In their quest to take watch-making to new levels (courts?) super high-end watch maker Richard Mille, in conjunction with tennis superstar Rafael Nadal, have created the all new RM 027 Tourbillon. A watch that is so light (just 20 grams with the strap on!) that Mr Nadal will actually be wearing it when he plays on court!

Now if you know anything about tennis you’ll instantly realize what a big deal this is as any slight shift in weight on a player can dramatically change their game. Therefore, if this partnership was ever going to succeed it was imperative that the company produce a piece that satisfied Rafa’s strict requirements.

And so they did.

Proving A Point
It’s important to realize that making a watch lighter, especially one as complicated as the RM 027  Tourbillon, is not just a matter of using lighter weight materials. It still needs to be accurate and reliable, as well as be able to withstand the shocks and impacts of everyday use, which in this case are greatly magnified given that the piece is strapped to one of the strongest, most active wrists in the world.

However, Richard Mille was sure it could be done. After all, they had already achieved similar success with the RM 006 (42 g without strap) and the RM 009 (29 g without strap) so this next step was simply the logical progression in the process. That didn’t mean it would be easy though.

Then again, it wasn’t like the brand was new to this area of watchmaking.

Richard Mille has been experimenting with the concept of weight reduction in haute horology since the very conception of the brand, although this adventurous spirit was not always embraced by the wider watch community. Mr. Mille himself acknowledges this,saying;

“When I first produced tourbillons with titanium and ALUSIC cases and carbon baseplates, I was fighting against perceived value. A titanium watch could not be a luxurious timepiece as it did not weigh enough. However mentalities rapidly changed and gradually with time amateurs soon appreciated the extreme lightness of my watches whilst being associated with the best technology.”

As you can see, this way of thinking has not changed much since he first set out to make lighter, better timepieces.

Richard Mille RM 027 Tourbillon

The RM Tourbillion – Spartan Style
It was this enduring fascination with the combination of technology, performance and practical aspects in a wristwatch, that drove him to prove once more that an extreme reduction in weight could be achieved with total efficiency and accuracy.

The movement baseplate of the RM 027 Tourbillon is made from Titanium and LITAL® alloy, a high lithium content alloy containing aluminum, copper, magnesium and zirconium, possessing a density of 2.55. The addition of Lithium, one of the lightest elements, to the alloy mixture, provides great strength without adding unnecessary weight. It is for this same reason that this particular alloy is also used in the aerospace industry in the construction of the Airbus A380, helicopters, rockets and satellites, as well as in F1 racing cars.

The result is one of the world’s lightest mechanical tourbillon wristwatches with a movement weight of just a mere 3.83 grams.

The RM 027 watchcase, composed of a composite containing large amounts of carbon, provides a tough and resilient enclosure for the tourbillon movement at its center. The back bezel and caseband are monobloc to ensure total lightness. The glass; the bezel and the flange in carbon have remarkable properties of stiffness and torsional rigidity.

However, the biggest endorsement of all is that this piece has been tried and tested by a man renowned for refusing to compromise when it comes to his sport and his performance. The fact that Rafael Nadal has agreed to wear this piece in all of his matches says far more than any technical specifications ever could.

The RM 027 Tourbillon will be produced in a limited edition of 50 pieces with an ultra light strap in polycarbonate and is expected to be priced upwards of $500,000, meaning you will need to be a superstar also if you ever hope to own one.

The Final Word
Whilst this piece may not rank at the top of my list for the super expensive, high-end luxury watches, I can certainly admire and respect the technical achievements that it represents. Sure it probably cost ten times more than Roger Federer’s Rolex (and then some) but at least Rafa can use the hypnotic effect of the rotating tourbillion to calm him down during intense matches with his watch-less archrival.

Tom Mulraney
Tom Mulraney
Founder & Editor
Tom likes to write about luxury watches. So much so, that he created The Watch Lounge just so he would have an outlet for his passion. Together with his team, he is dedicated to bringing you original, entertaining (and maybe even a little educational) luxury watch and lifestyle content.

26 thoughts on “Richard Mille RM 027 Tourbillon – Coming To A Court Near You”

  1. Olivier Muller says:

    Superb, yet unreadable, IMHO…!

  2. m says:

    Well, it will be nice to see it on Rafa. At what tournament will he be wearing it first, Monte Carlo?

  3. Brad Gilbert says:

    Just posted this article on my twitter..@bgtennisnation, unbelievable endorsement deal.

  4. p says:

    What happened to RM007 for the man with the Aston Martin? And yet, he has said (for Nike) he favors the number nine– it adds up! I guess no wonderfully amusing watch ads with Pau Gasol for this timepiece? It IS gorgeous, unique, and unattainable to most, just like the man and his level of sport.

  5. Tom Mulraney says:

    Thanks for all the great comments guys, please keep them coming!

    I’m inclined to agree with you to a degree Olivier, this is definitely not a piece that’s easy to read that’s for sure! It does look sensational though 😀

    M, no word on what tournament Rafa will be wearing this piece at as yet but Monte Carlo would be fitting I think 🙂

    Brad, thanks for spreading the word, greatly appreciated!

