The lightweight $1m watch that Rafa Nadal wore to win the French Open

It weighs just 30 grams including the strap

Richard Mille is one of those brands people love to hate and I think there are two main reasons: design and price. The brand's flagship tonneau case is not particularly remarkable in its own right in the sense that tonneau-shaped watches have been around for over 100 years, but because of a combination of intricate patterns, size and details, most RMs end up showcasing polarizing designs that some people may find distasteful. I totally understand when people tell me they find Richard Mille watches ugly. I mean, I disagree because I like them, but I totally get it.

The jacked-up price tag, on the other hand, is the result of two factors: business model and marketing. We'll talk about factor one on another occasion but as for factor two - marketing - you can tune in, right now as I'm writing, on Eurosport and get an idea. That's because Rafa Nadal is playing the French Open final against Novak Djokovic while wearing a $1m RM watch.

I've always found this fascinating because while other watch companies make brand ambassadors wear their timepieces on the podium or whenever they're picking up a prize or award, Richard Mille has brand ambassadors that wear their timepieces during the actual race/game/performance.

Rafa Nadal has worn a Richard Mille on each game he's played in the last few years. This particular model was introduced just a few weeks ago and the obvious elephant in the room - I already know some of you are going to have an opinion and tell me about it in the comments - is the tennis racket-style weave on the dial.

The amazing thing about it is this is not just a marketing stunt to make the watch look cool. This is an actual steel cable structure designed to help the watch withstand shocks and G Forces generated by a professional tennis player, the 27-04 caliber movement was tested up to 12,000Gs, and the structure also relies on two PVD-treated 5N gold tensioners, housed in a 38mm case - considerably smaller than most RM models - made from titanium and carbon fibre. The 19-jewel tourbillon movement vibrates at 21,600 vph with a 38-hour power reserve.

The watch weighs 30 grams, including the textile strap, and production is limited to 50 units. The price tag is $1,050,000. Mad.

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Comments (20)

  • F’n nuts ... excess for the sake of excess. If you have this much money to burn do something useful ... find a small town in covid depression and feed it for a year.

      9 months ago
  • A million dollars for a watch is everything that is wrong in the world today, lol. Seriously? Up to 1 billion people on the planet are facing climate crisis causing food insecurity. Sure, it's great to be rich and buy cool stuff and we want master craftsmen to push the technical and artist bounds of the human experience. But c'mon! If you have a million dollars for a watch please consider sending a check for a million dollars to a non-profit or NGO that can do some good in the world with it. "Me first" is old news.

      9 months ago
    • We’re getting hungry and I am starting to see the logic behind the Eat The Rich slogan. Might be good for the planet but let’s feed the rich to pigs then have BLT’s.

        9 months ago
  • People are shiting on the watch for that astromical price tag but come on now it's their money let them spend it the way they want.

      9 months ago
  • #tribe

      9 months ago
  • What an amazing watch. Don’t you agree ?

      9 months ago
    • All I'm thinking about right now is how, if slipped down a bit, it'd make a fantastic knuckleduster.

        9 months ago