Alexander Zverev’s Ultra-Light Richard Mille RM 67-02 Is Serving Aces
Tennis fans have probably already taken note: world number three Alexander Zverev has been playing his hard-hitting brand of predominately baseline tennis with a Richard Mille on his wrist since becoming an ambassador in 2017 – just like world number one Rafael Nadal, who has been an ambassador of the high-tech watch brand since 2010.
For the first few months of his new ambassadorship Zverev wore an iteration of Nadal’s last watch, the RM 27-02. Incidentally, Olympic medalist and Richard Mille ambassador Wayde van Niekerk also wore the RM 27-02 before being given his own watch (see more about that in Sprinter Wayde Van Niekerk With New Richard Mille RM 67-02 At IAAF World Championships In London).
I wrote an extensive technical description of the RM 27-02 a few years ago, which you can find at Richard Mille RM 27-02 For Rafael Nadal: The Quintessential Sports Tourbillon.
But now Zverev has his own version of the RM 67-02, which he debuted right on his wrist at the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open as he sped through the tournament week in May without even dropping so much as a single set.
The clay-court Madrid tournament is not only distinguished by being staged in Nadal’s home country; this tournament boasts what is most likely the most interesting (and valuable) trophy in the tennis world. Find out more about that in Rafael Nadal, The World’s No. 1 Tennis Player; The Richard Mille RM 27-01, The World’s Most Expensive Sports Watch; And The Ion Tiriac Trophy, The World’s Most Complicated Tennis Trophy.
Zverev journeyed to the Italian Open in Rome the following week (May 14-20, 2018) as the defending champion and ended up losing to Nadal in a close all-Richard Mille final.
The incredible lightness of the Richard Mille RM 67-02
Like Nadal and all of Richard Mille’s other sports ambassadors, Zverev is obligated by contract to wear his watch while playing on court. And like the others before him, he has found that these practically-lighter-than-air timepieces are hardly noticeable on the wrist while they play: indeed, the RM 67-02 weighs no more than 32 grams! Strap included!
The RM 67-02 is the lightest automatic watch that Richard Mille produces. And it’s the flattest watch the high-tech brand manufactures. In case you were wondering, the lightest watch Richard Mille produces altogether is the manually wound RM 27-02 for Rafael Nadal.
The RM 67-02 largely thanks its lightness to its case made of TPT carbon and red quartz TPT – TPT, which stands for “thin ply technology” being a composite material created by stacking 600 45-micron layers of silica and adding resin before heating to 120°C (so that the resin flows between the layers, “gluing” them together) and machining.
When the materials cool down again, the resin hardens to create a fused, solid, light material for the case. The machining is done in Richard Mille’s own case factory in Switzerland.
This process and material, developed in partnership with Saint-Gobain Quartz and Advalite, is proprietary to Richard Mille in the watch industry. Mille’s team led the design and validation of the process and was consequently awarded with the JEC World 2016 Innovation Award.
Joshua Munchow discusses this material at length (with more technical detail than you’ll possibly ever want to know) in Surprising Use Of Quartz: Richard Mille RM 011 Red TPT Quartz Automatic Flyback Chronograph.
Richard Mille RM 67-02 details
The RM 67-02 is currently allotted to five of Richard Mille’s athlete ambassadors: French skier Alexis Pinturault, French World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier, Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim, South African sprinter Wayde van Niekerk, and German tennis player Alexander Zverev. Two unique prototypes are also currently touring the Formula 1 circus thanks to McLaren driver Fernando Alonso and rookie Sauber driver Charles Leclerc, who allow Richard Mille to use their wrists as laboratories in search of future technical solutions.
Each version is specially color coded for the athlete in question. Van Niekerk’s, for example, is crafted in the bright colors of the South African flag. And Zverev’s obviously reflects the colors of the German flag: “schwarz, rot, gold” (black, red, and gold).
This RM 67-02’s dial elements have been coated with DLC and hand-painted in the colors of the German flag. The design is very striking with the bright red and yellow against the black and grey of the case and movement elements. The dial includes luminous dots for hour markers as well as luminous hand tips, making this watch also legible at night.
But perhaps the most exciting “new” element that Richard Mille developed for this line is the elastic strap now known at the company as the “comfort band.” The comfort band is presently worn by the athletes of the Richard Mille ambassador family as it offers a real alternative to the double-closure Velcro that Nadal, for example, previously wore on his watches beginning with the RM 027 and the honeycomb polyurethane strap on the RM 035 Chronofiable Rafael Nadal.
The entirely seamless, non-slip comfort band – the result of Richard Mille’s engineers researching into the lightness, support, and sensation transmission of sports shoes – offers reinforced elasticity and perfectly fits the contours of each athlete’s individual wrist thanks to its special weave, which requires no closure or buckle. Titanium reinforcement inserts are placed where the strap joins the case, ensuring longevity.
With Zverev having played a nearly perfect clay court season going into the 2018 Roland Garros tournament in Paris – one of the four Grand Slams – it’s probably also safe to say that he considers his Richard Mille watch as much of a lucky charm as Nadal does his.
For more information please visit www.richardmille.com/en/collections/rm-67-02-2.
Quick Facts Richard Mille RM 67-02
Case: 38.7 x 7.8 mm, TPT carbon and red quartz TPT
Movement: automatic Caliber CRMA7 with plates and bridges in Grade 5 titanium, 50-hour power reserve, variable geometry rotor in TPT carbon and white gold, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, variable inertia balance
Functions: hours, minutes
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Richard Mille RM 27-02 For Rafael Nadal: The Quintessential Sports Tourbillon
Rafael Nadal, The World‘s No.1 Tennis Player; The Richard Mille RM 27-01, The World’s Most Expensive Sports Watch; And The Ion Tiriac Trophy, The World’s Most Complicated Tennis Trophy
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