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Richard Mille - Tourbillon RM 27-02 Rafael Nadal

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With the official start of the 114th Edition of the French Open at Stade Roland Garros in Paris, the next two weeks will be hot for all tennis fans.

The opening of the top tennis tournament on clay courts was also the occasion for the presentation of the latest timepiece created by Richard Mille for friend and ambassador Rafael Nadal.

The new Richard Mille Tourbillon RM 27-02 Rafael Nadal introduces the first skeletonised unibody baseplate in which the caseband and baseplate have been fused into a single piece, removing the need to attach the two components together.

This structure, inspired by the chassis of racing cars, dramatically enhances rigidity and resistance to impacts. Creating such a a unibody baseplate requires great knowledge and experience in micro-machining new materials and for sure Richard Mille has been a pioneer in this field.

This special baseplate is machined at ProArt, the ultra-modern factory which Richard Mille opened in 2013 for the production of watch cases and other components in precious metals, titanium and composites.

The baseplate supports bridges that are unique for their three-dimensional construction, their finishes (beveled, shot-blasted and satin-brushed by hand) and their titanium and carbon composition.

These bridges support a sophisticated hand wound tourbillon calibre which beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour and offers 70 hours of constant power thanks to a fast rotating barrel (6 hours per revolution instead of 7.5 hours). The barrel pawl with progressive recoil permits a 20% winding gain, especially at the start of winding, and contributes to an even distribution of the mainspring's internal tension.

The case (47.77 x 39.70 x 12.25 mm) of the new Tourbillon RM 27-02 Rafael Nadal is not less innovative. In partnership with long-term partner North Thin Ply Technology, Richard Mille’s engineers have developed TPT quartz, a new material composed of hundreds of layers of quartz filaments piled on top of each other.

These fibers are highly resistant to high temperatures and are characterised by extreme strength and transparency to electromagnetic waves. No thicker than 45 microns, these silica layers are inserted between layers of NTPT carbon by an automatic positioning system that changes the orientation of the fibers between each layer by 45°. Heated to 120°C in an autoclave similar to those used to make aeronautical components, the material is then ready for machining at ProArt. During this phase, the various layers of TPT quartz and NTPT carbon are revealed at random, ensuring that each machined component is as unique as the heart of the baseplate, which is machined using the same process.

The bezel and solid case back in NTPT carbon/TPT quartz are attached to the unibody baseplate using 12 spline screws in grade 5 titanium.

The sapphire crystal receives an anti-glare treatment on both sides so that the wearer can fully enjoy the details of the movement. The exact weight of the RM 27-02 was not released but we know that it is a little heavier than the RM 27-01 because the new model features a sapphire glass. The RM 27-01 was just 19 grams.

The Richard Mille Tourbillon RM 27-02 Rafael Nadal is a limited edition of just 50 pieces with an indicative price of Swiss Francs 734,000 / Euro 777,000 including taxes.

To read the report of our visit to the Richard Mille factories and discover more on how these innovative timepieces are manufactured, click here.

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