Flash News: Richard Mille RM 027-02 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal

By Thierry Ané on May 26, 2015

This week marks the start of the 114th edition of the French Open where Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal will be vying for his 10th title! For elite watch brand Richard Mille, it has become sort of a tradition to take part in this great competition by unveiling the latest high-tech timepiece dedicated to tennis and worn by the “King of Clay” during the Roland Garros tournament. This year is no exception as the Manufacture presents a new uncompromising calibre in a highly innovative case.

Rafael Nadal and 50 wealthy watch aficionados will thus wrap the new RM 027-02 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal around their wrists this year, a time only model with a tourbillon escapement that pushes the boundaries of Fine Watchmaking one step further into the 21st century.

The most impressive innovation of this $800,000 watch is that the skeletonised baseplate has been fused with the case band into a single piece engineered into NTPT carbon. This innovative material alone presents some remarkable mechanical properties and excellent resistance to micro-cracks but obviously removing the need to attach the base plate and case band further enhances the rigidity and resistance to impacts, a true asset given that this timepiece will be worn during international tennis matches!

This “unibody” as the brand calls it then supports grade 5 titanium bridges featuring an original 3-dimensional construction and impressive finishes. They have indeed been bevelled, shot-blasted and satin-brushed by hand to enhance the mechanical beauty of the tourbillon movement with 70 hours of power reserve delivered with constant force thanks to a rapidly rotating barrel.

Since the very inception of the brand, Richard Mille has been synonymous with revolutionary movements but the brand is equally famous for their innovative skills in machining extremely rugged tonneau-shaped cases. The 44.77 x 39.70 mm frame of the RM 027-02 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal is no exception as the Manufacture worked with North Thin Ply Technology to develop a new and highly eye-catching material called TPT quartz.

It is composed of hundreds of layers of quartz filaments piled on top of each other. These silica layers are then inserted between layers of NTPT carbon by an automatic positioning system that changes the orientation of the fibres between each layer. During the machining process, the various layers of TPT quartz and NTPT carbon are then revealed at random creating this unique graduated black and white effect.

Needless to say, the interest of this new material is not purely aesthetic: the TPT quartz fibres are exceptionally resistant to high temperatures and are characterized by extreme strength and transparency to electromagnetic waves, qualities that are paramount to Fine Watchmaking.

All we have to wish now is that Rafael Nadal will do well at this French Open (or even win it!) so that we have plenty opportunities to admire this outstanding RM 027-02 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal on the court…

For more information please visit the Richard Mille web site.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: