BILL BUYS . . .
. . . takes a light-hearted look at a sometimes crazy world of motoring - and other forms of transport - nationally, internationally, and right here in North East Victoria and the Southern Riverina
Would sir or madam like a car with that?
Words/pictures: Bill Buys
IF you feel you cannot afford the price of a McLaren Speedtail, maybe you will settle for a smart wristwatch?
Just out is the Richard Mille RM 40-01 Automatic Tourbillon McLaren Speedtail, which you can have for just 900,000 Swiss francs, which translates to $1.29m in Australian folding money.
While it may bring tears to your eyes, it probably won’t dent the pockets of the 106 folks who each shelled out the 2.37 million euros ($3.6m) for the car.
But there are only 106 of the Speedtail watches on offer, coinciding with the limited edition of the car, so that million-buck asking price might become a solid investment.
The Speedtail is McLaren’s fastest hypercar to date, and the company is in its fifth year of partnership with the Richard Mille brand.
Based on the form of a teardrop, said to be the most aerodynamically efficient shape, the Speedtail is a three-seat hyper grand tourer that became the third car in McLaren's Ultimate line-up.
With its 1070-horsepower (786kW) hybrid powertrain, the Speedtail covers 112 metres per second when travelling at its top speed of 402km/h, making it the fastest McLaren road car to date.
"There are many similarities between the way that Richard Mille and McLaren approach common design and engineering challenges, such as saving weight, reducing vibrational impact, and minimising resistance,” Rob Melville, McLaren Automotive’s design director, said.
“With the Speedtail, we set out to produce a car that had an artistic quality to it. That has certainly come through in the watch, which beautifully mirrors the many various details of the Speedtail in its finish, materials and its uncompromising design.”
It took Richard Mille's casing department an unprecedented 2800 hours over 18 months to perfect the lines.
Frenchman Richard Mille has emphasised the connection between his watches and the world of motorsports ever since the start.
The watches have had fans in Formula since the early days, not to mention served as their sponsor.
Additionally, when the entire watch industry recorded declining sales following the financial crisis, Mille did not reduce its high prices, but rather increased them.
The Speedtail timepiece’s case contains 69 individual parts, including titanium for the bezel and carbon fibre for the case band.
The company gives the pieces a variety of finishes, including mirror polished and satin effects.
The crystal over the face took 18 months to perfect because of the triple contour design that tapers inward.
Its tourbillon movement is the company's first application of it to have a power reserve indicator.
The gauge is visible at the 9 o'clock position and has red, orange, and green sections to tell the wearer whether the watch needs winding.
The timepiece comes with an asymmetrical rubber strap from the Swiss brand Biwi SA.
It uses an over-moulded production process and includes a McLaren orange accent that follows the stripe at the 6 o'clock position on the watch face.
The complexity of the components, the multitude of details and, above all, the attention applied to the finishes place the watch firmly at the peak of Swiss-made watches.
The platinum and red gold winding rotor is inspired by the Speedtail’s bonnet and the barrel-setting by its roof line.
So, while it may cost somewhat more than a Seiko or an Omega, you will be happy to know there will be just 105 other people in the whole wide world with a Richard Mille RM 40-01 Automatic Tourbillon McLaren Speedtail exactly like yours.