Richard Mille RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal


Richard Mille RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal

RM 27-05
Flying Tourbillon
Rafael Nadal

11,5 grams excluding strap with resistance to accelerations of over 14,000 g
La Cote des Montres - May 29th, 2024

  • Weigh of the watch, 11,5 grams excluding strap
  • A new composite, Carbon TPT® B.4
  • Flying tourbillon and barrel
  • Resistance to accelerations of over 14,000 g
  • Limited edition of 80 pieces
Flash-back. In 2010, the RM 027 Tourbillon was born as the answer to a challenge. It proved the prelude to an exciting adventure, the quest for remarkable lightness and superlative performance. With the RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal, this Richard Mille saga has reached a climactic conclusion.

The watch weighs 11,5 grams excluding its strap and can withstand a g-force of 14,000, for a two-fold record for a manual winding tourbillon watch.

The RM 27-05 project may have launched in 2019, but its story is rooted much earlier. This watch is the fruit of a meeting that has since grown into a true friendship. “I still remember the day in 2008 when Richard contacted me to discuss working together. It was unthinkable for me, as I’d never worn anything on my wrist. It all came together in 2010, when he came to visit me in Mallorca. As a joke, he first presented me with a very heavy platinum watch. When I reacted as you might expect, he quickly held up a prototype of the RM 027: a surprisingly light watch with spectacular lines,” recalled Rafa Nadal.

Since then, Rafa has seized one victory after another with Mille watches on his wrist. Iterations of striving to make each successive model light and comfortable forged a close relationship between the champion and Richard Mille. Sharing experiences strengthens friendship and broadens one’s horizons.

Technical progress and reflections on aesthetics have here pushed Richard Mille’s expertise to the limit. The RM 27-05 project was driven by an unwavering quest to eliminate weight and the result boasts an impressive technical data sheet. The movement, based on the ultra-thin RMUP-01 calibre, has a power reserve of 55 hours and incorporates a flying tourbillon that oscillates at a frequency of 3 Hz. Its PVD-treated titanium baseplate is optimally skeletonised and hand-finished, even the hidden parts. The bridges are also made of grade 5 titanium and Carbon TPT® to make them even lighter. The calibre measures 3.75 mm thick and weighs just 3.79 grams. Tremendous thought has gone into the smallest details to achieve this objective.

“Thanks to a base fitted with ball bearings, the tourbillon retains its performance while making it possible to do away with a bridge. Making the barrel fly likewise fit with our need for lightness. Its extreme thinness, 0,72 mm thick, helped us to develop an extra-flat calibre with volume. The barrel was thus pressed into service of this singular aesthetic, a masterpiece of traditional craftsmanship,” shared Salvador Arbona, Technical Director for Movements.

4,000 hours of work went into designing the calibre and case. We certainly didn’t stint on time when creating the RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal. While its sobriety does mark a return to the collection’s roots, rethinking the watchmaking process has been a leitmotiv at every stage of its development. Here, there are no screws holding the movement to the case. The entire mechanism rests inside the monobloc back/caseband unit, which is then topped by the flange and bezel. The whole assembly presses down on the calibre to hold it firmly in place. What gives this model a major advantage are the qualities of a new composite, Carbon TPT® B.4, developed over the course of five years with our Swiss partner North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT). Carbon TPT® B.4 is an optimised anisotropic material that makes it possible to machine the case to ever thinner cross-sections. Compared with earlier Carbon TPT®, the new composite is 4% denser, the fibre 15% stiffer and the resin 30% stronger. These values make it possible to lighten the whole without losing stiffness.

For optimum strength, Carbon TPT® B.4 is woven in stacks using a specific 70° orientation between layers. Choosing this material guarantees the watch’s powerful architecture the best ratios, weight, performance and rigidity. It’s what makes it possible to follow the weave of the Carbon TPT® B.4, creating an X-shaped ridge on the caseback that the movement rests on. Comprehensive simulations of the whole, including the case, resulted the calibre being positioned 5/100ths of a mm from the caseback on 6 support points, which contribute to the watch’s stiffness. This X pattern is visually reflected throughout the case, while guaranteeing the bezel, flange and monobloc caseback retain their properties regardless of circumstances.

Finite element calculations, multiple simulations and analyses, tomography and numerous impact tests were used to confirm the relevance of each technical option over the course of the prototypes, endowing the RM 27-05 with extraordinary endurance at accelerations in excess of 14,000 g.

