Over the past couple of months when I had the RM033 around, event invites and travel programs worked out in a manner that I was on the road a lot and thus meeting many new people — mostly journalists working from the opinion or fashion business, but also watch industry insiders. On these occasions, once everybody is beyond the “How was your flight?” Round of fiddling small talk, things come to either complimenting the readily identified iconic view of the individual sitting nearby, or, if it looks interesting at all, the ever-green silence-breaker question arises: “So, What Watch Are You Wearing? “With the RM011, I was barely ever asked this question. Back in Hong Kong I had been greeted twice with “Ooh, you’re wearing a costly watch!” Being shouted at me — and in other, more discreet settings, nevertheless everyone with anything related to the watch industry understood more or less what the watch was. The Richard Mille Watches Rafael Nadal Limited Edition Replica RM033 is a very different story.Soon after beginning his brand from the early 2000s, Richard Mille known and also good discipline followed the (not-so-)secret recipe into luxury watch brand success: be daring and immediately recognizable. I mean, just look at any one of the most successful luxury watches ever produced. Take the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak as a most fitting example: that the Royal Oak was dumb expensive in 1972, but had an exterior unique enough that wealthy people consciously or subconsciously started (and very much continue) to gravitate towards it since they understand or at least feel how the Royal Oak, just like no other watch at the time and still few today, exhibits surplus wealth. For some enjoyable reading on a related subject, check out this article on the way the most famous watches can be realized just for their hand designs.
On Rafael Nadal’s wrist during the ongoing French Open at Roland Garros is the Richard Mille RM 27-02, an ultra-light wristwatch that’s the newest in a line of timepieces made for the tennis champion, succeeding the RM 27-01. In typical Richard Mille style, the RM 27-02 has a skeleton movement, but for the first time built on an unusual one-piece base plate and case band, while the case is made of an exotic carbon-quartz composite combining NTPT carbon and TPT Quartz.
The case is made from two composites combined, giving it a striped look that has been recently fashionable. TPT Quartz (TPT stands for “Thin Ply Technology”) is a material developed by North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT), a Swiss composite specialist that makes components for race cars and airplanes.
Essentially strands of quartz fibres intermingled with silica threads set in a white resin, the white TPT quartz is layered repeatedly at 45 degree angles with NTPT carbon (which form the grey stripes in the case), a form of carbon composite with a distinctive woodgrain appearance.
The layered NTPT carbon and NTPT quartz is set in resin then baked in an autoclave, a high pressure oven that uses steam to use its contents. Finally it’s machined into shape. The resulting composite is light and strong, but more importantly conspicuous and different.
The other notable feature is the base plate, which is actually one piece with the case band. Made of NTPT carbon, the base plate is manufactured in a manner similar to the case. It’s skeletonised, with the movements parts like the titanium bridges mounted on top.
|The one-piece case band and base plate
|The tourbillon bridge
The RM 27-02 measures 39.7mm in diameter and 47.77mm long. The movement is hand-wound with a 70 hour power reserve.
And the price is US$775,000 and SFr734,500 before taxes, or S$1,076,500 including Singapore tax.