Rafael Nadal Wears A Richard Mille RM 27-04 As He Plays In The Australian Open 2022
If you’ve been watching the 2022 Australian Open (like I have), you may be wondering about the prominent watch seen on Rafael Nadal’s right wrist (he’s left-handed), which has been a constant companion no matter what he’s doing – even while playing his grueling matches on court. And Nadal has had some grueling matches at this first Grand Slam tournament of the year, including the five-set thriller against Denis Shapovalov that allowed him to advance to the semifinals.
Nadal has been an ambassador for Richard Mille since 2010, a fruitful partnership that started with him putting on the RM 027 RN, which he admitted took some getting used to wearing on court. The Swiss watchmaker has since issued several timepieces in Nadal’s honor, with the million-dollar RM 27-04 arriving in September 2020 in honor of the tenth anniversary of the personal partnership between the Spanish campeón and the innovative watch brand.
Richard Mille RM 27-04
Inspired by the way a tennis racquet gets strung, the movement of the RM 27-04 is entirely supported by a micro-blasted mesh 855 square millimeters in surface, comprising a single cable of braided steel measuring just 0.27 mm in diameter. The steel cable is anchored to a turnbuckle at 5 o’clock, and then “weaved” to create “cross strings” above and below main strings. The cable passes through the hollow grade 5 titanium flange 38 times before ending its run at another turnbuckle at 10 o’clock.
The movement is positioned diagonally, connected to the mesh by five grade 5 polished titanium hooks coated with red gold PVD extending from the back of the base plate. Vibration dampeners have been added to the tourbillon chatons, barrel, and hands – much like the dampeners that players add to their strings around the 6 o’clock position for much the same purpose.
This construction is unprecedented in the world of watchmaking.
As all the Nadal-inspired and -dedicated watches by Richard Mille have been, the RM 27-04 is ultra-light in weight – only 30 grams including the strap – and offers tremendous shock resistance. The movement, which includes a one-minute tourbillon, is suspended within the case and can resist accelerations of more than 12,000 Gs, a record for Richard Mille.
The case is also innovative in its use of the exclusive material TitaCarb, a high-performance polyamide that has been strengthened with 38.5 percent carbon fiber. This additional carbon fiber gives TitaCarb exceptional tensile strength, making it one of the most resistant polymers in the world.
Rafael Nadal and the Richard Mille RM 27-04 at the Australian Open 2022
When Nadal won Roland Garros in 2020, it not only marked his thirteenth French Open title, it also marked his twentieth Grand Slam title – a historically important leading position he is tied for with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. A win at the Australian Open 2022 would put him ahead of his rivals in the history books, both of whom are not present at the tournament. Forty-year-old Federer is currently out with injuries and Djokovic was famously deported from Australia before the tournament began (see The 2022 Australian Open Begins . . . Without World Number One (And Hublot Ambassador) Novak Djokovic).
Being as idiosyncratically inclined as Nadal is, the prevailing assumption right now is that the 35-year-old is wearing the RM 27-04 in Melbourne as a good luck charm; he was wearing it as he won Roland Garros 2020. The reason I bring this up is that Richard Mille introduced a new “Rafa watch” last month – the RM 35-03, a new “baby Nadal” without tourbillon – which has been notably absent on his wrist during the tournament.
All I have left to say is, “¡Vamos Rafa!”
For more information on this stupendous watch, please visit www.richardmille.com/collections/rm-27-04-tourbillon-rafael-nadal.
Quick Facts Richard Mille RM 27-04 Rafael Nadal
Case: 38.4 x 47.25 x 11.40 mm, TitaCarb
Movement: manually wound caliber with one-minute tourbillon; 38-hour power reserve, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency; certified to withstand 12,000 Gs; base plate and bridges in grade 5 titanium, cable-suspension mechanism made of steel string mesh, free-sprung balance with variable inertia, fast-rotating barrel
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: 50 pieces
Price: $1,050,000, available exclusively at Richard Mille boutiques