Richard Mille RM 27-03 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal


Richard Mille RM 27-03 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal

RM 27-03 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal

An outstanding tourbillon calibre
La Cote des Montres - May 26th, 2017

Since 2010, Richard Mille and Rafael Nadal have developed remarkable watches, via a collaboration unique in the history of watchmaking, and the latest of these is no disappointment. In terms of shock resistance, the tourbillon movement expands the horizons of technical performance.

Aesthetically, the timepiece alludes to the Spanish tennis champion’s masterful character. Roland-Garros was an obvious choice of venue to present this new timepiece. Clay courts are the preferred playing surface for Rafael Nadal, nine-time winner of the French Open, who knows how to play to his strengths. Slow and sensitive, clay calls for an aggressive playing style that nonetheless respects the fundamental principles of the discipline.

Likewise, this new watch reconciles innovations at the level of materials with a testament to horological architecture. Clay courts are known for amplified effect. You might say the same of the RM 27-03, given the striking red and yellow hues of its Quartz TPT® case that pay homage to Rafa’s native Spain. The intense burst of colour is achieved by impregnating fine layers of silica just 45 microns thick with tinted resin according to a proprietary process developed in Switzerland that stacks the laments in layers before heating them to 120°C. When it comes to releasing a new shade of Quartz TPT®, achieving colour stability compliant with REACH standards while resolving issues of biocompatibility and durability represents a tremendous display of prowess on the part of the engineers at Richard Mille and North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT®). And once the composite is produced, there remain many hours of milling and nishing operations to produce the case and components.

The quartz fibres used in this case, which is water resistant to 50 metres, offer a very advantageous strength/weight ratio, as well as being anallergic and highly resistant to UV rays. But the main innovation of this extraordinary watch lies in the capacity of its tourbillon calibre to withstand shocks up to 10,000 g’s. This new threshold has been attained thanks to years of R&D and countless hours of tests, particularly ‘pendulum impact testing’ which simulates the linear acceleration that occurs due to sudden movements or shock to the wearer. This virtual indestructability is vouchsafed by assembly of the ultralight tourbillon calibre on the skeletonised unibody baseplate of Carbon TPT® with a precision to the nearest micron, while the reduced number of components in this configuration permits additional weight savings, lightening the whole watch. The rapid winding barrel provides an unvarying ow of energy for the full 70 hours of running time.

The magnificent finishing of the RM 27-03 calibre presents hand-polished tapered anglage and graceful satin surfaces that set off the sparkle of finely microblasted elements. The RM 27-03 offers an impressive play of volumes. Highly stylised, the sharp, streamlined curves of the skeletonised bridges encircling the barrel, the great wheel and the mechanical winding tourbillon beating at 3 Hz together evoke the forward-facing head of a bull. A symbol of Spain, this animal is also Nadal’s chosen emblem. As a playful nod, winding and hand setting are conducted using a torque-limiting crown of Quartz TPT® in the shape of a tennis ball.

Especially vivid and sporty, this watch, produced in a limited edition of only 50 pieces, will be Rafa’s new ally in the matches ahead on his wrist.

Richard Mille RM 27-03 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal

Technical specifications

Limited edition of 50 pieces.

RM27-03 Calibre: manual winding tourbillon movement with hours and minutes.

Dimensions: 47.77 x 40.30 x 12.75 mm.

Main features


Power reserve: 70 hours (±10%).

Unibody baseplate in carbon TPT®
The unibody baseplate caseband construction of the RM 27-03 is machined from Carbon TPT®. The bezel and caseback are assembled directly on the baseplate, which is described as ‘unibody’—a type of racing-car construction that ensures maximum rigidity and greater resistance to impacts.

Carbon TPT® consists of multiple layers of parallel filaments obtained by separating carbon threads. With a maximum thickness of 30 microns, the Carbon TPT® layers are saturated with resin then piled onto a special machine that modifies the orientation of the fibre between each layer by 45°. Once it has been heated to 120°C and subjected to a pressure of 6 bars, the Carbon TPT® is machined at Richard Mille’s parts factory. Carbon TPT® is renowned for its excellent resistance to micro-cracks and splits.

The skeletonised Carbon TPT® baseplate is a feat of machining. A master component of the RM 27-03, it has been subjected to a full battery of extreme approval tests in order to optimise its mechanical properties.

