It is difficult for us, today, to imagine a world without the 24 time zones to which we have grown accustomed. Yet throughout history and up to the 20th century, many different methods of time zone division were used around the world. With the advent of the railroad and telegraph systems stretching East and West across Europe, the Far East and the United States, the resulting havoc caused by the disparity of time zones reached such a pitched level that something had to be undertaken done. Although the 24 hour time zone division based on a choice of selected prime meridian was originally proposed by the mathematician Quirico Filopanti in 1858, it was not be until the International Meridian Conference in 1884 that the 24 hour division and the choice of Greenwich as the prime meridian would gained international acceptance. And it was not until the 20th century that it was implemented uniformly and adopted unanimously around the globe.
Jean Todt, President of the FIA, is a man in great demand, traveling thousands of kilometers around the globe every year for official events and conferences. Richard Mille wanted to offer extreme travellers like Jean Todt an easy and useful method for keeping track of travel through time zones with a special timepiece, the RM 58-01, which allows a traveller to deal with time zones with unique simplicity and ease.
This manually winding movement has hours, minutes and a 10-day power reserve shown on an indicator at 2 o’clock. The caliber RM58-01, 34mm in diameter, is supported on a baseplate of grade 5 titanium, a material also utilized for the bridges. The tourbillon, positioned at 9 o’clock and oscillating at a frequency of 3Hz, is accommodated in a four-part case made from titanium and red gold. The shot-blasted, satin-brushed and polished rotating bezel bears the names of 24 world cities, symbols of the international 24 time zones on its brown upper flange.
Behind this apparent simplicity hides a technical mechanism of immense complexity. In contrast to other time zone watches, the RM 58-01 does not need any adjusting push-piece to change from one time zone to another. The time is set by simply rotating the bezel anticlockwise, making adjustment a much quicker operation. All the traveller needs to do is position the name of the city where he or she has just landed at 12 o’clock, which automatically sets local time and the time in the other 23 world cities thanks to the 24-hour scale engraved on the flange. The black and white disc distinguishes day from night for the user automatically, so there is no possibility of confusion.
Richard Mille wanted a device that would be very simple to use for the user; nonetheless, this innovation is the outcome of many hours of work by Richard Mille’s movement and case engineers, who managed the feat of linking the bezel and movement with a special gear train for perfect interaction, while ensuring that the whole timepiece remains perfectly water-resistant.
The RM 58-01 World Timer is produced as a limited edition of 35 timepieces. Profits from the sale of this exceptional watch will be transferred to two key initiatives close to Jean Todt’s heart: the Global Campaign for Road Safety as well as the ICM Brain and Spine Institute, which he co-founded.