Not often does one get to peruse such an amazing example of 'haute horlogerie' and a watch that costs as much as a two-bedroom condo in the River North neighborhood of Chicago. Holding this watch and photographing it gave us an adrenaline rush like no other watch we have perused or reviewed. Unlike the rest of the content around the web, our live pictures clearly depict what the watch really looks like in person. The stock images you see everywhere really have nothing to do with the watch in real life.
The Richard Mille RM27-01 Limited Edition Rafael Nadal is not only perfection but the lightest mechanical watch in the world. This watch is available in a limited edition of only 50 pieces and is fitted with a manual winding tourbillon movement with hours, minutes and 19 jewels. The 'tonneau' shaped case, measuring 45.98 mm x 38.90 mm x 10.05 mm, is made of an extremely strong anthracite polymer injected with carbon nanotubes and it features a monocoque construction for improved lightness and firmness. To the touch, the watch almost feels between a hard piece of plastic and a bar of soap. The weight of the movement is approximately 3.5 grams and when fully wound, it provides a power reserve of 45 hours.
The movement is made of titanium and Lital —a lithium alloy containing aluminum, copper, magnesium and zirconium— which provides the mechanism with more flexibility and greater shock resistance. The skeletonized baseplate is attached to the case via four braided steel cables and suspended in the interior by pulleys in order to withstand accelerations of over 5,000Gs. The cables are held by a mechanism of tensioners at 3 and 9 o'clock and once the watchmaker has threaded the cables, he tensions them by rotating the central tensioner ring using a special tool.
The watch features no dial as it is unnecessary. One can contemplate the beauty of this calibre and its tourbillon for hours while time can be told by looking at the hands with their red tips. The flange is made of aluminum with hour markers filled with luminescent material in yellow and the Richard Mille name is written in red letters with a yellow border reminiscent of the colors of the flag of Rafa Nadal's home country, Spain. The red ring on the crown rounds out the sporty look of this watch and provides exceptional contrast along with the red tips on the hands and the red on the Richard Mille writing.
The crystal is a Grilamid TR-90 with anti-reflective coating on both sides and a thickness of 1.20mm and 4.01mm at the edges and is perfectly clear and resistant enough to protect the advanced calibre inside this timepiece.
The Rafael Nadal Limited Edition RM27-01 is fitted with a very unique nylon strap lined with a rubber composite that is fitted with a velcro fastener on the 6 o'clock side. The strap seems very comfortable just like on any other Richard Mille watch.
In summary, this timepiece is not only unique but a true example of 'haute horlogerie' and extreme watchmaking. Right when we put our hands on this timepiece, we knew why it costs as much as it does. It's almost unfathomable that such a lightweight timepiece —weighing approximately 15 grams in total— could hold such tremendous horological advancements inside and have such a steep price tag. Now, if you have the money to buy one, all we can say is 'just do it'. This timepiece is like nothing else you'll ever see.
Sticker Price $690,000 USD. For more info on Richard Mille click here.