richard mille -  RM27 Nadal
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
richard mille -  RM27 Nadal

RM27 Nadal

richard mille

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Notice of laurent

weight of the soul

See other pictures Luc Virginius / Chronopassion

The RM 027 tourbillon is unquestionably the watch of the year. Designed for and with the world number one ranked tennis player Rafael Nadal, this extremely complex watch achieves a weight of less than 20 grams, strap included, thus becoming one of the world’s lightest mechanical tourbillon watches ever produced. The development of the RM 027 tourbillon was an extraordinary challenge… but crowned with success. Roland Garros 2010: for the first time in the history of tennis, a player entered the Grand Slam tournament wearing a watch on his wrist. On the 6th of June, Rafael Nadal won his fifth French Open title without having conceded a single set in seven matches. One month afterwards, Rafael Nadal also won his eighth Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. The RM 027 tourbillon displayed once again its incredible resistance to the intensity of the number one’s strokes. On 13 September 2010, Rafael Nadal won his ninth Grand Slam title in the US Open final, the only title which still eluded him. He secured another victory with the RM 027 tourbillon on his wrist. At just 24 years old, the Majorcan’s record breaking run continued as he became the youngest player of the Open to win all four Grand Slam tournaments. All through these tournaments, the RM 027 tourbillon never failed. Quite the reverse, it showed itself to be extremely resistant and stable, while leaving Rafael Nadal total comfort and freedom of movement. The secrets of the RM 027, one of the lightest watches in the world?: A movement base plate made from titanium and LITAL®, alloy of lithium containing aluminium, copper, magnesium, zirconium and possessing a density of 2.55. This addition of lithium provides the movement, which only weighs a mere 3.83 grams, flexibility and also greater shock resistance. This alloy is also used in the aerospace industry, construction of the Airbus A380, helicopters, rockets and satellites, as well as in F1 racing. A watchcase composed of composite containing carbon that is extremely robust, protecting both the movement and the tourbillon at its centre. The case middle and the back case are completely monobloc to ensure total lightness. The Grilamid glass; the bezel and the flange in carbon have remarkable properties of extreme resistance and optimal rigidity. The RM 027 tourbillon is a limited edition of 50 pieces with an ultra light polyurethane strap, flexible and comfortable.

Technical specifications

Who's who

When he talks about Richard Mille, Laurent Picciotto doesn’t say “I” and “he”, but “we”. Just two letters say it all – well, almost. As far as Chronopassion is concerned, this is not about any old brand, but a shared history: that of two men who originally met in Rue Saint Honoré “to chat together for a couple of hours a week – then, five, ten, twenty or thirty hours,” before bringing out the first RM001 one year later. Be that as it may, the friendship between Laurent Picciotto and Richard Mille doesn’t stretch back for decades, to their schooldays, or anything like that. “We first came across each other at the time when Richard was working at Mauboussin, on the first tourbillons developed by the brand,” recalls the owner of Chronopassion. When – as yet unaware of the fact that he was to become “RM” for the world at large – Mille left Mauboussin to launch his own brand, he consulted Laurent Picciotto. Not only did he consult him, he took on board his thinking, and ultimately enlisted Picciotto as a partner when he set up his company. The brand spirit was already in their minds – an uncompromising timepiece, featuring a completely new design, outstanding materials and a brand new assembly technique. Once the specifications had been established, the two men contacted Renaud & Papi to implement production. They were to become RM’s third partner; today, some fifteen years later, they are still crafting its collections. The line taken ahead of presentation of the first timepiece was equally hard-nosed. “Nobody knew Richard, we didn’t really want to make a big thing out of Renaud & Papi and we ourselves had no story to tell at all. In other words, we were swimming completely against the tide,” recalls Laurent Picciotto. “We first attended BaselWorld in 2000. We placed the watch on the table and said ‘There you are, that’s all we’ve got to say, it’s an RM001, yours for €176,000.’ And it worked.” Indeed, the pricing policy was the subject of much debate, right from the outset. “Looking back, it’s easy to say that the approach was the right one,” explains Laurent Picciotto. “But twelve years ago, we’d sometimes break out in a cold sweat thinking about it. Richard and I were both completely focussed on the watch, scarcely paying attention to the final bill until the first one was finished. When we totted it up and it came to over 170,000 euros, there was a bit of a hush. The silence between us was far more eloquent than any number of words could have been. For a while we wondered whether we had overreached ourselves. But it wasn’t long before we were right back with our initial motives – an RM should brook no compromise.” Richard Mille did not hesitate to take this radical approach right to the limit. “When he met a client who had doubts about how sturdy the RM was – whereas that had always been a strong point in its design – Richard would take off his own and throw it on the floor. That was his way of saying ‘I’ve said as much, and now I’m proving it’”, recalls Laurent Picciotto with a smile. “It would certainly make quite an impression!” Looking back, the Richard Mille brand has surpassed even its own designers’ expectations. Having emerged at a time when the market was not yet offering a new brand or revival every couple of months, it surprised everybody. Later on, a lot of independent watchmakers took a similar direction, saying to themselves “If Richard has managed, I can too.” RMs are still as radical as ever, though. Laurent Picciotto sums it up. “Some signs never lie. We’ve never yet seen a client pick up an RM whose first words were ‘it reminds me of a...’ Some fifteen years on from the RM001, nobody’s got anywhere near finishing that sentence.” Journalist : Olivier Müller

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