Why The New Self-Winding Richard Mille Rafael Nadal is Pushing Design Boundaries

With The French Open starting over the weekend at Roland Garros, Richard Mille and Spanish tennis ace Rafael Nadal, have joined forces once again. This year they present the RM 35-02, the first piece to feature an automatic caliber in the collection they have been developing together for the past six years.

Since 2008, Richard Mille and Rafael Nadal have been doubles partners in a shared adventure in contemporary fine watchmaking. Nadal’s name now graces a collection of Richard Mille watches that are synonymous with innovation, lightness and shock-resistance. Each of the models they have designed together, starting with the RM 027 with its carbon nanotubes case in 2010, to the cable-suspended movement of the RM 27-01, or the most recent iteration, the RM 27-02 with its NTPT Carbon ‘unibody’ baseplate—has been viewed as a leap forward in terms of research and development.RM35-01 FRONT CMYKThe RM 35-02 Rafael Nadal is powered by the new RMAL1 caliber, the base plate and bridges in wet-sandblasted grade 5 titanium have been PVD/Titalyt® treated and stretched to ensure supreme rigidity and impeccably smooth surfaces. Its variable inertia balance wheel oscillates at 28,800 vph, and is driven by a double-barrel system for greater torque stability.RM35-01 BACK CMYKThe RM 35-02 is in response to many Richard Mille customers for a self-winding mechanism at the heart of a Nadal caliber. The decision to use the brand’s patented variable geometry rotor makes it possible to adjust the winding to suit the wearer’s activities. In another first for the Nadal collection, the caseback is protected by a sapphire crystal sporting an anti-reflective treatment so that the caliber may be admired from every angle.

The automatic RM 35-02 Rafael Nadal is available in either NTPT Carbon or a bright Quartz-TPT® Red with white highlights. Its silicon layers—each no thicker than 45 microns—are treated with a red resin that has been created for Richard Mille, then layered using an automatic system that changes the direction of the fibers in each layer by 45°. Heated under pressure at 120°C in an autoclave similar to those used for aeronautical components, the material is ready to be worked by ProArt, the manufacturer dedicated to the machining of Richard Mille components and cases. The natural white quartz fiber, which is left undyed, offers a high resistance/weight ratio, non-allergenic properties and excellent UV resistance. The engineers at Richard Mille and North Thin Ply Technology have also developed a red resin that draws a stark contrast with the natural white of the quartz and its transparent resin.

Designed for maximum biocompatibility, stability and resistance and compliant with REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) standards, the Quartz-TPT® Red adorning the RM 35-02 can withstand accelerations of up to 5,000g’s. Nadal is 4th seed at this year’s French Open championships.

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This article originally appeared on our sister site, Watchuseek.com