Over the years, there have been a few constants with Rafael Nadal on the tennis court. The current number one player in the world has played with Babolat tennis racquets his entire life and has worn Nike clothing exclusively during his professional career. He never takes the court without a bandana and thick wristbands to help control the sweat.
Another constant of his on-court attire during the second half of his career is a watch on his right wrist. Many saw it as a massive change from his routine, but it also sparked intrigue.
What watch does Nadal wear? The current watch worn by Rafael Nadal is the Richard Mille RM27-03. It is a manual winding tourbillon explicitly designed for the tennis champion. From the colors to the bridge of the watch, people can recognize his Richard Mille watch from the others in the collection.
Rafael Nadal’s Relationship With Richard Mille
Officially, the Richard Mille website lists Rafael Nadal as a friend and partner of the company. In fact, Mille himself has stated that they have formed a strong commitment to each other to provide not only a perfect watch, but a more luxurious lifestyle.
Nadal and Mille first met in 2008, instantly forming a connection. The Spaniard was always a fan of Mille and his watches, but did not know where their relationship would go after meeting. Some sports are harder to compete in with watches than others. For a top player like Nadal, he didn’t want to mess with his game at all.
After doing some heavy convincing to get Nadal to commit to wearing a watch on the court, they initially put him with the lightest tourbillion in the world at that time. Since then, there have been a few different models in the collection, and he currently wears the RM 27-03 tourbillion.
The color used for the watch reflects Nadal’s Spanish heritage. It is a bit flashier than the standard watch from Richard Mille, but it goes well with the style of play and what he wears on the court. It is one of the sportier options provided by the company.
Breaking Down The Richard Mille 27-03
The manual winding tourbillion designed for Rafael Nadal is definitely an eyecatcher. From the bright yellow and red colors on the watch, to the bridge inside the watch, it is pretty noticeable that this is designed for the Spanish tennis star.
Cutting-edge technology and craftsmanship are huge for any Richard Mille watch. The most talked-about feature is just how light it is, but just as stunning are the different movements inside. The free-sprung balance with variable inertia is tough to understand until seeing the watch up close. The build is very similar to that of a race car, as the entire watch is streamlined.
Speaking of comparisons to a race car, the unibody design of the watch helps control weight, reduce impact during accidents, and more. This watch has a lot of tiny parts, but they are all properly protected if anything happens. Although it would be terrible to see Nadal fall or stumble, the watch should hold up just fine even in action on the court.
How Much Does Nadal’s Watch Cost?
The headlines involving Nadal’s watch almost always include the price. While the sensationalized value of his watch has grabbed headlines in the past, it is still one of the most expensive pieces in the tennis world.
Most reputable sources have the watch ballparked at around $700,000. This price varies greatly, thanks in large part to the exclusivity of the timepiece. Since there are a lot of watch collectors who would love to add it to their collection, the price fluctuates significantly.
Nadal has worn other watches from Richard Mille in the past, which are much more attainable overall. Still, the company is one of the most expensive in the world at this point. The average entry-level watch will cost about $80,000. Some very limited models are well over $1 million.
Does The Watch Affect The Play of Nadal?
When Nadal first played a tournament with a watch on his wrist, it instantly caught the attention of tennis fans everywhere. After all, Nadal is considered by many to be the most superstitious player on tour. He is notorious for not changing any of his routines throughout the year. He even plays with the same racquet he has played with for most of his career, just with new paint jobs to market the current release from Babolat.
In order for Richard Mille to convince Nadal to start wearing it on the court, it took more than just money. The specific deal and the cost of the watch are nothing compared to the prize money and other endorsements he has and could potentially lose if he is not playing at a high level. That’s why the watch had to be extremely lightweight and not a hindrance in the slightest.
The very first watch was the lightest tourbillon model ever, and it has not affected his game in the slightest. Even though both sweatbands do not match up 100% any longer, he still wears one on each wrist just like in the past. He briefly moved to a smaller wristband on his right wrist when he first started wearing the watch, but changed to the regular length shortly after.
The watch is on his non-dominant tennis hand, so it is not much of a factor unless he is hitting a backhand. Even then, he has never adjusted it or made any other changes during a match. Any fears of it messing his game up have gone away due to his results.
Do Other Pro Players Wear Watches?
Nadal might just have the most talked-about watch deal on tour right now. A lot of that comes down to the cost of the watch he wears, and one ended up missing. In 2012, there were reports that his watch was stolen at the French Open out of his hotel. It was later recovered, with an employee arrested for the theft.
With that said, he is far from the first tennis player with a watch deal. In fact, many of the top players have relationships with watch companies.
Pharrell Williams, Michelle Yeoh, and Bubba Watson are just a few others who are with Richard Mille with a similar label. These brand ambassadors are often sporting a watch most of the day, bringing attention to the luxurious brand.
Here are the watches other pro players wear:
- Stan Wawrinka’s Watch
- Roger Federer’s Watch
- Alexander Zverev’s Watch
- Novak Djokovic’s Watch
- Naomi Osaka’s Watch
- Serena Williams’ Watch
The Future of Nadal’s Watch Deal With Richard Mille
Throughout his career, Nadal has been very loyal to sponsors. He still uses Babolat racquets and Nike clothing, and his deal with Kia has been going on forever as well.
Unless something were to happen between Richard Mille and Nadal, the partnership seems to be a lifelong one. Expect Nadal to continue wearing the watch for the rest of his professional tennis career.
Nadal As An Marketing Figure
A lot of people wonder just how much of an impact an athlete can have when it comes to a luxury watch brand. Richard Mille is more than just a luxury brand, as the entry-level is barely under $100,000. Is Nadal helping sell these watches and making them money?
It is hard to measure, but they must be brand ambassadors for a reason. Richard Mille is marketing towards a specific type of client, which is why they run virtually no advertisements on television. Go to the local tennis club, and chances are there won’t be any of these watches on the rest of the players.
This is the highest of ends for a watch, but CEOs and other huge influencers see this as a status symbol with a tennis connection. To own any of Nadal’s watches is an instant conversation starter and a way to brag without ever saying a word.