I think it’s pretty fair to say that Richard Mille surprised everyone this year at SIHH by unveiling the RMS05 Pen next to his RM 50-02 ACJ Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph and RM 67-01 Automatic Ultra Flat. Even more surprising – and interesting – however is the fact that this pen was presented as part of the core collection and not as an ‘add-on’ to the watch collection. After all, SIHH stands for Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie right? So why would Mille present a pen in the first place and should we be expecting more in the future?
The Richard Mille RMS05 Pen
I would argue that whilst we may see more variations on existing pens, a plethora of new models is probably unlikely. Reason being is because designing a pen is much more limiting than designing a watch. A watch can have multiple functions like time, date, chronograph and so on. A pen has only one function: to write. It is more probable therefore that we’ll see Richard Mille venturing into new luxury segments, such as the automotive industry. Frank Muller has already gone that way with the designing of FM Yacht 55.
Enough speculation however, it’s time to shine our spotlight on the RMS05 Pen. A striking fountain pen if ever I saw one, the RMS05 Pen is presented in a NTPT carbon barrel complete with a large sapphire glass window situated at the top that houses a rather distinctive looking mechanism – more on that in a minute. For those of you who don’t know NTPT is a type of compressed carbon with a distinctive look of which Richard Mille has intimate knowledge (meaning he uses the material a lot in his watch cases). The light weight of carbon makes it a good choice for a pen.
The central design feature of the RMS05 Pen is of course the intricate mechanism I referred to before, which is visible through the glass segment. According to the manufacturer it took four years to develop this incredibly complicated-looking mechanism whose sole role is to facilitate the sliding of the nib in and out of the pen barrel. As is always the case with Richard Mille however, there is a little more to it than that.
For a start, the obvious question to ask is why does the RMS05 Pen have a cap, when the nib is retractable? After all, the whole purpose of such a ‘vanishing nib’ system is to do away with the cap. The answer is because the cap functions like a manual winding mechanism, equivalent to the crown on a watch if you wish.
You see, when a button located at the top of the barrel of the RMS05 is pressed, the mechanism revels the nib via a smooth gliding action. To enable this to happen however the mechanism utilizes a system usually found in clocks where a recoil type spring is used to store kinetic energy. To replenish this lost energy when the nib is extended and retracted the mechanism is ‘re-loaded’ or ‘wound’ when the cap is pushed onto the barrel.
The mechanism itself embodies the same manufacturing philosophy applied to Richard Mille watches, with titanium and steel used for the base plate and bridges. Unconventionally, the standard cartridge is replaced via the tip of the pen. Using the cap as a tubular spanner, the whole nib unit is pulled out to allow the old cartridge to be discarded and the new cartridge loaded.
Although fundamentally the pen does not innovate in the way fountain pens write – the nib unit is quite standard really – the RMS05 Pen sets itself apart in the way in which the nib is revealed and of course by its distinctive design. Plus the use of moving parts inside the pen and materials such as NTPT carbon, titanium, steel and white gold (for the nib) firmly secures its place in the world of cool luxury toys.
For more information on the RMS05 Pen please visit www.richardmille.com.