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World’s lightest watch based on McLaren Formula 1 car

16 January 2017

The University of Manchester has collaborated with Richard Mille and McLaren F1 to create the world’s lightest mechanical watch made with graphene.

World’s lightest watch made from graphene (Credit: University of Manchester)

The RM 50-03 watch was made using a unique composite incorporating graphene to manufacture a strong but lightweight new case to house the delicate watch mechanism. The graphene composite known as Graph TPT weighs less than previous similar materials used in watchmaking.

The strap of the new watch has also been improved by the addition of graphene material. The rubber of the strap was also injected with graphene which has shown to improve its mechanical properties and its resistance to wear. Overall the ultralight watch weighs just 40g and is extremely durable.

The striking watch has been precisely designed and inspired by the wishbone suspension structure of a McLaren-Honda Formula 1 car. Combining the design and materials the casing of the watch has withstood tremendous shock damage and survived unscathed in tests.

Speaking about the RM 50-03 watch Richard Mille said: “McLaren were already pioneers in the application of carbon to F1 cars back in the 1980s, and many aspects of our approach dovetailed nicely. We share the same desire to combine lightness and speed with durability.

“Via McLaren Applied Technologies, McLaren is deeply involved in research and development beside the automotive industry. This was an opportunity for us to discover the applications of graphene and to apply it for the case of the watch, a world first premiere. The RM 50-03 represents a new approach to the challenges of lightness underlying our watchmaking philosophy.”

James Baker, Graphene Business Director, The University of Manchester said: “This collaboration has brought together three leading organisations who strive for excellence and perfection in their fields.

“The results from this project have shown exactly why graphene is perfect for delivering improvements where high-performance materials are necessary and is a key step forward into developing more widespread applications including automotive and aerospace.”

The details of the collaboration and the new watch were unveiled today in Geneva by; Richard Mille, Zak Brown, McLaren F1 CEO, Eric Boullier, McLaren F1 Racing Director and new McLaren-Honda F1 driver Stoffel Vandoorne. 


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