When it comes to ultra-lightweight mechanical sports watches, Richard Mille is the undisputed champion, and ever since 2010, the brand has created a series of RM 27 Tourbillon watches in collaboration with the famous tennis champion Rafael Nadal. Crafted from highly technical materials and capable of surviving tremendous amounts of g-force, the RM 27 watches stand out as some of Richard Mille’s most impressive models, and they are even worn by Nadal during matches as a real-world testament to their functionality. For its latest release of 2024, Richard Mille has unveiled what it calls the “climactic conclusion” to the RM 27 saga, and the new Richard Mille RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal weighs just 11.5 grams and is resistant to accelerations in excess of 14,000G, which sets a dual-record for a manual-winding tourbillon wristwatch.

The tonneau-shaped case of the Richard Mille RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal measures 37.25mm in diameter by 7.2mm thick, with an overall lug-to-lug profile of 47.25mm, and it is crafted from Carbon TPT B.4, which is a new material in Richard Mille’s catalog, that improves upon standard Carbon TPT and was initially used in Formula 1 applications. Developed with Richard Mille’s Swiss partner North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT), Carbon TPT B.4 is created by stacking hundreds of layers of parallel carbon filaments that are oriented at an angle of 70 degrees to optimize their strength-to-weight ratio. A new high-performance resin is used to impregnate the fibers before the material is heated under pressure and turned into a solid block. Compared to regular Carbon TPT, this enhanced version is 4% denser, with fibers that are 15% stiffer and a binding resin that is 30% more resilient. These increased performance properties allow Richard Mille to machine Carbon TPT B.4 into thinner components without sacrificing their rigidity.

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Rather than following the brand’s usual case architecture, where a middle case band is fitted with a bezel and caseback, the new Richard Mille RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal features a monobloc design, where the middle case and caseback are machined from a single piece of Carbon TPT B.4. The movement is mounted directly into this structure without the use of any screws, meaning that the bezel and outer dial flange secure the movement into the lower case by pressing down on them from above. To help the new RM 27-05 achieve an ultra-lightweight construction of just 11.5 grams (without strap), its crystal is made from PMMA polymer with a scratch-resistant coating, while the screws for its movement and case are made from grade 5 titanium, and water resistance for the model is kept to a minimum at just 10 meters to protect against incidental contact.

The movement inside the Richard Mille RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal is based on the brand’s ultra-thin Caliber RMUP-01, and it features a mainplate and bridges crafted from PVD-treated grade 5 titanium, along with a V-shaped gear train bridge that is machined from Carbon TPT. Running at a frequency of 21,600vph (3 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 55 hours, the RM 27-05 features a flying tourbillon on the lower half of its display, while the mainspring barrel that sits opposite it on the upper half of the dial also features a flying design, where it is mounted only from one side to permit a thinner overall profile. Due to the lightweight materials that are used in its construction and ultra-thin 2.12mm design, the movement inside the RM 27-05 weights just 3.79 grams, and its flying tourbillon has been extensively tested to ensure that it remains stable during acceleration forces beyond 14,000G.

Like many Richard Mille watches, the new RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal doesn’t have a dial, aside from a thin outer flange that contains its hour markers and minute track. A pair of centrally-mounted hands display the time, while a V-shaped bridge made from Carbon TPT extends across the dial and comes to a point at the 5N PVD-finished flying tourbillon. Meanwhile, the skeletonized flying barrel that is visible on the upper side of the display also receives a 5N PVD finish to match the tourbillon and help it stand out against the black color of the bridges. Although most Richard Mille watches are now fitted with display casebacks, the monobloc design of the RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon mandates a solid back, and while its movement components sit on full display through the front side of the watch, the reverse side simply reveals the woven layers of the Carbon TPT B.4 material.

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While the official weight measurement for the Richard Mille RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal doesn’t include its elastic textile strap, 11.5 grams is still ridiculously lightweight for a mechanical flying tourbillon watch. For context, the RM 27-05 weighs less than three sheets of standard printer paper, and even when you factor in its fabric strap, the entire watch still promises to provide a truly featherweight experience on the wrist. With that in mind, despite being the most lightweight watch that the brand has ever put forward, the new Richard Mille RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal is accompanied by a seriously hefty price tag, and it costs a whopping $1,150,000 USD. Given that Richard Mille describes its new RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon as the “climactic conclusion” to this popular series, it can only be assumed that this 80-piece limited edition will be the final watch from the partnership, and it perfectly represents the theme of the collection with its flying tourbillon and ultra-lightweight construction. For more information on the Richard Mille RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal, please visit the brand’s website

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