When watch fans think of time pieces made for the sport of polo, the first model that comes to mind is probably the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso. With its swivelling case that can be flipped upside-down to protect it from the travails of the sport: Think flying balls, swinging mallets and galloping horses weighing around 500kg each. In 2012, Richard Mille launched its own polo-ready timepiece: the RM 53 Pablo MacDonough, an avant-garde timepiece created in collaboration with the Argentinean polo star.
What the RM 53 and the Reverso do have in common are designs minimising the amount of visible watch face. While the latter was designed to be turned face-down during a match, the RM 53 feaures an armoured take on its signature curved tonneau case. Its case is made from titanium carbide, a tough ceramic that can be used in heat shield coatings for spacecraft during atmospheric re-entry.
To make the watch easy to read while its wearer is riding – not that we’ve seen any polo players check the time as they charge down the field – the watch’s movement and windows are positioned at a 30-degree angle. Its compact layout and features such as skeletonised base plate and bridges make the lightweight movement less vulnerable to centrifugal and centripetal forces generated during a game.