Richard Mille

Shifting gears with Richard Mille : The RM 35-03 Automatic Rafael Nadal

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.

Richard Mille
Rafael Nadal sporting the new RM 35-03 Automatic

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.

Richard Mille
The blue Quartz TPT® with a white Quartz TPT® caseband version

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.

Richard Mille
RM 35-03 Automatic Rafael Nadal – The butterfly effect

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.

Richard Mille
The white Quartz TPT® and Carbon TPT® with a Carbon TPT® caseband version

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.

Richard Mille
The “selector” that enables you to shift between winding (W), neutral (N) and time-setting (H) activities.

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!

Richard Mille
The audacious RM 35-03 Automatic Rafael Nadal

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.

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