Richard Mille has partnered with Rafael Nadal for a $535,000 Limited Edition timepiece. It is a complex tourbillon mechanical watch that weighs just 20 grams (with the strap). An incredibly light timepiece, which boggles the mind given its complex movement (which itself weights just 3.83 grams). Amazing! Probably the lightest luxury watch of its type ever.
Adding to the the wow factor is the intended durability of the watch. The piece marks the official partnership between Richard Mille and tennis player Rafael Nadal – who will actually wear the watch during his tennis matches. Watch lovers understand that this last point is bound to raise questions. An ultra light weight watch, with a tourbillon, made to survive the abusive stress of professional tennis.
A few years ago Tag Heuer was proud of its special golf watch for Tiger Woods, made to be worn (and be comfortable) while playing golf. This new announcement by Richard Mille makes the prior Tag Heuer watch seem almost irrelevant. Though there is a price. The RM027 Tourbillon watch will cost $525,000 and be limited to just 50 pieces.
The case itself is 48mm by 39.7mm in size, and just 11.85mm thick. It is made from a composite of mostly carbon. Richard Mille isn’t clear on the crystal, but it is probably something other than sapphire, and is said to have a high degree of durability and flexibility. The watch strap is a flexible polycarbonate.
All the magic is in the movement. It is a manually wound caliber RM 027 with a tourbillon and 48 hours of power reserve. It is with a titanium baseplate, and bridges made from something called aluminum lithium (LITAL). The exotic metal alloy is extremely light and used for some high-profile industrial or aeronautical uses.
By using interesting materials that are light and strong, Richard Mille has succeeded in developing arguably one of the most important luxury sport watches ever. With its ultra light weight and durability, Richard Mille should continue to be looked at as a maker of “useful” luxury watches for the highly privileged watch lover.