This weekend Rafael Nadal capped off two weeks of incredible play when he took home the Western & Southern Open title in Cincinnati, Ohio. Nadal, who defeated John Isner 7-6 (8) 7-6 (3) in the final, was of course wearing his lucky Richard Mille Tourbillon RM 027-01. In honor of his victory we’re taking a look back at this timepiece.
It makes sense that the RM 27-01 suits Nadal perfectly; after all, luxury watchmaker Richard Mille designed the piece especially for the tennis superstar. Inspired by suspended civil engineering infrastructures, the ultra-light carbon composite watch (which weighs in at just 19 grammes, Velcro® strap included) has a baseplate attached to the case by four braided steel cables just 0.35 mm in diameter. This structure combines strength and flexibility to protect the movement, which weighs just 3.5 grammes, thanks to the use of grade 5 titanium for the baseplate and tourbillon carriage, and of aluminium-lithium for the barrel bridges and gear-trains.
These cables are held taut by means of an ingenious mechanism of tensioners (located at 3 and 9 o’clock) and pulleys, which act like pylons positioned at the four corners of the movement. Each cable is fixed to the tensioner, and passes over the upper pulley and into the movement, before returning via the lower pulley to finish in the lower flange. Once the watchmaker has threaded the cables, he tensions them by rotating the central tensioner ring with a special tool. Designed to stay in suspension inside its case, this exceptional caliber can withstand accelerations of over 5,000 G.
Only 50 pieces of the limited edition RM 27-01, which comes with a Velcro® strap, were produced.
We can’t wait to see this piece on the courts again at the US Open!
Photos courtesy Richard Mille.