Rafael Nadal is one of the most successful tennis stars of the last 20 years. He’s won everything it’s possible to win in his sport, has broken one record after the other, and even has an asteroid named after him. Nadal is also a star in the world of watches, and a proud partner of one of the hottest watch brands around: Richard Mille.
How It All Started
Richard Mille, founder of the luxury watch brand of the same name, has been a fan of Nadal and his unconventional playing style for years. His first contact to the Mallorca-born tennis star was in 2008, when he proposed creating a custom-made watch for Nadal that could endure the grind of a tennis match. As Mille later recalled, this would take some convincing. Nadal at the time was only an occasional watch wearer, and had never even considered wearing one while playing. Mille didn’t let up, however, and eventually was able to make Nadal a believer in his idea.
Fast-forward to two years later, when the Nadal signature model RM027 was unveiled to the public. Just before that, Richard Mille couldn’t help himself, and decided to have a little fun with the tennis star, presenting Nadal with an extra-heavy platinum watch, and enjoying the confused look on his face. Since then, the RM27, of which there are now four additional models, has become one of Nadal’s trademarks, and can be admired on his wrist at every match.
Which Richard Mille does Rafael Nadal wear during his matches?
“The RM27-04 is Nadel’s current go-to model. Like all Richard Mille Nadal watches, the RM27-04 is amazingly light, weighing in at a mere 30 grams, and that’s including the strap! Featuring a manual-winding tourbillon caliber, its case is constructed of Richard Mille’s proprietary TitaCarb, a high-performance polyamide that, despite its low weight, delivers a remarkable tensile strength of
3,700 kg/cm², or the equivalent of construction steel. The bridges and baseplate of the in-house movement inside the RM27-04 are intricately skeletonized, and the mesh structure of the dial clearly recalls the strings on a tennis racket. This high-tech timepiece can withstand accelerations of up to 12,000 Gs. For comparison, astronauts have to withstand a maximum of 4 Gs upon liftoff in a rocket.”
A Richard Mille timepiece that unquestionably turned more than a few heads was of course the RM27-03. Manufactured in yellow and red, the colors of the Spanish flag, it’s the flashiest watch in the series. This timepiece is constructed out of Richard Mille’s proprietary Quartz TPT, achieved by alternating ultra-fine layers of silica and synthetic resin. A subsequent 120°C (248°F) heating process produces a material that is extremely hard and scratch-proof, while also being very light and UV-resistant. The layering process also gives the watch a one-of-a-kind texture, turning each timepiece into a unique specimen.
The Richard Mille RM27-01 from 2013 is the lightest model in this series, tipping the scales at just under 19 grams, and that’s including the strap. The watchmaker achieves this via the use of carbon fiber for the case, along with titanium, aluminum, and lithium for the movement, the latter of which (like all calibers in this series) features a tourbillon, and can withstand accelerations of up to 5,000 Gs.
Along with watches from the RM27 collection, you’ll also spot Nadal with the RM035, RM35-01, or RM35-02 on his wrist from time to time. These timepieces are also extremely durable, and constructed of unconventional materials like Carbon TPT or magnesium-aluminum alloys. In contrast to other Richard Mille collections, these watches do not feature a tourbillon, although some of them feature automatic movements.
How much does a Richard Mille Rafael Nadal watch cost?
With market prices between $1.4 million and $2.1 million, the RM27 series features some of the most expensive two-hand watches out there. Compared to their prices upon release – all of which were in the mid-to-upper six-figure realm – prices for these rare timepieces have nearly doubled, a result of the incredible amount of time and resources required to develop and manufacture them, not to mention their rarity. Richard Mille produces only 50 pieces of each model, making them a very attractive option for collectors and enthusiasts with the financial resources to invest in one.
Compared to the RM27 series, the RM35 Nadal watches may be a better option in terms of price and availability. Depending on the model, plan to spend anywhere between $380,000 to $685,000.
Unconventional and remarkable, Rafael Nadal and Richard Mille are an unbeatable doubles team through and through, with both players being an exceptional phenomenon in their respective fields. Due to their astronomical, however, the horological dream team of the Nadal models – and Richard Mille watches in general – will, for most of us, remain in the realm of dreams.
Find out more about Richard Mille here: Richard Mille – The Story Behind the Watchmaker to the Stars.