Twenty-one Grand Slam titles, one million-dollar watch. It was all on view yesterday as Rafael Nadal beat Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open Men's Final tournament. He not only won the tournament but the moment also marked him surpassing Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic (the latter who didn't get to play in this Australian Open for well documented reasons) for the record of most Grand Slam titles ever.
He did it all with a ridiculously complicated and expensive watch on his wrist.
The particular Richard Mille watch Nadal wore is called the RM27-04, and you could easily spot its bright blue strap, black case and even the orange ring of its crown during the tournament and as Nadal held his trophy for pictures afterward. Nadal has been an ambassador for the ultra high-end watchmaker since 2010 — and he's not the kind of ambassador that simply needs to be seen wearing the product, but actually plays professional tennis with it.
Part of what makes the relationship unique and interesting is that these watches feature the type of intricate mechanical mechanisms that are typically very delicate (oh, and they're exorbitantly expensive). Naturally, such a watch needs to be able to withstand intense shocks as well as to be extremely lightweight in order not to distract from or otherwise impact the player's game.
The RM27-04 is made specifically to do all that, as it was produced especially for Nadal (as brands tend to do for their ambassadors). Introduced in 2020, it features a tennis-racket-like motif, a "TitaCarb" case that weighs an incredible 30g (including the strap) and is said to be able to withstand shocks of 12,000 Gs. Suspended by the racket-like lattice of (0.27mm) steel cables is a manually wound movement that incorporates one of watchmakings most prestigious and complicated (and typically delicate) feats: a tourbillon.
There's no need for a professional tennis player to wear a watch while playing, but at least a Richard Mille RM27-04 won't get in the way and will prove its technical chops beyond a doubt. The price should you want to take one on the court yourself? A cool $1,050,000.