“All the research into materials contributed to this record resistance and lightness. Credit for this achievement is also due to our use of a crystal made of PMMA, a polymer with an anti-scratch treatment. Sapphire was too heavy for the challenge.” explained Julien Boillat, Technical Director of Casings.

Thanks to bold and exclusive innovations, every gram removed to complete the RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal adds value to this unparalleled watch. The weight of time takes on a new dimension.

“What truly binds us is the human side – the strength of our friendship with Rafa. After all the time we’ve spent together, we’re looking forward to continuing our exchanges for many years to come. The RM 27-05 is a testament to both this long friendship and our shared enjoyment. And, looking to the future, the techniques used to develop the RM 27-05 will undoubtedly benefit all our future creations,” said Alexandre Mille, Commercial Director.


My journey
with Richard Mille  

I still remember the day in 2008, when Richard contacted me to discuss a potential collaboration involving wearing a Richard Mille watch during my tennis matches. As someone who had never worn anything on my wrists, it seemed almost impossible for me to consider.

Between managing nerves and requiring total concentration during a game, any small distraction can be critical. I didn’t want to pursue it any further. When telling a friend about it, he replied, “If you’re going to explore this opportunity with anyone, it should be with Richard Mille”.

I listened to his advice and contacted Richard. My main condition for wearing a watch during competition was its lightness, I didn’t want to feel it on my wrist. Everything changed in 2010 when the first prototype was ready. Richard came to visit me in Mallorca and, as a joke, he presented me with a very heavy platinum watch. Seeing my worried reaction, he quickly revealed the real prototype: the RM 027, a surprisingly light watch with a spectacular design. I was immediately won over.

We had to make some adjustments to the watch, including fixing how the band rubbed against my skin and making sure sweat didn’t compromise its performance. I remember one day after training, I forgot that I was wearing the first prototype and dived straight into the pool... the watch filled with water.

For every problem, the Richard Mille team found a solution. They were always willing to improve the design until the watch was perfect: light and comfortable. I officially wore the RM 027 Tourbillon watch for the first time during the 2010 French Open. Richard and his entire team were on high alert and feared that the watch might fall off or distract me in some way, which thankfully never happened. Richard stayed behind the scenes to watch the match on a screen next to centre court. That year, I won three Grand Slam tournaments in a row: the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. Since then, Richard Mille watches have become an essential part of my equipment, to the point that I feel strange if I’m not wearing one. When I won my first US Open in 2010, I fell to the ground to celebrate my victory and unfortunately scratched the watch casing. I was really worried about Richard’s reaction. However, when I showed it to him, he immediately said, “I’ll keep it —for myself!” He quickly took it off my wrist and kept it as a souvenir.

Since the beginning, Richard has been a fundamental pillar of the Rafa Nadal Foundation and I’m really grateful for this, as it’s a project close to my heart. I think those of us who are born lucky in life have a duty and mission to set a positive example, and to help those who aren’t as fortunate. Even if we only change one person’s life, it’s worth it.

Perhaps the next champions, inspired by the Foundation, will also have the idea to make a positive contribution. Richard and I have also collaborated on other initiatives, such as the Action for Road Safety campaign with the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) and many other causes together. All of this has strengthened our relationship both professionally and personally, creating a strong bond and close friendship.

Enriching my life in many unexpected ways, Richard is quite simply a brilliant person with a unique business vision. In the watch industry, the emergence of a company like Richard Mille breaks the mould. What Richard has achieved in terms of innovation—both in technical and aesthetic aspects, and above all, by positioning his brand in a unique niche since the beginning—can only be the result of a truly daring mind.

“Now, after 14 years,
Richard Mille is part
of my family and my life.”

Richard Mille has been designing my watch collection for 14 years, and since then, I have never ceased to be amazed by the team’s capacity for innovation and integration of exceptional components. The latest model, the RM 27-05, is spectacular. Richard Mille’s ability to innovate and achieve goals in such a short period of time is honestly admirable. My visit to the Richard Mille factory in Les Breuleux in Switzerland completely changed my perspective, and I discovered a world that, until now, was completely unknown to me. It was a really memorable experience.

My relationship with the brand and with Richard personally, has undoubtedly been a pillar of my sporting career. We’ve had an exceptional journey together as they’ve supported me in all aspects of my life, and I hope that this bond continues for many more years to come. I know that once I retire from tennis, the watches will no longer have the same presence on the tennis court. However, I look forward to participating in events organised by Richard Mille, which I often haven’t been able to attend due to my busy competition schedule. Richard Mille is not only a partner: he has never stopped being by my side, in good times and in difficult times.



