Each year, on the eve of the French Open tennis tournament Richard Mille unveils a new high-performance timepiece celebrating its long-running partnership with Spanish player Rafael Nadal. This year sees the arrival of a new watch, called the “RM 35-02,” which is the very first in the Nadal collection to feature an automatic movement. Like its predecessors, the RM 35-02 coalesces the fruits of a constant quest for innovation within a unique design. Inspired by the RM 35-01, the RM 35-02 emerged in response to a request from many Richard Mille’s customers for a self-winding mechanism at the heart of a Nadal calibre.
The RM 35-02 is available in two high-tech case materials, either NTPT Carbon (used for the most recent watch in the series, last year’s RM 27-02) or a bright-red Quartz TPT with white highlights. The latter material is made up of silicon layers, each no thicker than 45 microns, treated with a red resin (created specifically for Richard Mille) and layered in an automated process that changes the direction of each layer by 45 degrees. The material is subsequently heated under pressure at 120 degrees Celsius, in an autoclave similar to those used for aeronautic components, before being machined into a completed case. The resulting natural white quartz fibers, left undyed and providing a stark contrast to the red resin, impart to the case a very high resistance-weight ratio, non-allergenic properties and remarkable UV resistance.
The RM 35-02 is also waterproof to 50 meters and comes with the all-new Caliber RMAL1 movement, baseplate and bridges made from wet sandblasted grade-five titanium with a black PVD finish for a smooth yet immensely durable timepiece. It is equipped with a variable inertia balance wheel – a component found in other Richard Mille movements – which oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vph, and its double-barrel system, designed to provided greater long-term torque stability, stores a power reserve of at least 55 hours.
Also new is sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective finish used for both the watch front and its exhibition caseback, so the movement can be admired from any angle.