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RAFA ROCKS A NEW $1 MILLION RICHARD MILLE WATCH

Luxury Swiss watchmakers Richard Mille continues to celebrate its ongoing 10 year partnership with Spanish tennis champion Rafael Nadal with a new limited-edition timepiece the RM 27-04 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal ...

Building on a partnership of pushing the boundaries of time and achieving the impossible the latest timepiece the RM 27-04 recently worn by Rafa during the French Open can only be classed as a marvel of engineering. Tough, endurable and able to float in water (!) the RM 027 is the fifth incarnation of this fabulous partnership


The baseplate and bridges are crafted from grade 5 titanium, a biocompatible, highly corrosion-resistant and remarkably rigid alloy, which guarantees the perfect functioning of the gear train. The alloy is 90% titanium, 6% aluminium and 4% vanadium. The use of grade 5 titanium combined with a black PVD treatment lends the whole assembly great rigidity, as well as precise surface flatness. This combination enhances the alloy’s mechanical properties, which explains why it is frequently used in the aerospace, aeronautics and automobile industries.

As you can imagine the skeletonised baseplate and the bridges were subjected to demanding and extensive validation tests to ensure they meet the most rigorous strength requirements. This calibre is based on a microblasted string mesh that is brand new to watchmaking. Formed from a single woven steel cable measuring just 0.27 mm in diameter and held in place by two turnbuckles featuring a 5N gold PVD treatment, this 855 mm2 string mesh supports the entire calibre.


Inspired by the process used to string a tennis racket, the watchmaker starts by securing the steel cable to the turnbuckle at 5 o’clock.

He then proceeds to weave the mesh structure, stringing each of the main strings one after the other before beginning to interlace the cross strings. Weaving over and under the main strings, the cable enters the hollowed-out titanium flange 38 times before ultimately finishing its journey in the turnbuckle at 10 o’clock. The regular angles formed by these strings limit excessive friction and localised wear on the main strings during the many impacts sustained over the course of a tennis match.


The movement is then connected to the string mesh via five polished grade 5 titanium hooks with a 5N gold PVD treatment, which originate at the back of the baseplate.


Designed to stay in suspension within its case, the calibre RM27-04 can withstand accelerations of over 12,000 g's : a new resistance record at Richard Mille.


Just 50 RM 27-04 watches were made and are available exclusively at Richard Mille boutiques worldwide for $1,050,000.


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