RM 027 Tourbillon, prelude to a great adventure  

The RM 027 Tourbillon was born of a challenge and grew to be an adventure. “Richard Mille has always wanted sportsmen and women to be able to wear a watch while playing their sport.” Salvador Arbona recalls the teams’ excitement when they heard that the future creation was destined for Rafa. Immediately, there was a torrent of questions: “Will a tourbillon calibre be able to withstand his ultra-powerful shots and long matches? How can we make it more robust? How can we prevent the watch rubbing with his two-handed backhand?”, recalls the Technical Director for Movements. “There were a lot of parameters,’” he summarises. “We were moving into the field of ultra-sportswear with a very high-level, high-performance player. It changed everything.”

RM 027 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal
Accustomed to the demanding challenge of thinking outside of their own boxes, the teams were quick to set the watch in motion thanks to clear guiding principles. “The design of the RM 027 began with the desire to develop an extremely light timepiece for Rafa. We looked at the materials we could use to make it even lighter and more robust,” says Yves Mathys, Director. “Historically, we had used titanium and ALUSIC® to ensure lightness in our collections. The RM 027 follows on from the RM 009, which weighs 30 grams, strap included,” says Julien Boillat, Technical Director of Casings. “To fulfil Richard’s wish for a watch weighing less than 20 grams, we opted for a composite reinforced with carbon nanotubes.”

Creating a watch with outstanding performance is far from a smooth ride, especially when the twists and turns are worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster.

“The timing was crucial. Richard told us that the watch would need to be ready for Flushing Meadows in September 2010. In February, he came back and told us that he wanted the watch to be on Rafa’s wrist not for the US Open, but for the French Open, which starts in May,” says Yves Mathys. So everything accelerated. “Creating the RM 027 changed everything, right down to the way we work. The teams shared their ideas more to find the best way to case up the piece and hold it firm. The many suggestions made allowed us to keep progressing,” explains Salvador Arbona. This harmonious working style resulted in perfect symbiosis between the technical and design departments.

The design of the RM 027 is true to the founding archetypes of the Richard Mille collections, such as architectural lightness, achieved notably through a case middle with a solid back. “Rafa led us to develop the Velcro® strap, which was decisive not only in the quest for ultra-lightness but also allowed us to do away with the titanium buckle that bothered him when hitting a two-handed backhand. This strap, which has become emblematic, is now supplied with all our sports watches.”

Yves Mathys remembers Roland-Garros in 2010: “No-one was allowed to talk to me during Rafa’s matches. I didn’t know whether the strap would hold up or not. Because it would have been a real disaster for us to see the watch suddenly fly off into the stands while Rafa was playing.” During the eagerly awaited final, the tension was at fever pitch. “Three seconds after Rafa’s win, we all received a text message from Richard saying, ‘Well done guys!’,” recalls the trio with emotion. The French Open ended on a high. The story was just beginning.

The story
of the RM 027


6-4, 6-2, 6-4. Rafa Nadal’s relentless defense and exceptional court coverage left his opponent with no chance on 6 June 2010. At 24 years of age, and as in all his matches over that fortnight in Paris, the superstar took his fifth straight victory on the clay courts of Roland Garros, wearing the RM 027 Tourbillon, a world first! With its record-breaking lightness (at the time) of less than 20 grams including the strap, the piece’s ingenious construction was fascinating. Its extreme lightness was combined with unassailable strength and stability. Two-handed backhands and repeated powerful lasso forehands tested not only the Majorcan’s opponents, but also the components of the watch and its 3.83-gram titanium and LiTAL® movement. None of them moved a millimetre.

Optimal strength and rigidity secured the RM 027 Tourbillon’s formidable efficiency. This timepiece inaugurated the new collection of Rafa Nadal tourbillons, each of which took Richard Mille further along the road of achievement and innovation.

“The RM 027 collection has left its mark on our story and all our developments. It also encapsulates the Richard Mille identity. The evolution of the brand can be understood by looking at the innovations in each of its constitutive pieces. Taking up the challenge of putting a watch on Rafa’s wrist was tantamount to a constant quest for risk”, explains Alexandre Mille, Richard Mille’s Commercial Director.

Working on stamina, displaying unfailing consistency and continually improving technique: the trophies won by Rafa Nadal are the result of his total commitment and giving his all on the courts. The same rigour was applied to finalising each creation bearing his name. All the models in the RM 027 Tourbillon Collection are examples of how complex challenges can be solved. In 2013, Rafa won his eighth French title. That year, the RM 27-01 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal redefined the notion of performance.

