Richard Mille Unveils RM 27-04 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal
A lightweight fashion watch with big numbers.
Designed for the 10th anniversary of the collaboration between Richard Mille and Spanish tennis champion Rafael Nadal, the RM 27-04 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal is an ultra-light, ultra-exotic and ultra-expensive mechanical watch.
Equipped with a hand-wound movement suspended from a dense network of steel cables within the case, the RM 27-04 has the greatest shock resistance of any Richard Mille watch, approximately 12,000 grams. Its case is carbon composite, which, combined with a skeletonized movement, means it weighs just a few sheets of paper.
While the recent RM 72-01 chronograph is a departure from Richard Mille’s usual – it features a new in-house movement with an unusual double-oscillating pinion structure – the RM 27-04 is very much in the spirit of the brand .
The RM 27-04 is a more extreme version of what Richard Mille has done before, with more cables, more skeletonization and more advanced composite materials. It’s also $1 million, both up and down. Judging by the brand, the RM 27-04 is a successful product in concept and execution.
But more broadly, Richard Mille has been focusing on this type of watch for years, so the RM 27-04 is not that exciting or interesting.
strung like a racket
The RM 27-04 weighs only 30 grams including the strap – roughly equivalent to six sheets of A4 paper – the RM 27-04 adopts the cable suspension movement concept first used in the RM 27-01 – and goes further.
Like a tennis racket, the RM 27-04 movement is held in place by a mesh of interwoven, braided steel wires measuring just 0.27mm in diameter. The wire is first secured by a rose gold turnbuckle at 5 o’clock, then crisscrossed, in and out of the bezel 38 times, and finally secured with another gold turnbuckle at 10 o’clock – all done by the watchmaker.
The movement, in turn, is fastened to the wire mesh by five titanium hooks, which are screwed onto the underside of the baseplate.
According to Richard Mille, the wire suspension structure gives the movement an excellent shock resistance of over 12,000 grams. By comparison, the navigation circuit inside a 155mm howitzer shell can withstand 15,500 grams (according to Defense Contract L3 on Wikipedia).
In traditional Richard Mille style, the case is carbon composite – carbon fibre suspended in polymer. This time, it is a new composite material called TitaCarb, which is characterized by a relatively high content of carbon fiber, which accounts for 38.5% of its volume. The case is a single piece, and after the movement is installed, both crystals are directly fixed on the case.
Richard Mille RM 27-04 Tourbillon Raphael Nadal
Diameter: 38.40mm x 47.25mm
Thickness: 11.40 mm
Material: TitaCarb (carbon fiber composite)
Water resistance: 50 m
Functions: Hours, minutes and tourbillon regulator
Winding: Manual winding
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 38 hours
Strap: Fabric with Velcro closure