This new model fits in perfectly with the previous watch collections created for the Spanish champion. It is unique in more ways than one, as it also marks the 10th anniversary of the partnership between Rafael Nadal and Richard Mille.
Initially a purely professional rapport, the collaboration between the 13-time French Open winner and the founder of the brand that bears his name has since turned into a solid friendship. A ‘ very special’ relationship, according to the Majorcan, this friendship grows constantly from their mutual trust and admiration for their respective careers.
The new Ace
Reconciling lightness and resistance has always been our challenge in developing timepieces for Rafael Nadal. Weighing in at just 30 grams including the strap, the RM 27-04 is no exception to this rule.
Two men, each with a dream. A dream of pushing back the boundaries of time, or those of performance. One of them on clay, keeping his eyes on the ball; the other with his face turned to time itself, his heart pounding. Yet both combine technique, harmony and accuracy while resisting the hard knocks, and inevitable shocks of sporting life. For Rafael Nadal, ‘unstoppable’ is the word that best expresses the spirit of Richard Mille and his teams. Achieving the impossible. This has been the brand’s credo for the past decade in designing the unique pieces worn by the Spaniard on the world’s tennis courts. And the latest product of their partnership, the RM 27-04, is no exception to this golden rule.
RM 27-04 Manual Winding Tourbillon Rafael Nadal
Manual winding tourbillon movement with hours and minutes.
Limited edition of 50 pieces.
Circa 38 hours (± 10%).
The baseplate and bridges are crafted from grade 5 titanium, a biocompatible, highly corrosion-resistant and remarkably rigid alloy, which guarantees the perfect functioning of the gear train.
The alloy is 90% titanium, 6% aluminium and 4% vanadium. The use of grade 5 titanium combined with a black PVD treatment lends the whole assembly great rigidity, as well as precise surface flatness. This combination enhances the alloy’s mechanical properties, which explains why it is frequently used in the aerospace, aeronautics and automobile industries.
The skeletonised baseplate and the bridges were subjected to demanding and extensive validation tests to ensure they meet the most rigorous strength requirements
This calibre is based on a microblasted string mesh that is brand new to watchmaking. Formed from a single woven steel cable measuring just 0.27 mm in diameter and held in place by two turnbuckles featuring a 5N gold PVD treatment, this 855 mm2 string mesh supports the entire calibre.
Inspired by the process used to string a tennis racket, the watchmaker starts by securing the steel cable to the turnbuckle at 5 o’clock. He then proceeds to weave the mesh structure, stringing each of the main strings one after the other before beginning to interlace the cross strings. Weaving over and under the main strings, the cable enters the hollowed-out titanium flange 38 times before ultimately finishing its journey in the turnbuckle at 10 o’clock. The regular angles formed by these strings limit excessive friction and localised wear on the main strings during the many impacts sustained over the course of a tennis match.
The movement is then connected to the string mesh via five polished grade 5 titanium hooks with a 5N gold PVD treatment, which originate at the back of the baseplate.
Designed to stay in suspension within its case, the calibre RM27-04 can withstand accelerations of over 12,000 g's : a new resistance record at Richard Mille.
FAST-ROTATING BARREL (6 hours per revolution instead of 7.5 hours)
This type of barrel has the following advantages:
• The phenomenon of periodic internal mainspring adhesion is significantly diminished, thereby increasing performance.
• Provision of an excellent mainspring delta curve with an ideal power reserve/performance and regularity ratio.
FREE-SPRUNG BALANCE WITH VARIABLE INERTIA
A free-sprung balance with variable inertia and a terminal-curve spring better reliability in the event of shocks, movement assembly or disassembly, and guarantees better chronometric results over time.
Vibration dampeners have been added to the tourbillon chatons, the barrel and the hands to help centre the movement during insertion and absorb any vibrations along the string mesh that could disrupt timekeeping.
Dimensions of movement: 32.75 x 28.95 mm
Thickness: 5.85 mm
Tourbillon diameter: 12.30 mm
Balance wheel diameter: 10.00 mm
Number of jewels: 19
Balance: Glucydur®, with 2 arms and 4 setting screws, moment of inertia: 11.50 mg•cm2, angle of lift 53°
Frequency: 3 Hz (21,600 vph)
Balance spring: elinvar by Nivarox®
Shock absorbers: Kif Elastor KE 160 B28
Barrel shafts: nickel-free Chronifer® (DIN x 46 Cr13 + S), with the following characteristics: stainless – non-magnetic – suitable for tempering.
The case is made from a brand new material exclusive to Richard Mille: TitaCarb®. It is a high-performance polyamide that has been reinforced with up to 38.5% carbon fibre by the teams at Richard Mille and at its loyal partner, Biwi SA. Thanks to this injection of carbon, TitaCarb® offers an exceptional tensile strength of 370 MPa, (3,700 kg/cm2).
In addition to its elevated fracture resistance – which is close to that of steel – this material, used in the most demanding industries, is ideal for machining the components of this case. Its solidity and rigidity, coupled with its low thermal expansion coefficient and high resistance to humidity and temperature make it the ideal material for meeting the specifications of a watch intended to venture out on court with Rafael Nadal.
Like all the new materials that Richard Mille develops and introduces to the watchmaking industry, TitaCarb® adheres to the REACH standard, which ensures the safe production and use of chemical substances in European industry.
The case, which is water-resistant to 50 metres thanks to a Nitrile O-ring seal, is assembled using 8 spline screws in grade 5 titanium and 316L stainless steel washers.
• Hand-polished bevelling
• Shot-blasted milled sections
• Stretched upper surfaces
• Shot-blasted surfaces
• Satin-brushed surfaces
• Hand-polished bevelling
• Long strokes
• Matt ‘brouillé’ strokes
• Long strokes on the sides
• Polished sinks
• Diamond-polished sinks
• Circular decorations on the front surfaces
• Rhodium plating (before cutting the teeth)
• Minimal corrections applied to the wheels in order to preserve geometry and performance
This device permits an appreciable winding gain (circa 20%), especially during the start of winding. It also promotes the even distribution of the mainspring’s internal tension.
The central involute profile of the winding-barrel teeth provides an optimal pressure angle of 20°, which promotes effective rotary motion and compensates for possible variations in the operation of the going train. This, in turn, ensures excellent torque transmission and a distinct improvement in performance.
This permits better control of the torque applied to screws during assembly. These screws are therefore unaffected by physical manipulation during assembly or disassembly and age well.