While sporting ventures of all sorts abound in today’s luxury watch business, lots of the highest-profile sponsor associations today come through the area of tennis. Brands from Rolex to Seiko have created connections with tennis stars, but among the longest running and most prestigious ventures in the sport is involving Richard Mille RM 11-03 Jean Todt Replica and Spanish ace Rafael Nadal. 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of this sponsorship, and also to celebrate Richard Mille has introduced a brand new iteration of its RM 27 series with a new carbon-titanium case material, revolutionary woven cable skeleton dial, and also an extraordinarily shock resistant tourbillon.
While the 38.4mm by 47.25mm instance of the Richard Mille RM 27-04 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal follows the new signature tonneau layout, the material is a new proprietary mix. Dubbed TitaCarb from Richard Mille, this polyamide includes 38.5 percent carbon fiber, and provides fracture resistance almost identical to stainless steel along with enormous tensile strength. Developed with the rigors of professional tennis in your mind, TitaCarb is also incredibly lightweight, allowing for an overall weight of just 30 grams including the strap. In media images, the substance gives a muted, almost dusty brown tone reminiscent of milk chocolate, which might prove to be contentious. The case also provides 50 meters of water resistance, together with a sapphire display caseback.
It’s rare in a skeletonized tourbillon watch the tourbillon does not take clear centre stage on the dialup, but for your Richard Mille RM 27-04 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal there is yet another clear visual standout. Driving home the tennis theme, the skeleton construction of this movement is held in place by a single 0.27millimeter steel cable, hand stitched throughout the interior bezel at the exact same manner as a tennis racket. Far from being a straightforward visual callback to the game, this woven cable is a actual structural element of this motion, and despite the delicate appearance that the brand maintains the suspended movement could withstand impacts of over 12,000 Gs — perfect for the shock-intensive surroundings of the tennis court. As a design element, however, the woven cable seem is likely to be divisive. Outside of this woven cable, the remainder of the skeleton dial layout is quite standard for Richard RM 011 AO RG-CA, with angular, stylized skeleton arrow hands complemented by small triangular lumed indices incorporated to the rehaut.