Luxury watches and tennis have gone hand-in-hand for a long time. The most famous watchmaker and player partnership that comes to mind is Rolex and Roger Federer—with Rolex a prominent part of this week’s US Open.
There is another, slightly lesser-known collaboration between watchmaker and player to take note of: Rafael Nadal and Richard Mille. While most players put their sponsored watches on after match point, Nadal began wearing Richard Mille on court at the 2010 US Open.
Floyd Mayweather recently showed off a Rafael Nadal’s Richard Mille watch (the red RM035-02 Rafael Nadal QTPT, which has a price tag of $135,000.) The two athletes would have a lot in common with their respective dominance; the King of the Ring is 50-0 in his boxing career, while the King of Clay is 93-2 in Paris.
Mayweather’s recent watch choice only enhances the spotlight on Richard Mille that Nadal has helped brighten. When Nadal won the French Open last year, he got some attention for the $725,000 Richard Mille bright-colored RM 27-03 accessory on his wrist. When he won French Open No. 12 earlier this season, his watch was front and center once again when he shook hands with the King of Spain—who was wearing an RM009.
Nadal and Richard Mille have created a lasting relationship, coming out with a handful of versions of timepieces. The latest version, the RM027-03 has a red and yellow color scheme to represent the national flag of Spain, Nadal’s home country, and has a bull emblem, which goes hand-in-hand with Nadal’s brand.
On court, the world No. 2 is famous for his intensity and problem-solving tactics. He has found his equal in Richard Mille who had to do its own problem-solving for Nadal. The 33-year-old is notorious for his superstitious habits and attention to detail when it comes to his on-court comfort, and was certain that he would never find a watch light or comfortable enough to wear while playing.
Richard Mille proved him wrong by creating the lightest tourbillons in the world at the time (in 2008). His personalized watch weighs in around 30 grams, and Nadal refers to it as a “second skin.”
Richard Mille website describes its partnership with the 18-time Grand Slam champion as “Historic tennis longevity.” It’s fitting since, even closing in on two decades on tour, the Spaniard’s game doesn’t seem to be going out of style anytime soon.
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