A year after he was forced to pull out of the French Open due to a left wrist injury on the eve of his third-round match, Rafael “Rafa” Nadal returns to the French clay courts in top form as the favourite to win the Roland Garros title (his tenth) this year. As the Spanish bull prepares for his first match against French player Benoit Paire later this evening, accompanying him on his march to potential victory is the new RM 27-03 watch by Richard Mille.
This is the sixth time the watchmaker and tennis player have collaborated on a watch: The first one, RM 027, made an appearance on Nadal’s wrist in 2010 when he was on the Philippe-Chatrier court at Roland-Garros. Weighing less than 20 grams, about the combined weight of 10 paperclips, the watch required a year of trials before it was fit to take on the court and Nadal’s hard hitting moves. Despite breaking seven watches in the process, the pain was worth it — the watch survived the gruelling conditions of the French Open and became a good luck charm for Nadal, who won three Grand Slam titles in that year. Since then, Richard Mille has released a collection of watches that bear Nadal’s name: The one piece only RM 010 Rafa Nadal Foundation (2011), RM 27-01 (2013), RM 35-01 (2014), RM 27-02 (2015) and the latest RM 27-03.
The new RM 27-03, in a bright yellow and red armour that pays tribute to the Spaniard’s roots, features a tourbillon movement and is reputed to withstand shocks of up to 10,000 g’s. This unprecedented resilience against shocks is credited to a few factors, such as the rigid unibody baseplate in Carbon TPT, grade 5 titanium bridges, variable-inertia balance and tourbillon bridges that function as silent blocks. The case and bezel made of Quartz TPT also results in a super light and tough exterior that is strong enough to protect the heart of the movement.
The redesigned calibre offers yet another tip of the hat to Nadal, who is often referred to as the Spanish bull. The movement’s sharp and streamlined skeletonised bridges encircling the barrel, main wheel and tourbillon evoke the head of the bull as it takes charge. Complete with a winding crown that takes the shape of a tennis ball and a bright yellow fabric strap, we hope to see more of this conspicuous ticker at this year’s French Open.