When Rafael Nadal steps on to the court tomorrow to take on Frenchman Richard Gasquet in one of two U.S. Open men’s semi-finals (the other features Novak Djokovic against a Swiss player not named Federer), he will as usual have some stellar time-keeping reinforcement on his right wrist.
In case you missed it, CNBC “Inside Wealth” columnist Robert Frank had a fascinating look earlier this week at the latest watch worn during matches by Nadal. The first one designed in partnership with Richard Mille sold out quickly on the consumer side at $525,000 a pop. The new model sported these days by the Spaniard (the RM027-01) will retail for a cool $690,000:
Nadal’s signature left-handed “whip” forehand has been clocked at over 4,000 revolutions per minute, and although the watch is on his right wrist, they wanted it to be durable enough to withstand huge force when he plays his double-handed backhand, which can clock in at more than 3,000 RPM.
Mille created a radical new design, using a series of tiny cables, tensioners that “suspend” the movements in the watch casing. The result: the watch can withstand accelerations of up to 5,000 Gs of force. (To put this in perspective, anything over the force of 10 G is potentially lethal for humans.) And with the use of carbon nanotubes, aluminum lithium and titanium, it’s only 19 grams.
The minute, hour and second hands on the RM027-01 are all pointing towards a Sunday top seeds showdown between Djokovic and Nadal. At which time they will be competing for a cash prize of right around four watches.