If you are inspired enough by Rafael Nadal’s performance at the Australian Open but not quite ready to commit to Richard Mille’s RM 027 series tourbillons he sports on the courts, there is a solution: the RM 35-03 Automatic Rafael Nadal, also charmingly known as the Baby Nadal.
Although a condensate version of its big brother, this little one comes with its own plus point: The butterfly rotor, which allows the wearer to directly interact with the rotor’s geometry, controlling the movement’s winding speed based on lifestyle and activity levels, for a complication that is playful and practical in equal measures.
While the Calibre RMAL1 of the RM 35-02 already possessed a variable geometry rotor, it could never be adjusted by the wearer — for watchmaking aficionados craving more interaction that merely setting the time cannot provide, this new watch is ideal.
In a manner similar to a car’s gearbox, a push button located at 2 o’clock allows one to select the winding, neutral and hand-setting functions with a simple push, while a hand at 2 o’clock on the dial displays the selected function. A crown at 3 o’clock serves time adjustments.
RM 35-03 ‘baby’ Nadal is available in two versions that utilise white and blue quartz TPT and carbon TPT for its case and caseband. The entirely skeletonised movement can be admired from both sides thanks to sapphire crystals on the front and back. The baseplate and bridges, crafted from grade 5 titanium with a grey electroplasma and PVD treatment, further accentuate the bold visual statement of this watch.
The openwork hands sweep along the outer flange, also in microblasted grade 5 titanium, punctuated with the numbers 3, 6, 9 and 12 and slanted inward towards the movement to enhance depth.
This article first appeared on Jan 31, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.