It was a few years ago now when Richard Mille and Rafael Nadal first made global news headlines, announcing a partnership that would see the latter sporting an incredible US$525,000 timepiece during all his professional matches.
The news was met with a mixture of awe and disbelief and it seems that the ensuing years have done little to dull this sense of wonderment. Nadal’s continued success on court, and the fact that his famous timepiece has been sensationally stolen or lost twice already has only added to the legend, creating a perfect storm of publicity for the brand. In return for this loyal service, Richard Mille has awarded Nadal with a new timepiece this year, the RM 027-01 ‘Rafael Nadal Watch.’
Well, according to an article posted on the New York Times it seems that indeed he has. A police source quoted in the article said that hours after defeating Novak Dojkovic in the French Open grand slam final on Monday, Nadal returned to his hotel room – reportedly still in possession of the timepiece Richard Mille had lent him to wear during the tournament –and went to sleep. When he woke up in the morning however the US$370,000 timepiece was nowhere to be found. The police source confirmed however that nobody broke into the hotel room, so it’s anyone guess how and when the timepiece actually went missing.
In what can only be described as a fantastic outcome the 2011 Only Watch Auction held in Monaco on the 23rd of September has raised a staggering EUR 4.5 million for research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy!
The phenomenal amount raised is reflective not only of the willingness of passionate collectors and aficionados the world over to dig deep and give generously to this incredibly worthy cause but also of the superb line-up of 40 timepieces created especially for this event by some of the world’s best watch-makers.
Top seller on the night was Patek Philippe’s Ref. 3939 for Only Watch an elegant timepiece in stainless steel complete with minute-repeater and tourbillon. Perhaps more impressive than the timepiece itself however was the price it fetched, bringing in EUR 1.4 million at auction and smashing the pre-auction estimate of EUR 450,000 – 650,000!
Rafael Nadal’s personal Richard Mille RM027 Tourbillon (the same one he was wearing when he won the 2011 Monte Carlo championships for the seventh year running) also proved popular with bidders bringing in a very healthy EUR 510,000. One of the many – pleasant – surprises on the night (in my opinion at least) was DeWitt’s “Concept Watch No. 3 – X-Watch” for Only Watch, a complex timepiece featuring double bi-retrograde hours and minutes, visible one-minute tourbillon and a power reserve on the front side with chronograph on the reverse. Although it didn’t quite reach its maximum “wish price” of EUR 500,000 it certainly made a notable contribution to the overall total at EUR 410,000.
It was great also to see some of the independent players putting in big numbers with Bernhard Lederer’s BLU Only Watch Gagarin Platinum Flying Tourbillon selling for a whopping EUR 300,000 and MB&F’s playful HM No.4 Thunderbolt “Flying Panda“ attracting a winning bid of EUR 170,000!
For those who are interested the complete price list of timepieces sold can be found here. Be warned though, the knowledge that there is only one in the world of each of these breath-taking creations is liable to make you cry. Of course you can console yourself with the fact that this is fantastic event which has raised a huge amount of money for a very worthy cause not to mention it will be on again in another 2 years.
Time to start saving!
For more information on this amazing event please visit the official website: www.onlywatch.com
UPDATE: We have just received an update from professional watch journalist Miguel Seabra who has confirmed that Nadal’s watch was stolen during the Masters 1000 Toronto event, that went from 9-15 August, and that the star athlete then played watch-less the following week at the Masters 1000 Cincinatti.
We are still waiting for confirmation though if the timepiece was recovered, or if in fact Nadal has received a replacement. Stay tuned.
Rumours have emerged that the highly complex Richard Mille 027 Tourbillon gifted to tennis superstar Rafael Nadal was stolen a few weeks ago at the Toronto Tournament. The timepiece (which we first wrote about here) gained worldwide fame when it was first announced that it would adorn Nadal’s wrist during every game of every tournament he played.
The $525,000 price tag didn’t hurt either.
However, it remains unclear as to whether the timepiece was actually stolen or if perhaps this is a PR stunt to renew interest in the product, as we have tracked down conflicting reports (and photos) that show Nadal wearing his favorite new timepiece at the US Open Nike Primetime Knockout Event as well as during training sessions ahead of the start of the US Open.
Picture via Nadal News
Picture via Nadal News
Alternatively, it is highly possible, as our favorite tennis journalist Miguel Seabra points out, that Richard Mille has simply given Nadal a replacement timepiece to fill the half a million dollar gap left on his wrist.
We should all be so lucky!
We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear more news but so continues the interesting, and sometimes controversial, story of the Richard Mille 027 Toubillon.