Bridges in grade 5 titanium
Grade 5 titanium is a biocompatible, highly corrosion-resistant and remarkably rigid alloy, which enables the gear train to function effortlessly. The alloy is 90% titanium, 6% aluminium and 4% vanadium. This combination further increases its mechanical properties, which explains its frequent use in the aerospace, aeronautical and automobile industries.

Like the baseplate, the bridges of the RM 27-03 calibre were subjected to intensive and comprehensive approval tests in order to optimise their resistance properties.

Free sprung balance with variable inertia
A free sprung balance with variable inertia and a terminal-curve spring guarantees greater reliability in case of impacts and during movement assembly and disassembly, thus achieving better chronometric results over time.

Fast rotating barrel (6 hours per revolution instead of 7.5 hours)
This type of barrel has the following advantages:
  • The phenomenon of periodic internal mainspring adhesion is significantly diminished and performance is thus enhanced,
  • It provides an excellent delta of the mainspring curve. The choice is determined by the ideal power reserve/performance/regularity ratio.
Barrel pawl with progressive recoil
This device permits an appreciable winding gain (circa 20%), especially during the start of winding. It also promotes the even distribution of the mainspring’s internal tension.

Winding barrel teeth and centre-wheel pinion with central involute profile
The central involute profile of the winding barrel teeth provides an optimal pressure angle of 20°, which promotes effective rotary motion and compensates for possible variations in the operation of the going train. This, in turn, ensures excellent torque transmission and a distinct improvement in performance.

Closure of the barrel cover using excentric screws
This characteristic ensures the cover stays in place even when considerable pressure is applied.

Spline screws in grade 5 titanium for the bridges
This permits better control of the torque applied to the screws during assembly. These screws are therefore unaffected by physical manipulation during assembly or disassembly and age well.

Other features


  • Movement dimensions: 29.30 x 29.60 mm
  • Thickness: 7.10 mm
  • Tourbillon diameter: 12.30 mm
  • Balance diameter: 10.00 mm
  • Number of jewels: 19
  • Balance: Glucydur, 2 arms and 4 setting screw
  • Moment of inertia: 11.50 mg.cm², lift angle 53°
  • Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
  • Balance spring: elinvar by Nivarox®
  • Shock absorbers: KIF Elastor KE 160 B28
  • Barrel shaft: nickel-free Chronifer (DIN x 46 Cr 13 + S), with the following characteristics: stainless – antimagnetic – suitable for tempering
Case in Quartz TPT®
The front and back bezels of the RM 27-03 are made from Quartz TPT®, a groundbreaking new material designed and developed by Richard Mille in partnership with North Thin Ply Technology.

Quartz TPT® is composed of layers of parallel filaments obtained from separating silica threads. These layers, no thicker than 45 microns, are saturated in a yellow or red resin developed specially for Richard Mille, then inserted using an automatic positioning system that changes the orientation of the fibre between each layer by 45°.
It is then heated to 120°C and subjected to a pressure of 6 bars in an autoclave similar to those used to make aeronautical components, before the material is ready for machining on a CNC machine at Richard Mille’s manufacturing facilities. Machining unveils the various Quartz TPT® layers at random, ensuring that each machined part is unique.
Quartz fibres are generally used for very high performance applications due to their resistance to high temperatures and their strength.

The complete case construction is water-resistant to 50 metres thanks to two Nitril O-rings, is assembled using 12 spline screws in grade 5 titanium and 316L stainless steel washers.

Spline screws in grade 5 titanium for the case
Due to their design, these screws offer better control of the torque applied to them during assembly.
They therefore remain unaffected by the physical manipulations involved in assembly and dismantling, and age well.

Torque limiting crown
The crown is in Quartz TPT®. This additional security system prevents from accidental overwinding, which could cause damage to the winding stem or place extreme pressure on the mainspring barrel.

Upper flange in Carbon TPT®

In sapphire (1800 Vickers) with anti-glare treatment (2 sides)
Thickness: 1.20 mm and 4.09 mm at the edges



  • Gradual hand-polished bevelling
  • Shot-blasted milled sections
  • Stretched upper surfaces
Steel parts
  • Shot-blasted surfaces
  • Satin-brushed surfaces
  • Hand-polished bevelling
  • Long strokes
  • Matt ‘brouillé’ strokes
  • Long strokes on the sides
  • Polished sinks
  • Lapped and polished ends
  • Burnished pivots
  • Diamond-polished sinks
  • Circular decorations on the front surfaces
  • Rhodium-plating (before cutting the teeth)
  • Minimal corrections are made to the wheels to preserve their geometry and overall performance.