Rafael Nadal is one of the foremost tennis players in the world. In the two decades since he turned pro at the young age of fifteen, he’s won eighteen Grand Slam titles. This includes a record twelve French Open singles titles, which has garnered him the nickname the “King of Clay.” He is also one of only two male players to win all four majors and an Olympic gold medal. As of 2019, he ranked world No. 2 in men’s singles tennis by the Association of Tennis Professionals. Nadal’s outstanding performance in the sport of tennis has caught the attention of countless brands. His sponsorship deals include names like Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Kia, and watchmaker Richard Mille.
So what watch does Rafael Nadal wear?
Richard Mille first partnered with Nadal back in 2010. That season, the star player sported the ultra-light RM 027 Tourbillon on the court, debuting it at the French Open. The brand designed the model specifically for Nadal and in a limited run of just 50 pieces. It featured a lightweight carbon composite case and flexible polycarbonate strap. However, the real magic was in the movement. The RM 027 Tourbillon is comprised of titanium and a unique alloy called LITAL. Both components contribute to the then-record-breaking lightweight construction. Adding to the wow-factor of the timepiece was the incredible price tag: $525,000. Ever since, Nadal and Richard Mille have continued to stun fans on the court with their technically innovative and over-the-top designs.
The following year, the duo unveiled another creation: the RM 035. It featured a distinctive tonneau shaped case, a signature of the Richard Mille brand. This time, they crafted the model from another ultra-lightweight material, a magnesium and aluminum alloy. The RM 035 also boasted a skeleton case showcasing the manually wound caliber RMUL1 with Chronofiable certification. Though equally impressive as the pair’s first collaboration, it came with a slightly lower price tag at $85,000.
In 2013, Nadal and Richard Mille upped the ante again with the second generation of the popular RM 027. Somehow, they made the watch even lighter and more impressive than the original. The RM 27-01 featured a new system that could withstand up to 5000 Gs of force. In addition to enhancing the model’s technical capabilities, the RM 27-01 introduced a new range of style options. However, the brand still only produced it in a limited run of just 50 pieces, and the price tag went up to a whopping $690,000.
A year later, the pair followed suit with a second edition of the RM 035. Once again, they simply named the new generation the RM 35-01. However, it was more of a departure from the original. Most notably, it lacked the tourbillon function. Instead, the manually wound RMUL3 caliber was a basic time-only movement with a 55-hour power reserve. The simplicity of the RM 35-01 reflected in the price tag, which came in at only $130,000.
In 2015, Rafael Nadal and Richard Mille made headlines again with the next generation of their original model. The RM 27-02 showcased new design elements, like a red-clay colored strap in honor of the “King of Clay” himself. However, the model introduced new functionality as well. The RM 27-02 debuted the very first skeletonized baseplate known as the “unibody.” The idea is that the case band and baseplate are fused into a single piece. The result is greater impact resistance on the court. Once again, the model was limited to just 50 pieces and priced at an all-time high: $775,000. That same year, the duo extended the RM 035 collection with a limited edition variation made exclusively for the American market.
Once more in 2016, Richard Mille extended their collection with Nadal by debuting the RM 35-02. The biggest update to the model came in the form of an all-new in-house movement. For the first time, one of the pair’s creations came equipped with an automatic quartz caliber. In addition, the model boasted a flashy new color scheme featuring a bright red case and contrasting yellow strap. This time, the model came in with a $145,000 price tag.
Richard Mille and Rafael Nadal continued to develop their debut collection in 2017 with the release of the RM 27-03. The third generation was once again bolder and more technically advanced. It introduced a totally new movement that could now withstand shocks of up to 10,000 Gs – an industry first. It also featured a yellow and red color scheme similar to the RM 35-02. However, this time it boasted a yellow strap and unique yellow and red wave pattern on the case. The design was reminiscent of the Spanish flag for the player’s home country. As before, Richard Mille only produced the model in 50 pieces and priced it at $725,000.
Editor’s Note: Updated in June of 2019 to add more current information