  6. Errol says:

    Has the world gone bleeping crazy?? Think about this seriously. What is the difference between knowing the time from a $100.00 timepiece and getting the time from a half million dollar exhibit? If it is a status symbol, then I guess I understand the human need for props. People in California do buy million dollar cars with top speeds of 200 mph to drive on crowded freeways and get tickets for driving at 90 mph. RAFA, I hope they are paying you well for this absurdity.

  7. Robert says:

    Gorgeous piece but it raises a question: With these high end designs getting lighter and lighter with sapphire and titanium you might think it’s fallen off a few times a day. This could lead to serious heart palpitations. 🙂

  8. Annie says:

    It’s beautiful in the promo pic but looks ordinary on Rafa’s wrist. (and that’s not rafa’s fault) and for that price it should look like a half million, no?

  9. M says:

    Annie, I actually think it looks great on Rafa’s wrist — sporty and sleek and mod.
    And I think the intricacy of the technology and the watch’s lightness are big parts of its selling points.
    Also, as the notes say, he helped to design it — and you know Rafa’s overall style, so I’m guessing he wouldn’t want anything too terribly frou-frou.

  10. CITIGROUP LU says:

    I would not trade my cheapest watch a 120 gram 18k Juvenia macho that is over 30 years old for it. Of course my other 31 gold watches are out of the question. With all those elements that are not gold or platinum to me that watch is worthless. I would not pay a nickel over $500 for it just as a conversation piece to put in my watch box, because I would probably never wear it.

  11. Ed says:

    The Chinese will have a great copy on the market in no more than 30 days.
    Stay tuned.

  12. el sid says:

    -Rather have a timex simple, durable and @ a good price- Oh YEAH the watch was giving to rafa as part of sponsorship deal fyi

  13. Tom Mulraney says:

    Hey everyone, thanks for all your comments, please keep them coming!

    No matter your tastes I don’t think it can be denied that this is truly a technical achievement. The sheer fact that a watch of this complexity can function accurately and consistently despite the shocks and impacts it is subjected to on Nadal’s wrist is mind-blowing.

    @el sid – not only was the piece given to Rafa as part of the sponsorship deal but he also helped design it 🙂

  14. baj says:

    The world is going bunkers….wouldn’t want to own one. I hope the chinese make a mess of this absurdity

  15. roberto garcia says:

    hola, soy de la ONU Llamado pais El Salvador en la América Central, lógicamente en mi pais Muy dificilmente habra Una persona dispuesta Esté Que Comprar un reloj de la ONU ESE Precio, y Como Lo Han mencionado antes “no es Necesario sin reloj de ESE Precio sable párr La Hora, embargo de pecado Pienso comolo que apreciar Que Es La Que heno Tecnología Que implicaciones El fabricar Este reloj, Las Herramientas Que Se utilizan párr Los realizar cortes, color Dar el, Brillo el, la eleación de los Metales, la Complejidad en si de fabricarlo. Mi padre Siempre un dicho Que lo caro no existe, Lo Que existe es lo costoso, es costoso y Este reloj no caro, lo caro es relativos, El Que PUEDE pagarlo Que lo Pague, El Que no, Que Se Compre Otro de las Naciones Unidas u rolex reloj, Bulova Por Ejemplo, felicito al Fabricante y le aseguro Que Las 50 piezas de Las venderá.

  16. Paul says:

    its worthless why? it doesn’t even contain Bronze one of the cheapest mineral resources why would i buy a carbon composite case and lithium alloys watch that only weighs 20grams.Its so absurd our Manufacturers are ripping loads of Money selling us products that don’t even have a resale value.The Bureaus of Standards should intervene it looks more Chinese than European.

  17. Fernando Yanez says:

    When I first saw Rafa playing at ROLAND GARROS, the first thing I noticed was the watch he and his coach Toni were wearing, I am a watch entushiastic, and as soon as I saw the watches, I knew, for the unique shape and style, it could only be a creation from RM, and I was right. The watch is really beautiful, not to mention the tourbillion complication it has, I think RM has done an excellent job on developing such as watch, having this complication that can resist the high impacts and sudden rushing that Nadal develops while playing a Tennis, is not an easy task to do. Congratulation to RM on developing such as great and resistant watches.

  18. Tom Mulraney says:

    We could not have said it better ourselves Fernando, thank you! 🙂

  19. Guillermo Aldana says:

    It is a shame that the watch was stolen – it is also a shame to price a watch at that price. I love Rafa, but I think a more modest watch may make him more appealing to the true tennis fan, who appreciate Rafa’s game for its beauty, guts and passion. My gut feeling is that Omega could have performed the same engineering feat at 1/10 of the cost (which puts the watch at ~ 53k BTW).

  20. Luca says:

    The watch is absolutely right for this age, beautiful and technical enough to appeal to many people; anybody who doesn’t like it is just envious because they cannot afford it, conscious they will never wear it ( and buy ) at least his chinese copy.
    The point is : will RM be able to keep the prices of his watches so high?

  21. Francois says:

    ugly watch period

  22. Jason says:

    Unfortunately, 95% percent of the people making comment here seem to know nothing about watches or the art of watchmaking..

  23. Joseph says:

    Jason, why so angry?

  24. Joseph says:

    Everyone should respect the workmanship at the absolute very first glance, nice job.

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