Richard Mille’s RMS05 Mechanical Fountain Pen
by Nancy Olson
It’s not often that I come across a fountain pen that I consider mechanical art, so I was really excited when the new Richard Mille Mechanical Fountain Pen was introduced at SIHH 2016 alongside Mille’s new timepieces.
Equally thrilling was the fact that this pen was introduced as neither an “add-on” to the watch collection nor as an aside: it debuted front and center as it should have, right along with the new RM 50-02 ACJ Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph and the RM 67-01 Automatic Ultra Flat.
In addition to its Richard Mille-esque aesthetic, the Mechanical Fountain Pen represents a revelation in fountain pen design, given its use of a visible mechanical movement to facilitate its action.
The movement – visible through a sapphire crystal window – is based on a skeletonized base plate and bridges made of grade 5 titanium, while the 12-jewel mechanical “heart” is what ultimately extends the white gold nib for its intended purpose: writing.
Apparently it took almost four years of research to create this amazing piece.
For the most part, a fountain pen reveals its nib in one of three ways: by simply removing the pen cap, via a twist mechanism, or via a simple click-style assembly (as in the Pilot Vanishing Point).
Here, the push button at the end of the pen triggers the movement fitted with a recoil escapement and a barrel, which efficiently extends the nib in one smooth, mechanical motion.
Replacing the cap on the pen raises the barrel via a mechanism running through the body of the pen, while the nib simultaneously retracts, ready for its next call to action, in essence winding it. Amazing!
The pen’s nib receives its ink supply through a cartridge that is inserted by removing the front portion of the pen so as not to affect the delicate mechanics within.
The Mechanical Fountain Pen is machined in NTPT carbon and its finish is created by superimposing hundreds of layers of the material using an automatic deposit system that changes the direction of the carbon fibers between layers, making each pen unique.
The material is heated to 120°c, after which it is machined by Pro Art – Richard Mille’s own case manufacturer – at which point the layers become more evident. The result reminded me a little of Damascus steel, but in a more irregular and subtle pattern.
This is not a small pen by any means and would probably not be used on a daily basis for long bouts of writing, but it isn’t staggeringly heavy for its size, thanks to the NTPT carbon body.
I’d gladly own it as a signature pen or to display as a piece of desktop art, then I’d sit back and enjoy the conversation it will undoubtedly spark among people who love pens, watches, or both – like me.
For more information, please visit www.richardmille.com/rms05.
Editions: fountain pen
Cap and barrel: NTPT carbon, spline screws that Richard Mille uses on his watches
Nib: 18-karat white gold
Limitation: limited production, but not a limited edition
Price: $105,000, available only at Richard Mille boutiques