BY JOVAN KRSTEVSKI
Richard Mille is a brand that is well known for producing Haute Horlogerie products that embody innovative solutions that make them capable of handling some of the most challenging situations a mechanical watch might ever encounter. To celebrate ten years of partnership with Tennis legend Rafael Nadal the brand has now introduced the new RM27-04 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal. Sporting a case made from TitaCarb®, powered by a manual-winding Tourbillon movement, this new Avant-Garde timepiece can withstand accelerations of over 12,000g’s and is ready for some action on the court.
Right off the bat, what grabs attention on the new RM27-04 is its highly skeletonized mesh style face. To create this unique micro-blasted machine mesh, the folks at Richard Mille took inspiration from the process used to string a tennis racket. Formed using a single woven steel cable measuring just .27mm, the watchmaker begins with securing the steel cable to the turnbuckle at 5 and then starts weaving the mesh structure, entering the hollowed-out titanium flange 38 times before finishing the journey in the turnbuckle at 10. This 855mm string mesh supports the calibre RM27-04 that powers this watch via five polished titanium hooks with a 5N gold PVD treatment. Surrounding the mesh structure is a chapter ring with a printed minute track and red triangular hour markings. Time is read using the semi-skeletonized hour and minute hands, that like the hour indices have been filled with red luminous paint for better low light visibility.
A manually wound unit equipped with a Tourbillon, the calibre RM27-04 has been heavily skeletonized to expose its mechanical underpinnings. The baseplate and bridges have been crafted from grade 5 titanium, a rigid alloy that comprises 90% titanium, 6% aluminum, and 4% vanadium, and guarantees perfect functioning of the gear train. Furthermore, the bridges have been given a black PVD treatment resulting in smooth surfaces that provide a great contrast to the steel parts. The movement operates at a frequency of 3Hz and offers an autonomy of around 38 hours. The movement is also equipped with a faster rotating barrel (6 hours per revolution instead of 7.5 hours) and a free spring balance with variable inertia for better reliability in the event of shocks.
But the innovations do not stop at the dial. The tonneau case of the RM 27-04 is made from TitaCarb®, a new material exclusive to Richard Mille. It measures a very wearable 38.4mm in diameter and has a lug to lug distance of around 47.5mm. A high-performance polyamide that is reinforced with up to 38.5% carbon fiber, TitaCarb® offers a tensile strength of 370MPa and is used in cars and traditional metal applications. The case is water-resistant to 50 meters courtesy of a Nitrile O-ring.
The new Richard Mille RM 27-04 comes attached to a bright blue textile strap. The watch is limited to a production run of 50 pieces and will retail for $1,050,000.
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