RM 27-01 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal
Thanks to an audacious mechanical architecture, the calibre was linked to the carbon nanotube case by four 0.35 mm-diameter braided steel cables, which enabled the watch to absorb the shocks inflicted by the tennis player without consequence. This exclusive suspension structure gave it the ability to withstand accelerations of up to 5,000 g. The RM 27-01 weighed just 18.83 grams, including the strap. An unprecedented record for a tourbillon watch.

RM 27-02 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal
Two years later, the RM 27-02 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal made its dazzling debut on the courts. This model redefined the principles of watch construction. For the first time, the unibody baseplate, inspired by a racing car chassis, increased rigidity and strength by fusing the plate with the caseband. This innovation was further enhanced by the introduction of new-generation materials: Carbon TPT® and Quartz TPT®. Each Richard Mille creation is enriched by the human relationships established with Swiss partner North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT), which enabled the brand to redraw the limits of technical possibility.

RM 27-03 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal
With the RM 27-03 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal (2017), Richard Mille continued to explore new territories. Its high-density, stabilised and durable shades, in the colours of Spain, adorned the case machined from Quartz TPT®. The symbiotic relationship between its skeletonised movement and its unibody baseplate was inspired by the sculptural case of its predecessor. Its calibre could withstand shocks of up to 10,000 g. But all records are made to be broken, and the RM 27-04 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal (2020) crowned a decade of exploits. This model offers unprecedented shock resistance of up to 12,000 g. On its dial, an 844 mm² mesh made of a single 0.27 mm-diameter braided-steel cable acts as the baseplate. The case, with its bead-blasted and satin finishes, is machined from TitaCarb®, a carbon-fibre-reinforced polyamide.

RM 27-04 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal
Physical transformation and technical progress. Rafa Nadal takes a methodical approach to adding to his string of achievements. Just like Richard Mille. Giving the best of themselves sums up the everyday lives of top-level athletes and the brand’s teams. With great rigour, the RM 027 collection has brought about some remarkable changes.

RM 27-05
Flying Tourbillon
Rafael Nadal

The weight
of the matter  

This exciting adventure is part of a quest that started 14 years ago. And with the RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal, a limited edition of 80 pieces, this Richard Mille saga concludes on a transcendent note. The watch weighs 11,5 grams, excluding its strap.

Here, fresh from first handling the finished model, Alexandre Mille, Commercial Director, Salvador Arbona, Technical Director for Movements, Julien Boillat, Technical Director for Casings and Yves Mathys, Director, share their visceral response. The experience they’ve acquired over the years has consolidated their know-how and broadened the scope of what is possible in watchmaking.

The quartet’s conversation highlights both individual feelings and the esprit de corps they share. It speaks to a balance of unity and diversity ideal for creating a work of art whose performance is as formidable as that of Rafa throughout his career.

Alexandre Mille • The RM 027 collection perfectly represents Richard Mille’s identity. It’s an insight into the evolution of the brand, model after model. The most striking characteristic of the RM 27-05 is its aesthetics. This marks a desire on the part of the brand to return to its roots, to a sober design.

Yves Mathys • Since 2010, developing a piece for Rafa has been a regular refrain in our planning schedule. Each time, we’ve pushed the limits further. We’ve made progress thanks to the use of new materials, an innovative case with unprecedented stiffness, and an ever-increasing number of demanding tests. The RM 27-05 brings to bear the vast expertise that the entire collection represents. Definitely, the link with the first RM 027 is indisputable. And this was something we had very much in mind when we set out to set a record for weight by launching research into materials and movement design. A new, significantly stiffer carbon, developed in collaboration with NTPT, played a key role in achieving our goal. And in terms of construction and stiffness, the RM 27-05 represents a veritable distillation of our work. It sums up everything we have developed so far for Rafa.

AM • A clear sightline aided in the conception of the watch, as well as helping to define its identity.

Salvador Arbona • Exactly! Julien suggested making a very thin case. And, ultimately, the thickness achieved is just 7.20 mm. It was therefore imperative to create an extra-flat movement. As we had just finalised the development of the RM UP-01 Ferrari Ultraflat watch, we decided to adopt its engine, although we had to add a tourbillon. Due to the large size of the barrel, we had to ponder where to position the regulating organ and the minute track from both a technical and aesthetic point of view. Likewise, we similar work on surfaces. The lines we chose were influenced by the world of sport, Rafa’s world, including the curves of tennis rackets.

