In terms of sports psychology, tennis has no analog. Very few in the sport can claim as strong a cerebral game as Rafael “Rafa” Nadal. The Mallorcan wins tournaments with unrivaled mental strength and relentless fitness. He’s also one of the few athletes to wear a watch while playing on his sport’s biggest stages. We think you might want to wear what he’s wearing. Lately, it’s the eponymous RM 27-04 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal watch by Richard Mille.
The Tourbillon Rafael Nadal Watch
Nadal partnered with Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille to create the stunning Tourbillon wristwatch, so named for its granularly-detailed, constantly-rotating, severely accurate tourbillon (“whirlwind”) escapement housing.¹,² But how can a watch live up to the exacting standards of Spain’s best tennis player? Let’s take a closer look.
The high-end watch business is awash with overpriced products. Richard Mille released his first watch, the RM 001, in 2001. Mille had set out to design the greatest watch imaginable, without regard to production costs. Over the years, he and his fledgling team have created some category-disrupting pieces that few can afford, but many desire.
The manufacturer met Nadal in 2008 and soon cozied up with the tennis star as a means of developing both a promising brand partnership and furthering the design technology of their uber-expensive timekeepers.
The RM 27-04 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal watch is a striking blend of world-class technology, meticulous attention to detail, and a rabid obsession with weightlessness. At just 1 ounce (30 g), the watch is absurdly light. That’s the weight of four crayons or about half the weight of a tennis ball. But the most incredible part of this watch isn’t its feathery weight.
To resist the overwhelming centrifugal forces created when swinging a tennis racket, Mille set a record in resistance. The RM 27-04 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal watch can withstand 12,000 Gs, which is unheard of in the watchmaking business.
An 855-mm² mesh liner supports the entire movement — a single braided steel cable measuring just 0.27 mm in diameter, held in tension by two PVD-treated 5N gold tensioners. With a nod to the same design pattern that makes a tennis racquet functional, the cable crisscrosses the RM 27-04’s face and anchors to the bezel at 5 and 10 o’clock. The pattern is reminiscent of a tennis racquet without obviating where and when one should wear the accessory.
Last, but certainly not least, is the TitaCarb material, exclusively to Richard Mille, that makes up the case’s exterior. This incredibly lightweight polyamide features carbon reinforcement, which gives the Nadal watch’s excellent tensile strength.
If you like the looks of the RM 27-04 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal watch, you’d better move quickly. Only 50 will be available worldwide, and the better Rafa plays, the more demand we’ll see for this incredible timepiece.
The watch clocks in at $1,050,000, so you’ll probably want to wear it to more outings than just the ones between the baselines — then again, if you’re a serious buyer, you’ve probably got the cash for a few timekeepers.
- What is a Tourbillon Watch? – The History of the Tourbillon – WatchGecko
- Why Do Tourbillons Cost a Small Fortune? – Gear Patrol
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