Rafael Nadal renaissance provides shock boost for Richard Mille watches


Clock and watchmakers have battled for centuries to cushion their timepieces from major impacts that will affect the accuracy of their miniature mechanical marvels.

The last thing these finely balanced instruments need is the shock of 100 miles per hour tennis balls served towards them, let alone the immediate reverse in G-force of an equally powerful return of serve.

If you are going to put a mechanical watch through this sort of punishment, I would suggest a sub-£1000 model, and I would not expect it to keep perfect time by the end of a tennis match.

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Richard Mille, and its brand ambassador Rafael Nadal, see things differently.

Instead of waiting until the end of his Australian Open match against Milos Raonic before strapping on his custom-made Richard Mille RM 27-02, he wore the £720,000 timepiece throughout the encounter.

Mr Nadal’s progress into the semi-final of this year’s Australian Open is a bonus for Richard Mille, which has been sponsoring the Spanish star since 2010, and must have feared his profile had irreversibly slipped following a series of injuries.

But a semi-final win against Gregor Dimitrov could set up a dream final against Roger Federer, a match likely to attract the biggest world-wide audience of the decade for the Australian Open.

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder