Last month we told you about a brand new timepiece created by luxury watch-maker Richard Mille for superstar tennis player Rafael Nadal. What makes this piece truly special (besides the $500k+ price tag) is that Nadal will actually wear it for every single match he plays, not just at charity events or for press conferences.
Earlier this week the all new RM 027 Tourbillon made it’s official debut on court at the 2010 Roland Gaross Tournament and judging by the look on Rafa’s face he could not be happier with his new watch even going as far as to say:
“It is an honor for me that someone like Richard has chosen me as one of his ambassadors. I know that he has worked very hard to be able to create this very special watch. I am honored and I am sure it will be a special and successful partnership.”
All indications so far suggest that he’s right, with the announcement of this incredible new partnership creating a huge buzz all over the internet. We were even asked for our thoughts by the New York Times!
Whilst Rafa may be very humble about being selected as an ambassador, this would seem to be a very intelligent move by Richard Mille. The luxury watch industry is highly competitive and so it is a constant battle to attract the attention (and the bank accounts) of your target market, regardless of what you have created in the past.
This piece may not be for everybody but it does showcase the extraordinary talents of Mr. Mille and in doing so gives a stunning endorsement to the other pieces in his collection. In addition, this bold move has created a huge buzz both in the industry itself as well as among the general population, generating invaluable publicity for the brand.
Although some of this can be attributed to the hefty price tag of $525,000 attached to the highly limited edition of just 50 pieces, the real hype relates to the fact that Rafa is actually willing to wear the watch during games. As any tennis enthusiast will tell you any perceptible shift in weight can really throw off a player’s whole technique.
To combat this Mille has created what is quite possibly the most expensive watch ever made without the use of traditional precious metals like gold or platinum. The RM 027 RN is one of the lightest tourbillion watches ever designed and weighs in at a meager 20g (including the strap). To make this possible the movement base-plate is crafted from titanium and LITAL alloy and the case is a special composite, containing large amounts of carbon.
The Final Word
Regardless of your personal opinions on the design or materials used, it has to be acknowledged that the fact that Mille was able to create such a delicate mechanism that is robust enough to be worn on the wrist of one the most active athletes in the world (and function reliably!) is truly remarkable.
Will it sell more watches though? Only time will tell.