Watchmakers like to promote how rugged and shock resistant their micro-engineered mechanical marvels have become, but few would recommend battering them on a tennis court where returning 95mph serves is required.
Richard Mille and its brand ambassador Rafael Nadal see things differently, so the Spaniard strapped into a RM 27-04 Tourbillon, valued at $1,050,000, for the whole of this Fall’s French Open tennis tournament.
The 50-piece limited edition watch, which bears Mr Nadal’s name, survived every match through to his title-winning final, the 20th grand slam of his career.
Richard Mille says the RM 27-04 Tourbillon is capable of resisting accelerations of over 12,000 Gs.
Its lightweight design — 30 grams including the strap — is incredibly strong thanks to a case made from TitaCar, a high-performance polyamide strengthened with 38.5% carbon fiber content.
Its tourbillon movement is gripped within the case by a single steel cable measuring 0.27mm that is weaved into a grid like the strings of a tennis racket. This allows the movement to move a tiny amount to absorb shocks.