For the most, Richard Mille chronograph watches, with their large (but ergonomic) cases, aggressively sporty styling and busy dials, are associated with high-octane activities such as Formula One racing, aviation and diving. The independent brand has opted for something quite different with its latest take on the complication, which boasts its first in-house chronograph movement.

First of all, it’s right there in the name: The RM 72-01 Lifestyle In-House Chronograph spells out the brand’s intentions pretty clearly — while it has not been so literally used in a model’s name, “lifestyle” is an adjective that Richard Mille uses to describe its sleeker, time-only models such as the ultra-slim RM 67 and the RM 29. And then, there is the campaign for the RM 72-01: Instead of racecar drivers or tennis players, the campaign, set in Joshua Tree National Park in California, features two dancers performing a pas de deux choreographed by Benjamin Millepied, set to music by composer Thomas Roussel.

Richard Mille Benjamin Millepied Thomas Roussel

With its dimensions of 47.34mm (length) x 38.4mm (width) x 11.68mm (thickness), the RM 72-01 is more compact than its signature RM 11 flyback chronograph models. Its popular RM 11-03, for instance, has dimensions of 49.94mm (length) x 44.5mm (width) x 16.15mm (thickness). This makes the RM 72-01 a great choice for fans of the brand who, until now, mostly had a choice of either hefty sports chronographs or slimmer time-only models.

It took Richard Mille’s technical team more than 30 months to develop the new self-winding flyback chronograph movement CMRC1. The RM 11 models are powered by a base movement by high-end movement specialist Vaucher, with a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module. A key feature that gives the new CRMC1 movement its relatively slim profile of 6.05mm is a patent-pending double oscillating pinion mechanism, which is used in place of a vertical clutch system. According to the brand, this mechanism also allows the watch to have a consistent power reserve of 50 hours, whether or not the chronograph function is used.

Available in four versions — red gold, titanium, and white or black ceramic — the RM 72-01 also features a cleaner dial than other Richard Mille chronograph watches. While its dial and movement are skeletonised and well-finished (in true RM style), the new timepiece looks a lot calmer than its sporty brethren thanks to more restrained skeletonisation, fewer transparent elements and the sparing use of colour. Even so, it stands out with details such as its layout, which has three unusually positioned subdials — a small seconds, and 60-minute and 24-hour chronograph counters. It will be interesting to see how this “lifestyle chronograph”, complete with a new in-house movement, performs against the brand’s much-loved sporty offerings.

The RM 72-01 retails for 215,000 Swiss francs (red gold) and 170,000 Swiss francs (titanium).