As the 2017 French Open kicks off, Richard Mille has unveiled the fourth iteration in his headline-grabbing, jaw-dropping “Rafael Nadal” collection. The new RM 27-03 is one of Mille’s boldest looking and most mechanically sophisticated watches yet. It’s main innovation lies in the capacity of its tourbillon calibre to withstand shocks up to 10,000 g’s, but the intense red and yellow hues of its Quartz TPT really make this watch stand out: note only are the colors case an obvious homage to Rafa’s native Spain, the torque-limiting crown is also made of of Quartz TPT and presented in the shape of a tennis ball.
Richard Mille x Rafael Nadal RM 27-03 Tourbillon
Limited edition 50 pieces
Price: 766,800 Swiss francs
From day 1 of the partnership, the watches have been made to resist the forces exerted upon them by one of the world’s greatest tennis players, and this new piece is no exception. Richard Mille focuses heavily on the shock resistance of his watches, but I believe this is his most advanced shock resistance yet, a feat which Mille attributes to countless hours of R&D and testing, particularly ‘pendulum impact testing’ which simulates the linear acceleration that occurs due to sudden movements or shock to the wearer. The ultralight tourbillon calibre sits on a skeletonized unibody baseplate of Carbon TPT; the rapid winding barrel provides an unvarying flow of energy for the full 70 hours of running time. The number of components has been whittled down to as few as possible so as to drive additional weight savings.
You can see the magnificent architecture and finishing of the RM 27-03 caliber. Hand-polished tapered anglage, satin and microblasted surfaces, and other finely finished elements all flow into the dial.
The colorful case is achieved by impregnating fine layers of silica with tinted resin according to a proprietary process (developed in Switzerland by North Thin Ply Technology) that stacks the filaments in layers before heating them to 120 °C. The quartz fibers offer a very advantageous strength/weight ratio, as well as being anallergic and highly resistant to UV rays.