AM • This choice takes the form of the sweeping arc that hangs over the entire calibre and recalls the bridges on the RM 27-02.

SA • Previous designs were a source of inspiration, and transparency was an obvious choice, as was maximum technical sophistication and strength. The conclusions drawn based on finite element analysis, aesthetic exploration and research into anchor points all contributed to the design’s articuation. The overall effect had to be consistent, with a very high-quality finish.

AM • For the RM 27-05, form follows function. The creation of its calibre is linked to an objective. The same applies to its case.

Julien Boillat • The specifications dictated both aesthetics and performance. However, the starting point for the watch’s development was weight. We were lucky enough to benefit from the innovations of the RM UP-01 Ultraflat Ferrari for the calibre. Likewise, for the case, we took the same approach: a stubborn determination to save every last fraction of a gram. There are no screws holding the movement and case together. The entire mechanism sits inside the monobloc caseback, topped by the flange and followed by the bezel and crystal. These put pressure on the calibre to hold it firmly in place. As Yves mentioned, Carbon TPT® B.4 offers the best weight-performance-rigidity ratio, bar none. It allows us to obtain ever thinner sections. Every milligram or millimetre has been pared away from the skeletonised movement and case walls. As with any record, meeting this weight-limiting objective demanded daily training, testing and research... It will take a huge amount of effort to surpass it.

SA • For the creation of the RM 27-01, Julien and I very quickly concluded that the only way to save weight was to reduce the thickness of the watch; we made the same decision for the RM 27-05. Thanks to technological resources, the work of materials engineers and extreme simulations for the case and movement, we realised that saving weight at calibre level might not be the right solution. So we took all the parameters into account. By way of comparison, the movement of the RM 027 weighs 3.83 grams. The RM 27-05’s, at 3.79 grams, is slightly lighter. Nevertheless, the calibre contributes in its entirety to the rigidity of the timepiece, because it is clamped between the upper flange and the case, which has been lightened. Based on our analyses, which list all the components and their respective weights, we decided which could be lightened to achieve the best compromise. The simulations also made it easier to check the behaviour of the joints and the bezel. They helped us determine how many screws on the bezel were essential. Moving from analysed theory to verified practice taught us a lot.

YM • It was also the first time that we had carried out finite element calculations, tensile and torsion simulations. As the prototypes progressed, we realised that everything that had been calculated beforehand turned out to be accurate, and we saved precious time.

JB • The very design of the strap also contributed to saving weight. Whereas our elastic bracelets have a rubber coating on the part where they meet the case, here we opted for fabric, eliminating half a gram from the whole watch. Instead of a sapphire crystal, which is also too heavy, we found a lighter alternative in PMMA, a polymer with an anti-scratch treatment that ensures a level of transparency far superior to that of sapphire. All our research into materials contributed to this record lightness. Without the strap, the watch weighs 11,5 grams. The progress is real in 14 years.

AM • Also, when we were introduced to the movement, we were surprised by the presence of a tourbillon and a barrel, both flying. Removing the bridges logically reduces the weight, but is it appropriate for a timepiece that is going to be subjected to so many violent shocks?

SA • Thanks to a base fitted with ball bearings, the tourbillon retains its performance while making it possible to do away with a bridge. Making the barrel fly likewise fit with our need for lightness. Its extreme thinness, less than 0,72 mm thick, helped us to develop an extra-flat calibre with volume. The barrel was thus pressed into service of this singular aesthetic.

JB • To compare the RM 67-02 is 7.80 mm thick and the RM 27-05 is 7.20 mm thick. Seen from the side, the curves are similar, as are the dimensions. It’s only the loss of weight that makes the watch thinner.

AM • You talk about rigidity. You mentioned weight savings. However, the lighter a watch is, the more shocks will affect its flying tourbillon movement.

SA • Overall simulations, together with the casing, led to our positioning the calibre 5/100e from the back on six support points so it participates in the rigidity of the watch. This option ensures that the movement works perfectly. The constant compromise between rigidity and flexibility determines the dimensions of the highly skeletonised plate and enables good shock absorption.

AM • R&D, finite element calculations and numerous tests accelerated our progress tenfold. At the end of each cycle, we asked ourselves. That’s where our 14 years of experience were decisive. Our human resources and our laboratory became our assets. Our 14 years of experience, our human resources and our laboratory became our decisive assets.

YM • The specifications for the RM 27-05 had to include these aspects to satisfy our desire to offer the optimal resistance intrinsic to the company, while ensuring superior wearing comfort. The RM 027 collection’s most emblematic technical feature is indisputably its weight.

AM • And we wanted to go even further, by creating a model that brought together all the major advantages of the five previous creations. The RM 27-05 embodies both the excellence of the collection and everything that our relationship with Rafa has brought us in terms of research and development. It’s part of our identity to seek out a challenge. Thanks to these different stages of production, the calibre of the RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal boasts an impressive technical data sheet.

SA • Indeed, the movement has a 55-hour power reserve and incorporates a flying tourbillon oscillating at a frequency of 3 Hz. Its baseplate is made of titanium, optimally skeletonised, with a black PVD treatment. The bridges are made of grade 5 titanium and Carbon TPT® to make the watch even lighter. Each wheel is hooped, and the corners are hand polished. The barrel is a masterpiece of traditional craftsmanship. The finish of the baseplate is identical above and below, requiring hours of effort with the standards of fine watchmaking.

AM • To achieve these results, we did not stint on the time spent.

JB • It all started in 2019. After an initial period of eight months of research and overall development, designing the case required 2,000 hours of work.

SA • It took the same amount of time to create the movement! The computerised portion represents 20% of the total time. Drafting the specifications for the RM 27-05 took around 400 hours.

YM • At the beginning, ideas come from everywhere, from the technical offices and from management. Nothing is set in stone, everything evolves at each meeting, thanks to our discussions aimed at drawing up these non-exhaustive specifications.

AM • Everyone brings their own vision of what the Nadal collection means to them. The RM 27-05 is a synthesis of these investigations. We knew that the project is going to be worn on Rafa’s wrist, so our motivation to design a watch that’s truly in his image was sky-high. He’s such a simple, friendly, family man that ideas come thick and fast. Everything we do determines the perceived value of the watch. In the past, the perceived value of a watch was its weight, the weight of its platinum or gold case. Richard Mille redefined this perception. Each gram shed is the result of many years of development and numerous technical and human investments. Each gram we shave off also justifies the value of the watch without adding unnecessary weight.

SA • The simulations proved their worth, as did the use of tomography with a 3D laser scanner. We were able to check at every stage, after each prototype, that everything was running smoothly. This examination technique allows us to carry out a complete scan of the watch, so we can see if any elements have shifted or bent after the shock tests. On the case, we can check that the seal remains correctly positioned around the periphery of the watch. All these investments in precision have pushed our limits even further.

JB • We also carried out simulations of deformations as a function of pressure, traction, and torsion. For the PMMA crystal seal, we were able to analyse the deformations encountered at pressures equivalent to depths of 10 metres, 20 metres and 30 metres.

YM • We tried out tomography experimentally while developing the RM 67-02. Although the technique is routinely used for metallic materials, the same cannot be said for multi-layer fibres, which react quite differently. It is essential to work with specialists, as analysis of these composites is much more complex.

JB • We’ve developed a battery of tests, from the standard 50 g, small shocks, to 500 g, or medium shocks. For severe shocks, we use the sheep pendulum Charpy test. The watch will receive a blow from the front, one at 9 o’clock and another at 3 o’clock on the crown. After these tests, the watch can resist up to 14,000 g. Meanwhile, the trap-door test determines resistance to falls. All these tests are carried out in-house, using our own equipment. But to corroborate the results, we commission an external laboratory to carry out exactly the same tests. These processes guarantee the quality, performance and correct manufacture of each piece. An extreme watch calls for extreme quality!

SA • The RM 27-05, like all our sports watches, also underwent the famous gauntlet of tests we refer to as the ’Nadal’. We’ve been running them since we first created a timepiece for Rafa. The watch is subjected to a series of vertical and horizontal shocks with accelerations of 200 to 300 g. These tests are applied to each watch before delivery.

YM • Like Rafa, who year after year, day after day, hour after hour, has to fight to stay at the top, the range has adopted a mindset of always going above and beyond. And so have we. For us, the parallels between the technical development of a fine watch and the training of a top sportsman are obvious.

SA • We owe Rafa so much – he has given us so much. He’s made us progress. Having him as a partner is beyond motivating. We are so proud to have designed all these watches with him. So, yes, we absolutely had to create yet another exceptional sports watch. I think we’ve succeeded.

AM • We’ve talked about our research and development process. But what really binds us together is the human side and the strength of our friendship with Rafa. After so many years together, we intend to continue our dialogue for many years to come. The RM 27-05 is a testament to both this long friendship and our shared enjoyment.

JB • The RM 27-05 closes one chapter. But it’s the start of another, and I’m very excited about the future with Rafa. These 14 years of accumulated technical experience have helped us to mature professionally. It’s a great story of friendship, both with Rafa and amongst ourselves.

SA • For me, it’s really a team effort. A shared achievement.

YM • The watch is a testament to the teams’ unwavering determination.

AM • We have acquired countless skills. The RM 27-05 radiates both specific techniques and Technicity itself. Richard Mille has tremendous expertise in the areas of both casing and movement design. These assets offer vast horizons for the future.


A new composite  

There are powerful arguments for creating a lighter timepiece. To achieve this feat, Richard Mille opted for a derivative of Carbon TPT® called Carbon TPT® B.4, an optimised anisotropic material. Compared to previous iterations, the density of this composite is increased by 4%, the rigidity of its fibre by 15% and the strength of the resin by 30%. “15% might not sound like much, but it’s actually quite substantial. Thanks to these optimisations, we’ve been able to machine slimmer case sections, making the whole watch lighter without losing any rigidity. We really work to pare off that last hundredth of a gram,” confides Yves Mathys.

In 2018, the specialising in composite materials, North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT), presented Carbon TPT® B.4. In-depth analyses were carried out by Richard Mille the following year. The results were conclusive and promising. Development and production could begin. Finite element calculations, initiated externally in 2021, inaugurated the RM 27-05 project.

Composite machining enabled the creation of a highly refined case, the culmination of five full years of research and development. “The fibres are thicker, at 50 microns, versus 30 microns for Carbon TPT®, but its strength means thinner components. This gives us 1/10th mm of material in the caseback, 8/10th mm of cross-section in the caseband and the crystal reaches 1/20th mm. The thinnest section of the bezel measures 6/10ths of a millimetre,” explains Julien Boillat.

It is important to note that the Carbon TPT® B.4 fibres are obtained from a superimposed weave using a specific 70° orientation of layers that provides the best ratios, weight, performance and rigidity, all in keeping with the watch’s powerful architecture. This process creates an X-shaped structure within the monobloc caseback on which the movement is positioned. The tonneau shape means that this X is also found on the outside. This option also adds extra rigidity to the bezel, flange and caseband.

“Thanks to the human and technological resources we have today, combined with the expertise and support of the R&D engineers and teams at NTPT, we carried out numerous simulations for the case and movement in order to trim away every last gram. After considerable development, such a performance requires daily training, myriad tests and a great deal of research,” enthuses Salvador Arbona.

The merciless hunt to save the smallest fraction of a gram exposes the watch to the risks and consequences of minor knocks, which are as linked to the hazards of everyday life as to those of the 14-time Roland Garros champion’s back-to-back shots.

Thanks to bold innovations, every gram removed to complete the RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal adds value to this unparalleled watch. The weight of time takes on a new dimension.


RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal  


The 5N gold PVD-treated flying tourbillon benefits from the energy transmitted by the flying barrel to perform its gyrations in one minute.


Less than 1 mm thick, this large barrel with its warm 5N gold PVD coating contributes to the calibre’s overall slimness and stores the energy needed to guarantee the movement’s 55-hour power reserve.


Its emblematic curved lines and curves have become a signature. For the first time, the case is machined in Carbon TPT® B.4. The criss-cross striations of this material reinforce the watch’s rigidity, while playing a key aesthetic role in asserting its sporty personality.


The remarkable lightness of this comfortable, resistant strap, made of elastic fabric and Velcro®, contributes to the watch’s record weight.




11.5 g Weight of the watch, excluding strap
3.79 g Calibre weight
0.269 g Tourbillon cage weight
7.20 mm Thickness of the watch
14,000 g’s Chocs resistance
4,000 hours Development time
231 Number of components
55 hours Power reserve


Richard Mille
RM 27-05
Flying Tourbillon
Rafael Nadal

Technical specifications

Limited edition of 80 pieces.

Calibre RM27-05: Manual winding flying tourbillon movement with hours and minutes.

Dimensions: 37.25 x 47.25 x 7.20 mm

Main characteristics


Power reserve: Around 55 hours (±10%)

Baseplate and bridges in grade 5 titanium and carbon TPT®
The baseplate and bridges are crafted of microblasted and PVD-treated grade 5 titanium, a biocompatible, highly corrosion resistant and remarkably rigid alloy, which enables the gear train to function effortlessly. The alloy is 90% grade 5 titanium, 6% aluminium and 4% vanadium. This combination further increases the material’s mechanical properties, which explains its frequent use in the aerospace, aeronautics and automotive industries.

