Rafael Nadal and Richard Mille have cultivated a partnership spanning over a decade, consistently pushing boundaries in their collaborative efforts.
The recent addition to the Baby Nadal collection marks their fourth exceptional watch. Having embarked on numerous design ventures, the celebrated tennis player and Swiss watchmaker officially introduced the RM 35-03 Automatic Nadal in 2021. This latest timepiece stands as a testament to their synergistic collaboration and represents the zenith of horological advancement. Notably, it boasts a pioneering feature termed the “butterfly rotor,” aiming to redefine the domain of timekeeping.
“In our respective fields, we both strive for excellence,” remarked Nadal in a statement. “Richard and I share a common language.”
Drawing inspiration from previous Richard Mille tourbillon models sported by Rafa on the courts, the new model showcases an athletic, ergonomic design with resemblances to the RM 27-04 Tourbillon. Presently available in three variations—blue and white quartz TPT, carbon TPT, and white quartz TPT—the RM 35-03, the fourth iteration, combines carbon and quartz, presenting a striking red and black color scheme.
The 44 mm case is adorned with sapphire crystals on both its front and back, offering wearers an unhindered view of the intricately skeletonized movement (RMAL2 caliber). At the core of this complex creation lies the revolutionary butterfly rotor. Crafted over three years, this mechanical marvel introduces a novel form of movement winding technology. Essentially, it incorporates an interactive element that allows wearers to directly influence the rotor’s geometry, thereby controlling the winding speed based on their lifestyle and activity levels.
How does it work? By pressing the pusher at 7 o’clock (activating sport mode), a dedicated gear train for the rotor deploys its two weights (titanium and metal) at 180 degrees. The transition between normal mode and “sports mode” offers tactile feedback, enabling wearers to feel the adjustments of the weight segments on their wrist. Additionally, a push button positioned at 2 o’clock facilitates the selection of winding, neutral, and hand-setting functions, with the hand at 2 o’clock indicating the chosen function.
“Previously, any alterations to the rotor’s geometry required the intervention of one of our licensed watchmakers,” stated Salvador Arbona, technical director for movements. “We have perfected this system, granting wearers the ability to directly manipulate the watch’s winding speed. It’s akin to a driver adjusting transmission styles from city use to the racetrack by activating sports mode.”
However, such groundbreaking innovation comes with a significant price tag—the RM 35-03 Automatic Nadal retails at a substantial $238,000.