - was a good read. Seems like newbies and experienced fellows could all get good info out of it!

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Great review and a truly impressive rep. Good to know they still wear well on a smaller wrist.

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Nice review.  The level of detail on that is something else.

Not a watch I could carry off but looks like you're managing nicely.. Enjoy :)

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fantastic overall review sir, well done. They are certainly an acquired taste, but nonetheless beautiful 

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