History has it that back in 2008 when Nadal first met Richard Mille, he refused to wear a watch, well especially on court. Shortly thereafter, the RM027 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal edition was on his wrist and is almost like a second skin for Rafa now. This year the Maison that is know for breaking your bank account has introduced another technical first – The RM 35-03 Rafael Nadal with a patented user friendly rotor.
Following three extensive years of development, Richard Mille has coaxed from its chrysalis this new system for movement winding which spreads its wings in the RM 35-03. While the Calibre RMAL1 of the RM 35-02 already possessed a variable geometry rotor, the new butterfly rotor of the RM 35-03 allows the wearer to directly interact with the rotor’s geometry, controlling the movement’s winding speed based on lifestyle and activity levels, for a complication that is playful and practical in equal measure. Almost like a driver being able to adjust the transmission style from city use to racetrack by activating the sports mode.
The butterfly rotor consists of two grade 5 titanium arms mounted with heavy metal weight segments, activated by a separate gear train via a dedicated push-piece. In their initial position, the weight segments create a radial displacement of the gravitational centre outward, converting your every movement into the torque needed to rewind the barrel. Press the push-piece at 7 o’clock, however, and the rotor’s gears spread the two weights to a 180° angle. The gravitational centre is aligned and the rotor returns to a balanced position, suspending the winding process and thereby preventing excessive winding of the movement.
In shifting between modes—from the normal mode that winds the barrel spring to the ‘sports mode’ that suspends the rotor’s activity—pressure on the push-piece prompts the function to deliver haptic feedback, allowing you to actually feel the weight segments springing apart on your wrist. A winding indicator at 6 o’clock on the dial, shows whether the oscillating weight is active (ON) or not (OFF). Rounding off the movement commands is a function selector. At a press of the push-piece at 2 o’clock, you could shift between winding (W), neutral (N) and time-setting (H) activities.
Graceful and ergonomic in its lines, the RM 35-03 is available in two versions—blue Quartz TPT® with a white Quartz TPT® caseband and white Quartz TPT® and Carbon TPT® with a Carbon TPT® caseband—that display cut-outs inspired by the RM 27-04 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal. Entirely skeletonised, the movement can be admired from both sides thanks to sapphire crystals on the front and back. The baseplate and bridges, crafted of grade 5 titanium with a grey electroplasma and PVD treatment, further accentuate the bold visual statement of this watch. The openwork hands sweep along the outer flange, also in microblasted grade 5 titanium, punctuated with the numbers 3, 6, 9 and 12 and slanted inward towards the movement to enhance depth.
Priced at $220,000 we’d say, yes it might break your bank yet again but there are a few aspects that make it worth it. To begin with, it is a Richard Mille! Their use of different materials yet maintaining the iconic aesthetics and technical prowess of their watches is certainly noteworthy. And with the RM 35-03 Automatic Rafael Nadal, the Masion has most definitely turned it up a notch by introducing a complication that the wearer can actually interact with!
An extension to the original RM035 watches, the elegant exterior of the RM 35-03 Automatic Rafael Nadal visually highlights the technical know-how of Richard Mille . With this new model and this amazing ‘butterfly rotor’ the you can now truly experience your watch as an extension of your body.