TOUGH LOVE

How a lux­ury watch brand builds high-end watches de­signed to take a beat­ing in high­stake sport­ing are­nas.

The Peak (Singapore) - - Contents - TEXT LYNETTE KOH

High- end watches de­signed to take a beat­ing in high-stake sport­ing are­nas.

Rafael Nadal has bro­ken sev­eral Richard Mille watches – and that’s ex­actly what the high-end brand’s founder wanted. When the ten­nis star be­gan col­lab­o­rat­ing with the brand nine years ago, he was asked to wear pro­to­types of the RM 27 tour­bil­lon watch while train­ing. Sev­eral watches were dam­aged in the process – un­sur­pris­ing to those fa­mil­iar with Nadal’s quick and ag­gres­sive style. But for Mille, such ex­treme real-life test­ing of­fers the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to strengthen the brand’s high­per­for­mance watches and make them uniquely suited to var­i­ous sports.

This is no com­mon oc­cur­rence. Whether it’s the added weight of a time­piece on the wrist, or the fact that lux­ury watches are usu­ally worn with care rather than bashed around in a sport­ing arena, many ath­letes with watch spon­sors strap on their time­pieces only af­ter the hard work is done.

Which is why Richard Mille’s sports part­ner­ships tend to get plenty of ink: Whether they are ten­nis pros or track-and-field stars, the brand’s am­bas­sadors must wear their watches while en­gaged in their sport of choice.

And we must say, see­ing Nadal ex­e­cute pow­er­ful strokes or tak­ing spills on the court while sport­ing a wrist­watch with a six-digit price tag and equipped with a tour­bil­lon – a typ­i­cally frag­ile high-horol­ogy mech­a­nism – is a pretty pow­er­ful mar­ket­ing ex­er­cise.

Here, we delve into some of Richard Mille’s most no­table high­per­for­mance time­pieces, and how they have been built to stand up to the stresses of spe­cific sports.

01 WIN­NING LOOK

Rafael Nadal wear­ing the RM 27-03, while en route to win­ning his 10th French Open ti­tle in June. 01

02 BUILT FOR SPEED

Wear­ing the RM 67-02, South African sprinter Wayde Van Niek­erk cel­e­brates win­ning the 400m sprint at the IAAF cham­pi­onships in Au­gust. 02

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