With the exception of Federer and Rolex, Richard Mille and Rafael Nadal have worked together longer than almost any other athlete/watchmaker partner, the difference being that Nadal wears his on the court RM. The latest watch to take full advantage of this partnership is the RM 035-03.
The thing is, Rafa doesn’t actually wear the RM 035 collection on the court. That’s what RM 027 is for. Conversely, the RM 035 uses similar aesthetics and mechanical ingenuity, but with a slightly different format, and the RM 035-03 is the fourth in the sub-series, despite what you might expect from a reference. It also incorporates one of the coolest watch mechanisms the watchmaker has ever seen – the butterfly rotor.
Richard Mille’s tagline has always been “racing on the wrist”. Chassis made of aerospace materials, gear trains that put F1 drivers to shame, and so on. However, one of their most important innovations – the variable geometry rotor – doesn’t really belong in the same field.
The rotor allows the watchmaker to vary and perfect the winding speed of the watch by fine-tuning the rotor. It’s a good idea, but does require well-trained hands to use, and it’s the equivalent of pulling your car into the garage every time you want to adjust the transmission. The butterfly rotors of the new RM 35-03 change that. slightly.
The rotor itself is made of two weighted titanium arms with a dedicated gear train that you can move using the button at 7 o’clock. In standard mode, the movement is wound normally. Press the pusher to pause the winding process by bouncing the weight off, preventing the movement from overwinding if you happen to move a lot. Or you know, play a tennis tournament. You can really feel the process when you press the button.
The usefulness of this feature in everyday wear is debatable (many watches have simpler ways to prevent overwinding), although it’s hard to say it’s not an impressive piece of engineering. At least, it’s an incredibly satisfying feature that holds back Richard Mille’s motorsport inspiration.
The rest of the watch is on par with Richard Mille’s class, modeled after the previous RM 27-04 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal. The chunky, over-machined titanium tonneau case, skeletonized dial with striking bridges and a crown that makes the Big Pilot appear restrained, is top-of-the-line, as we’ve come to expect.
The RM 35-03 Rafael Nadal is available in two versions, a blue quartz TPT with a white strap, and a white quartz TPT and carbon fiber TPT combination. Both are pretty ridiculous. We probably won’t see Rafa wearing it on the court, but you can be sure he will. It suits his temperament. cheap watches online
Model: Richard Mille RM 35-03 Automatic Rafael Nadal
Case/Dial: 43.15mm x 49.95mm Diameter x 13.15mm H, White Quartz TPT® and Carbon Fiber TPT®, Strap Carbon Fiber TPT® or Blue Quartz TPT®, Strap White Quartz TPT®
Waterproof: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: Manufacture movement RMAL2, automatic, 38 jewels frequency
: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 55 hours
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds