Go­ing to Ex­tremes

Bespoke - - FASHIONISM -

The Richard Mille watch de­vel­oped for ten­nis champ, Rafael Nadal, is a test bed of high-tech en­gi­neer­ing, built to with­stand the most ex­treme con­di­tions, look like a mil­lion bucks and weigh as much as a feather. In essence, it’s a tour­bil­lon time­piece un­like any other.

The In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Le Grand Ho­tel is si­t­u­ated just across from the Place de l’opéra. We’re here to hon­our Rafael Nadal, who, in a de­par­ture from his usual hot, bare-shoul­dered, sports look, ap­pears as dap­per as can be in a prim, pressed and box-fresh tux. If we could step back in time, Vic­tor Hugo might have been among us, for I’m told he used to regularly hold court, so to speak, at the ban­quet halls of this ho­tel. Mar­cel Proust and Os­car Wilde were also reg­u­lars ap­par­ently, but at the ground floor’s Café de La Paix. Steeped in history it might be but tonight, celebri­ties of a dif­fer­ent kind have come to­gether – there’s Tommy Hil­figer, the Span­ish Am­bas­sador to France, the Pres­i­dents of the ATP and French Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion, for­mer ten­nis pro and seven-time win­ner at Roland Gar­ros, Chris Evert, Nadal’s coach (his un­cle), as well as the gor­geous Inés Sas­tre and of course, our host, Mon­sieur Richard Mille. As we en­ter the ball­room, where all the ta­bles are per­fectly set, with crys­tal and sil­ver­ware glis­ten­ing un­der the vi­o­let over­head lights, the sound of po­lite con­ver­sa­tion in French and Span­ish ta­pers off as soon as Nadal is ush­ered to the podium and be­gins to speak about his foun­da­tion, whose mis­sion, since it was es­tab­lished in 2007, has been to use sports to aid and pro­vide hope of a bet­ter life to so­cially dis­ad­van­taged chil­dren (and whose ros­ter of of­fi­cial part­ners in­clude Richard Mille). If you don’t al­ready know, you might by now be won­der­ing what makes Richard Mille and Rafael Nadal a good match. The con­cise an­swer is: the op­por­tu­nity to push the bound­aries of what’s pos­si­ble. Or at least, that’s the for­mula the Swiss lux­ury watch­maker has been putting to the test on Nadal and other ath­letes, like golfer Bubba Wat­son and For­mula One driver Felipe Massa. “The re­quire­ments for each of our am­bas­sadors’ watches are never the same,” ex­plains Richard Mille when asked about the watches his com­pany pro­duces for these sports­men. “Rafa’s re­quire­ments are very dif­fer­ent from those that golfer Bubba Wat­son might need, whose watch ex­pe­ri­ences shock ev­ery 10 or 20 min­utes. Or polo player Pablo Mac­donough, who might re­ceive a mal­let to the watch. Or Felipe Massa, whose watch suf­fers mas­sive vi­bra­tions and G-forces in the cock­pit of his

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