Richard Mille has presented a whole new model of the timekeeper dedicated to its ambassador Rafael Nadal at the start of this year’s edition of the Roland Garros. The new watch called RM 27-01 is yet another exceptionally light and durable piece which is meant to withstand all of the stresses that occur during a tennis match without the player even being aware of its presence on his wrist. Richard Mille RM 27-01 features modern materials and innovative construction of the case and the movement which are merged into one. The new hand-wound tourbillion is launched in a limited edition of 50 pieces, as it is customary for the series that includes watches with the prices expressed in six figures and the weights expressed in tens of grams.
Rafael Nadal has been an ambassador of Richard Mille since 2010. During this period, the watchmaker has been presenting a new piece every year, somewhere at the start of the French open. Each of these timekeepers has been adapted to the athlete and his sport. It universally features a tourbillion function which is combined with an ultra light housing, as well as an extraordinary resilience.
This year is no different, and the watch aficionados who are also the fans of Rafael Nadal will be pleased to see new RM 27-01 piece which once again carries the same spirit. This is the third timepiece with the RM 27 designation dedicated to the Spaniard and the fifth watch overall to be promoted by Rafa Nadal.
One of its extremely interesting features is the fact that it is set inside a “Unibody” construction. The watch features a skeletonized base-plate of the movement which simultaneously serves as a case-back of the timekeeper. So in a way, the movement and the case are actually melded into one.
The “Unibody” construction was inspired by the breakthroughs from the automotive industry. It includes a segmented base-plate which is made from the combination of two high-tech materials. It supports both the movement and the housing of the model.
This first material used for the base is NTPT carbon-fiber alloy which the brand has premiered in RM 35-01 model, also made for Rafa Nadal. The previously unveiled material was combined with novel Quartz TPT. This high-tech material which the brand developed with the help of the specialized North Thin Ply brand consists of 600 minute layers that were made by separation of silica threads. Next, these exceptionally thin layers whose thickness does not surpass 45 microns are thoroughly soaked into a special white colored resin and then jammed in between layers of NTPT carbon.
The specific process includes automatic changes of the orientation of the layers by 45 degrees. Once this is complete, the material is heated to extreme temperatures and exposed to high pressures. Once the material is created, it gets sent to the Richard Mille facilities for machining that randomly exposes its layers which makes sure that each created component is unique.
Both the fixed bezel of the watch and the case-back are made of this high-tech material which features a distinctive pattern and color. The middle section of the housing is made of titanium.
As for the dimensions of the watch, Richard Mille RM 27-02 is 47.7 mm long, 39.7 mm high and 12.25 mm wide. At the front side of the piece, there is a sapphire crystal with double glare-proofed coating whose thickness measures to 1800 Vickers, The crystal is almost four times thicker at its edges than at its center.
As for the movement, the main-plate made of the combination of modern materials is used as a base for its three arched bridges. These bridges are made of grade 5 titanium in order to be as tough and light as it is possible. They are also embellished with nice decorations since they are are also beveled, shot-blasted and satin-brushed by hand.
By the way, the caliber of the watch has the designation 27-02. The hand-wound movement features a free sprung balance with variable inertia and a terminal curve which all contributes to raised shock-resistance, better punctuality and eaiser servicing.
The caliber integrates 19 jewels in its construction. It is 29.3 mm long, 29.6 mm wide and 7 mm thick. The diameter of its balance is 10 mm, while its tourbillion cage has the width of 12.6 mm. Caliber RM 27-02 operates at the lower frequency of 21600 vph. It also includes features such as Glucodyr balance, Elnivar balance spring and KIF Elastor shock-absorbers.
It should also be said that the caliber features a power reserve that lasts for 70 hours. Regarding its hand-winding system, one should mention the barrel with faster period of rotation, a crown that limits the torque and thus prevents over-winding, as well as its barrel pawl with progressive recoil which is responsible for more efficient winding.