For the 6th edition of the ONLY Watch auction, Richard Mille and Rafael Nadal are partnering up once again to donate the RM 27-02 tourbillon prototype for the auction taking place in Geneva on November 7th, 2015. This unique piece has accompanied “Rafa” to all the biggest Grand Slam tournaments, from the French and U.S. Opens all the way to Wimbledon. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to research against Duchenne muscular dystrophy. With the Rafael Nadal RM 27-02 tourbillon prototype, the Swiss brand unveiled the very first skeletonized baseplate to be known as “unibody”. Inspired by the bodywork of racecars and machined from NTPT carbon, this construction increases rigidity and shock-resistance, and seamlessly fuses the case middle and the baseplate, eliminating the need to join the two components together.
A true technological feat requiring knowledge and mastery of micro machining, this sculptural baseplate is enhanced by three-dimensional grade-5 titanium bridges, which bring titanium and carbon together to offer unparalleled strength and a depth of vision that is rare in watchmaking. The RM27-02 caliber regulated by a tourbillon can resist impacts of up to 5,000Gs. Its bridges support an impressive mechanical heart, which can run for over 70 hours without detriment to its regularity thanks to a rapidly rotating barrel that delivers constant power from beginning to end of operation. Worn during the 2015 season by the Majorcan tennis star, this unique piece has enabled Richard Mille to finalize the development of this exceptional caliber, whose case features highly original materials such as NTPT carbon and TPT quartz.
With a maximum thickness of 45 microns, the layers of TPT quartz and NTPT carbon are superimposed using an automatic positioning system that modifies the orientation of the fibers between each layer by 45°. The component is then heated to 120°C in an autoclave similar to those used for aeronautics parts. The various layers of TPT quartz and NTPT carbon are revealed, like the heart of the baseplate, at random during the machining process, ensuring that each component is unique. The bezel and solid case back in NTPT carbon / TPT quartz are then fixed to the unibody baseplate by 12 spline screws in grade-5 titanium. A sapphire crystal coated with anti-reflective treatment perfects the timepiece’s unique composition. The RM 27-02 holds a special place in the brand’s history, as it marks a decisive evolution that has conditioned the design of future Richard Mille timepieces.