Rafael Nadal is playing his second tournament since Wimbledon 2012 this week. (Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal has a new watch. It can be yours for $690,000.
Nadal made waves in 2010 when he entered into a sponsorship agreement with Richard Mille, a Swiss luxury watch company that manufactures luxury watches that retail for no less than $50,000 a piece. That watch, the RM027, was crafted out of carbon-composite as well as titanium and a lithium alloy that is often used in manufacturing aircrafts. Aside from the whopping price tag, the RM027's claim to fame was that it weighed a mere 20 grams and yet its delicate tourbillon styling could withstand the shakes, rattles and rolls of F-1 racers and, in tennis' case, Rafael Nadal's forehand. Oh, and it was once stolen from Nadal's hotel room. Possibly twice if you believe this account from Toronto.
Now the manufacturer has released an update to the watch, called the RM 27-01, which shaves off one gram and jacks up the price to $690,000. As Forbes reports, Nadal will continue to wear the watch on court in a testament to its durability.
If the idea that a tennis player wearing a watch while professionally playing sounds odd to you, then you are correct. Nothing makes less sense than placing a potentially distracting item on the wrist of someone like Rafael Nadal while he is competing. Nevertheless, Nadal still wore it and won. It isn’t clear whether Nadal feels the lightweight nature of the watch deserves credit, but at least one of them is a real pro. Looking at it from a watch lover’s perspective, the situation makes almost as little sense. We aren’t just talking about any ol’ timepiece, but a highly complex mechanical watch with a tourbillon-style escapement. In other words, “delicate.” The idea that a watch like that will be subjected to the shock of a professional sport could make a watch enthusiast cry.
Part of the point of the Richard Mille Rafael Nadal watch is to prove that the piece can survive the torture. A new system in the 2013 watch makes it even less prone to damage. Richard Mille rates the watch to work in situations of up to 5000 Gs of force. A new system of suspension cables holds the watch in the case without being traditionally mounted with screws. This helps to further protect the delicate movement against shock and other tennis related trauma. This is probably the first watch of its kind to ever have such a mounting, and it is beautiful too. It goes without saying that the simple act of constructing this movement requires a great deal of finesse.
Yeah, but can it tell time? The irony in Nadal having such a high-profile watch sponsorship is he's notorious for his poor time management skills. Whether he's making his opponents wait in the tunnel because he's running late to his match, taking too much time between points or arriving to press conferences late, Nadal is not a man known for his punctuality. So maybe this watch update will help.