Now Reading
Richard Mille RM 35-03 Automatic Rafael Nadal

Richard Mille RM 35-03 Automatic Rafael Nadal


After one year out of action, Rafael Nadal recently announced his return to professional tennis for the Australian Open in Brisbane. So, it seemed rather fitting that Richard Mille produce him a new watch and drop us fans an early Christmas present. That is, of course, the new RM 35-03 Automatic Rafael Nadal. Up until now, the reference had been produced in two different variations: Quartz TPT and a combination of Quartz TPT and Carbon TPT. Now it is also ‘available’ entirely in Carbon TPT, with its natural iconic graphite colour. ‘Available’, of course, in inverted commas, because it is expected that this piece will be available only to Richard Mille’s special clients.

The case

The case is created entirely from Carbon TPT, Richard Mille’s own material which is composed of multiple layers of parallel filaments obtained from dividing carbon fibres. The layers are microscopic, with a thickness not exceeding 45 microns. They are woven, heated and then processed on a CNC machine. The final result is a form of striated carbon which improves strength against stress breakage and micro-cracks by 25% and 200% respectively, compared to any other technically advanced form of carbon. This case, which is water-resistant to 50 m, is fitted with 20 spline screws made from grade-5 titanium, and is protected by 316L stainless steel anti-abrasive washers. The crown is made from a combination of grade-5 titanium and Carbon TPT. It would be an understatement to say that Richard Mille cuts no corners in the materials department.

Dial and movement

The sapphire dial and caseback both reveal the beating heart of the 35-03, the calibre RMAL2, which is nestled between the four carbon walls and displays hours, minutes, and seconds. The baseplate and bridges of the automatic movement are constructed from grade 5 titanium for increased strength and rigidity, and undergo a number of tests to ensure that these standards are met. The calibre also features a twin barrel system with energy stored in two mainsprings as opposed to one. This reduces friction on components and stabilises the torque, resulting in increased long-term performance.

Located above the crown is a function selector, which allows the user to change the function of the crown between neutral, winding and hand-setting. The chosen setting is conveniently displayed to the wearer by a small indicator hand at 2-o-clock.

Innovative butterfly rotor

Most impressively, however, the RM35-01 features a butterfly rotor, which has two settings depending on whether the wearer is using the watch for sport or not. By pressing the button located in the bottom right corner of the case, sport mode will activate. The butterfly rotor spread its wings to 180°, disabling its winding function in order to prevent overwinding during sporty activities – all from the push of one button in the bottom right corner of the case. The activation/deactivation of the rotor is then shown by a small indicator hand at 6-o-clock to complete this wearer-convenient extravaganza.

This innovative mechanism allows – for the first time – the wearer to modify the rotor’s geometry without the need of a watchmaker. Salvador Arbona, technical director for movements at Richard Mille explains: “Previously, any modification of the rotor’s geometry needed to be done by one of our licensed watchmakers. We wanted to perfect this system and give wearers the possibility of directly acting on the watch’s winding speed. It’s like a driver being able to adjust the transmission style from city use to racetrack by activating the sports mode.”

The rotor itself made from nothing less than grade-5 titanium and uses ceramic ball bearings. Calibre RMAL2 has a power reserve of 55 hours (plus or minus 10%).

Price and Availability

Availability for the new RM35-03 will be nothing short of what we are all used to from Richard Mille: very limited indeed. It comes at a retail price of CHF 211,000.

BRAND Richard Mille
MODEL RM 35-03 Automatic Rafael Nadal
DIMENSIONS Diameter: 43,15 x 49,95
Height: 13,15 mm
WATER RESISTANCE 5 bar (~50 m)
DIAL Openworked
FREQUENCY 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
FUNCTIONS Hours, minutes, seconds
PRICE CHF 211,000