This year’s tennis calendar (and the sports world in general) has been seriously disrupted a consequence of COVID-19. Many players decided not to compete in events and even Wimbledon closed its doors for the first time since World War II in 1945. To add to the mix World number 1 Novak Djokovic was disqualified from the US Open for hitting female line judge with a tennis ball. Whilst this was happening Rafael Nadal was relaxing on his new 80 Sunreef Power catamaran off the coast of Mallorca. Presumably, he missed the US open in preparation for Roland Garros. The 33-year old ‘King of Clay’ has dominated the French Open and is pursuing an unrivalled 12th title.
Certainly, the title of the greatest all-time tennis player is up for debate. However, in the world of watch brand ambassadors, Richard Mille wins hands down. This year the luxury watchmaker celebrates a 10-year partnership with Rafael Nadal. To commemorate the event, they have unveiled an amazing watch called the RM27-04 Tourbillion Rafael Nadal. At the time of writing the review, Rafa is wearing this magnificent piece on the court at Roland Garros.
Richard Mille is synonymous with creating extraordinary timepieces for wealthy clients. In a similar manner to Hublot, they also have focused strongly on brand ambassadors (mainly sports professionals) to sell their watches. The RM27-04 Tourbillion Rafael Nadal is an exceptionally distinctive and lightweight timepiece. For this model, Richard Mille has developed (in collaboration with Biwi SA) an exclusive material called TitaCarb®. Essentially It is a high-performance reinforced with 38.5% carbon fibre with a tensile strength of 370 MPa, (3,700 kg/cm2).
Visually the RM27-04 Tourbillion Rafael Nadal has a bold industrial appearance that should appeal to serious collectors. The dial is dominated by a micro blasted string mesh l held in place by two 5N gold PVD treated turnbuckles. This characteristic replicates the strings of a tennis racket. The framework also protects the exposed calibre RM27-04, which is designed to withstand accelerations of over 12,000 g’s. Certainly, these claims are impressive and make for great marketing spin. However, I wonder how many wealthy clients will ever test this mechanisms capacity.