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Nadal has experienced a wide range of triumphs and tribulations in 2013. After being forced to withdraw from the year's first grand slam - the Australian Open due to a stomach virus, he came back with a vengeance in May to win his eighth French Open title. Then in June, he along with many other top players, suffered a stunning loss in the initial round at Wimbledon, only to bounce back strong in the last major tournament of the year, the US Open
On September 9th, the world's second-highest ranked player battled it out with the top-seeded Novak Djokovic for over three hours, to win his second US Open and 13th grand slam title. The victory was especially sweet given that just last year, riddled by knee injuries, the player had been watching the match from the sidelines!
So what is Rafa's 'secret sauce'? Hard work and determination for sure, but could it also be the watch he is seen sporting at all his matches? The one that he has helped design? Yes you read that right! Just like the tennis player himself, the Tourbillon RM 27-01 is not just any ordinary accessory, but one that has been carefully crafted using Nadal's input and costs an astounding $690,000 USD!
If you calculated how much the watch cost per grams of weight, you would get a gargantuan number! That's because the RM 27-01 and accompanying Velcro strap weigh just 19 grams! Made in conjunction with Swiss luxury watch designer Richard Mille, it utilizes some of the best technology available in the sports watch industry. The RM 27-01 owes its lightness and sleek look to the carbon nanotubes, aluminum lithium, and titanium that it is made from. The scratch and shock-resistant watch can withstand accelerations of up to 5,000G (a unit of acceleration equal to the acceleration of gravity at the earth's surface) without shattering or malfunctioning. To put it in perspective, humans can only tolerate up to 10G before suffering serious bodily harm.
When the luxury Swiss watch manufacture first approached Nadal, the tennis player was not very receptive – He is after all, a creature of habit with a well planned out routine that involves placing his bag on a towel next to his chair (it cannot be on the chair) and toweling down between every point whether he is drenched in sweat or not. Even that, is done extremely systematically – he starts with his nose than goes to his left ear, comes back to his nose before ending it all on the right side.
He was therefore afraid that wearing a watch would interfere with the rituals he already set forth for himself. However Mille persisted and Nadal agreed on one condition – he would be intimately involved in designing the watch that would look good and be strong enough for both strenuous workouts and competitive matches. It took about 15 months but the masterpiece that they called Tourbillon RM 27 worked so well that Nadal became a believer. At a cost of $525,000 USD it was not cheap, but there seemed to be ample demand for limited pieces that were produced – Of course the fact that Nadal forgot one in the locker room and had one stolen from his room, may have helped sales a tad bit.
The perfectionist that he is, Nadal decided that the watch great as it was, could do with a few more adjustments giving birth to the even more expensive Tourbillon RM 27-1. With only 50 pieces made, this one too is expected to sell out in no time at all.
As for routine-oriented tennis player? While there is no denying that his stellar performance is largely thanks to his hard work and tenacity, his custom-made watch may be helping too. It has become such an integral part of Nadal's tennis that he now cannot imagine playing without it. This has been amply evidenced by the fact that it could be seen prominently on his hand in every match this year, from the victorious French Open final to the Wimbledon disappointment and finally to the moment he won the US Open. Who would have guessed that the tennis player’s other talent would be watch designing!
Resources: today.com/money, luxuo.com,the australian.com.au,thejewelleryeditor.com