The new RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal is the lightest flying tourbillon by Richard Mille

The latest timepiece by Richard Mille weighs only 11.5 grams (excluding the strap) and can withstand a g-force 14,000 - a double whammy for a manual wound tourbillon watch
Debuting on the wrist of Richard’s Mille long-standing brand ambassador Rafael Nadal at the French Open 2024, the new RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal is the lightest flying tourbillon by the brand so far, weighing just 11.5 (excluding the strap). Limited to only 80 pieces, the 37.25mm x 47.25mm timepiece is made with a new composite Carbon TPT® B.4, an optimised anisotropic (having different physical properties in different directions) material that makes it possible to machine a thin case. 

Carbon TPT is a material that Richard Mille works with frequently, and the brand developed the new composite Carbon TPT® B.4 over the course of five years with the brand's Swiss (another long-standing) partner North Thin Ply Technology (NTPTTM). The new material is 4% denser, has fibre that’s 15% stiffer and resin 30% stronger than the earlier used Carbon TPT®. For optimum strength, the new composite material is woven in stacks using a specific 70° orientation between layers. It took the brand 4000 hours for designing the case and the calibre, resulting in a timepiece that can withstand the resistance to accelerations of over 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,” says Julien Boillat, Technical Director of Casings, Richard Mille.

Dial of the creation maintains the lightness, and features a PVD-treated titanium baseplate that is optimally skeletonised and hand-finished, including the hidden parts. There is a flying tourbillon positioned at 5 o’clock, and the mainspring barrel at 11 o’clock. To reduce the weight, the bridges are made of grade 5 titanium and Carbon TPT®. Movement of the watch is based on the ultra-thin RMUP-01 calibre beating at 3Hz, which measures 3.75 mm thick and weighs just 3.79 grams, and boasts a power reserve of 55 hours. The movement rests inside the monobloc back/caseband unit, topped by the flange and bezel. The whole assembly presses down on the calibre to hold it firmly in place. The calibre is positioned 5/100ths of an mm from the caseback on 6 support points, which contribute to the watch's stiffness. 

“Thanks to a base fitted with ball bearings, the tourbillon retains its performance while making it possible to do away with a bridge,” says Salvador Arbona, Technical Director for Movements, Richard Mille. “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”.

The association between Richard Mille and Rafael Nadal, who has won 22 Grand Slam men's singles titles, including a record 14 French Open titles, is more than a decade long. The two partnered first in 2010 with the RM 027 Tourbillon, followed by several dedicated models over the years. “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,” recalls Rafa Nadal. 

The other watches born out of the collaboration include RM 035 Rafael Nadal in 2011, RM 27-01 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal in 2013, RM 35-01 Rafael Nadal in 2014, RM 27-02 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal in 2015, the first Automatic Richard Mille Rafael Nadal Watch RM 35-02 in 2016, RM 27-03 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal in 2017, 10th Anniversary Richard Mille Rafael Nadal Watch RM 27-04 in 2020, RM 35-03 Automatic Winding Rafael Nadal in 2021. Read about the details of watches here.

The latest RM 27-05 Flying Tourbillon Rafael Nadal has a distinctive closed caseback with the brand’s name, water resistance, and limited edition details engraved on it. A black textile strap completes the watch. 

Images: Courtesy Richard Mille

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