The V-shaped gear train bridge is machined from Carbon TPT®, a material consisting of multiple layers of parallel carbon filaments impregnated with resin then stacked with a 45° shift between layers. It is then heated to 120°C at a pressure of 6 bars before machining. Carbon TPT® is renowned for its excellent resistance to microcracks and splits.

Associating titanium and Carbon TPT® in the calibre confer great rigidity on the whole assembly, as well as the precise surface flatness essential for perfect functioning of the gear train.

This ultraflat and ultralight calibre, with a total weight of 3.79 grams, was subjected to separate and extensive validation tests to ensure it met rigorous optimal strength requirements. Engineered for the extraordinary, the RM 27-05 stands as a paragon of resistance, effortlessly withstanding shocks beyond 14,000 g’s, a testament to its unparalleled robustness.

Flying tourbillon with variable-inertia balance
The flying tourbillon sets itself apart for its unique single-sided mounting, doing away with the conventional upper bridge. This distinctive design not only grants an unimpeded view of its complex workings but also trims down overall weight.

The tourbillon’s free-sprung balance offers better reliability in the event of shocks or movement assembly and disassembly, while guaranteeing better chronometric results over an extended period of time. The regulator index is eliminated, and a more accurate and repeatable calibration is possible thanks to 4 small, adjustable weights located directly on the balance.

Fast-rotating flying barrel (5.2 hours per revolution)
The fast-rotating flying barrel used in the RM 27-05 provides the following advantages:
  • The phenomenon of periodic internal mainspring adhesion is significantly diminished, thereby increasing performance.
  • Provision of an excellent mainspring delta curve with an ideal power reserve/performance and regularity ratio.
Barrel pawl with progressive recoil
This device permits a profitable winding gain (around 20%), especially during the winding start. It is also helpful in the even distribution of the mainspring’s internal tension.

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

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

Movement features


  • Movement dimensions: 32.75 x 28.95 mm
  • Thickness: 2.12 mm
  • Tourbillon diameter: 10.30 mm
  • Balance diameter: 9.00 mm
  • Jewels: 22
  • Balance: Glucydur®,with 2 arms and 4 setting weights, moment of inertia 11.50 mg.cm², angle of lift 53°
  • Frequency: 3 Hz (21,600 vph)
  • 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
Monobloc case in carbon TPT® B.4
The RM 27-05 incorporates Carbon TPT® B.4, a new material at Richard Mille developed on the basis of Carbon TPT®. Initially used in Formula 1, its role in construction of the RM 27-05 is the culmination of five years’ R&D by our Swiss partner, the composite specialist North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT).

The production of Carbon TPT® B.4 is the same production process as Carbon TPT®. Hundreds of layers or parallel carbon filaments no more than 50 microns across are impregnated with an all-new high-performance resin, then stacked using a machine unique to NTPT that modifies the fibres’ orientation by 70° between layers. This specific weave optimises the material’s strength-to-weight ratio when machined. The composite is then heated to 120° at a pressure of 6 bars for subsequent machining at Richard Mille.

Carbon TPT® B.4 is an optimised anisotropic material. Compared to Carbon TPT®, this new composite is 4% denser, its fibres are 15% stiffer, and the resin is 30% more resistant. These qualities make it possible to machine thinner pieces for the case and thus lighten the whole without loss of rigidity—as, for instance, on the monobloc caseback and caseband.

Interior flange
Upper flange in Carbon TPT® B.4 with hour-markers filled with an approved luminescent substance.


Lightweight PMMA polymer with scratch-resistant coating. The exceptional transparency of this composite makes the application of an anti-glare coating unnecessary.

Thickness: 1.20 mm; 0.30 mm at the edges



  • Hand-polished bevelling
  • Microblasted milled sections
  • Hand-drawn or polished outer faces
  • 5N gold coatings
Steel parts
  • Microblasted surfaces
  • Satin-finished surfaces
  • Hand-polished bevelling
  • Hand-drawn surfaces
  • Lapped and polished ends
  • Burnished pivots
  • Circular finished faces
  • Hand-polished bevelling
  • Sunray finishing
  • Rhodium-plating (before cutting the teeth)
  • Minimal corrections applied to the wheels in order to preserve geometry and performance