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Unleashing The Butterfly Effect: Richard Mille Just Dropped The RM 35-03 Automatic Rafael Nadal

HighLifeChannel December 8, 2023

Rafael Nadal and Richard Mille have done it again. Their shared pursuit of perfection and passion for their crafts has culminated in the creation of the RM 35-03 Automatic Rafael Nadal — a timepiece that embodies the spirit of innovation and performance.

Inspired by the tourbillon watches that have graced Rafael Nadal’s wrist during his tennis triumphs, the “baby Nadal” collection is a testament to technological prowess tailored for those who demand peak performance. The RM 35-03, the fourth iteration in this esteemed collection, introduces the groundbreaking butterfly rotor, a mechanical innovation designed to revolutionize the art of timekeeping.

Rafael Nadal himself expresses the synergy between his passion for tennis and Richard Mille’s dedication to watchmaking excellence: “In our respective domains, we both seek to achieve excellence. We speak the same language, Richard and I. We’re both passionate about our work. Keeping alive this flame of passion for what we do each day is essential to me. It is heart-warming to feel the confidence that he and the teams show in allowing me to participate in this singular adventure.”

At the heart of this exceptional watch lies a patented marvel—the butterfly rotor—a product of three years of dedicated development. The butterfly rotor represents a paradigm shift in movement winding technology, a feat that required three years of meticulous development. While the RM 35-02 boasted a variable geometry rotor, a hallmark of Richard Mille automatic movements, the RM 35-03’s butterfly rotor introduces an interactive element. It allows wearers to directly influence the rotor’s geometry, thereby controlling the movement’s winding speed based on their lifestyle and activity levels.

Salvador Arbona, Technical Director for Movements, explains the innovation: “Previously, any modification of the rotor’s geometry needed to be done by one of our licensed watchmakers. We have perfected this system and given wearers the possibility of directly acting on the watch’s winding speed. It’s like a driver being able to adjust the transmission style from city use to racetrack by activating the sports mode.”

 Unleashing The Butterfly Effect: Richard Mille Just Dropped The RM 35-03 Automatic Rafael Nadal

The butterfly rotor comprises two arms made of grade 5 titanium, each mounted with heavy metal weight segments. These segments are activated by a dedicated push-piece and a separate gear train. In its initial position, the weight segments create a radial displacement of the gravitational center outward, translating every movement of the wearer into torque for rewinding the barrel. However, pressing the push-piece at 7 o’clock causes the rotor’s gears to expand the two weights to a 180° angle. This realignment of the gravitational center balances the rotor, suspending the winding process and preventing overwinding.

Switching between the normal mode and the “sports mode” provides haptic feedback, allowing wearers to feel the weight segments adjust on their wrist. A winding indicator at 6 o’clock on the dial clearly indicates whether the oscillating weight is active (ON) or not (OFF). Complementing this functionality is a function selector. By pressing the push-piece at 2 o’clock, users can seamlessly transition between winding (W), neutral (N), and time-setting (H) activities.

The RM 35-03 boasts an athletic and ergonomic design, available in three captivating versions: blue and white Quartz TPT®, Carbone TPT®, and white Quartz TPT®, and Carbone TPT® with cut-outs inspired by the RM 27-04 Tourbillon. Its fully skeletonized movement is a sight to behold from both sides, thanks to sapphire crystals on the front and back. The baseplate and bridges, meticulously crafted from grade 5 titanium with a grey electroplasma and PVD treatment, underscore the watch’s bold aesthetics.

 Unleashing The Butterfly Effect: Richard Mille Just Dropped The RM 35-03 Automatic Rafael Nadal

The openwork hands gracefully glide along the outer flange, also made of microblasted grade 5 titanium, featuring the numbers 3, 6, 9, and 12, and slanting inward toward the movement, enhancing its visual depth and allure. And with the revolutionary “butterfly rotor,” wearers can now experience their timepieces as an extension of their body, an embodiment of precision, innovation, and the pursuit of excellence.


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