Rafael Nadal Wore His Brand New Million-Dollar Watch to the French Open

Pop Culture

A summer absent of all our regular warm-weather activities has given way to a post-Labor Day calendar of nonstop sports events—and, of course, releases from our favorite brands and watchmakers. This week, the two combined as Rafael Nadal took to the court at Roland Garros for the French Open in a brand spanking new Richard Mille piece. The watch commemorates the duo’s 10-year partnership, and is the fifth between them. Subtlety has never been within Richard Mille’s wheelhouse; accordingly, many of the Nadal watches play into the brand’s bold and expressive philosophy. Before the new RM 27-04, the RM 27-03 was tiger striped with the red and yellow of the Spanish flag as an homage to Nadal’s home country. This new watch uses a steel wire that criss-crosses across the face of the piece 38 times to create a tennis racquet effect because… Rafa is a tennis player. Richard Mille is proof that sometimes the most obvious choices are the best ones. It’s only obvious watches on this edition of Watches of the Week and all your best buds are back: in addition to Nadal, Virgil Abloh, and Schitt’s Creek’s Dan Levy strapped some reliably great standbys to their wrists.

Tim Clayton – Corbis
Courtesy of Richard Mille

Rafael Nadal’s Richard Mille RM 27-04

Critical to Nadal’s partnership with Richard Mille is the brand’s ability to create “watches that are amazingly resistant, because tennis can involve very violent arm and wrist movements,” Nadal said via a press release. When it comes to Richard Mille watches, the zany designs can often steal the show, but it’s the cutting-edge machinery inside that keeps collectors and athletes like Nadal coming back. The RM 27-04 features a movement that can withstand a gravitational force of 12,000 Gs. To put that into context, the scariest ride at your local amusement park can put 6 Gs on you, while fighter pilots may endure up to 8 or 9. So just imagine a force 1,333 times more powerful than a fighter jet going full speed and there you have it. But mind-melting technology doesn’t mean Richard Mille’s phoned in the design, either: that pool-blue strap is sure to stand out on the tennis court.

Courtesy of Omega

Dan Levy’s Omega De Ville

In addition to a boatload of Emmys, Levy’s awards-night hardware also included this neat Omega De Ville. Omega knows how to make a watch comfortable in its environment, whether that’s a Speedmaster on the moon or a De Ville taking a stroll along a makeshift red carpet. With this delicate watch, a Thom Browne skirt-suit, and all those Emmys, it really was a perfect night for Levy.

Virgil Abloh’s custom Patek Philippe Nautilus

Abloh is at it again. At this point, customized Patek Philippe Nautilus watches are as reliable a calling card for the Louis Vuitton men’s and Off-White designer as his signature quotation marks and diagonal stripes. He’s popped emeralds onto a Nautilus for Drake, and customized a version for himself that’s completely blacked out. This time, Abloh wiped the slate clean with this sparse, brushed-steel version of the Nautilus. Naturally, the Patek logo is surrounded by those quotation marks. He again turned to MAD Paris for the customization.

Image Group LA

Sterling K. Brown’s Bvlgari Aluminum

Brown’s Emmys Bvlgari is hot, hot, hot from the factory: the new version of the Aluminum model debuted less than a month ago. Bvlgari has built its reputation as one of the most adventurous watchmakers in the game—it’s been locked in a battle over who could make the thinnest watch with Piaget for the better part of the decade. (Piaget holds the record, at least for now.) But Bvlgari experiments for the good of watch collectors with tighter budgets, too. When this piece was introduced in 1998, its use of aluminum and rubber was new to luxury watch circles. It helped keep the price down, and this new version of the watch clocks in at just below $3,000. No small pittance to be sure, but a steal when talking about upper-echelon timepieces.

ABC

Jason Bateman’s Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

Somehow every Rolex Daytona in existence seems to have a great story to tell. Remember that it was the story that made Paul Newman’s very own “Newman” Daytona a record-breaker at auction. Bateman’s is also stuffed like a turducken with provenance. “This is a 1979 Daytona,” he told British GQ in 2011. “It’s not a Newman. I need to dance a little bit faster to afford one of those! I traded a Rolex Sea Dweller, a Franck Muller and I wrote a check [to get it].” At the time, Bateman said he only had the one watch. “I wish I had a collection of vintage Rolexes. Orlando Bloom and John Mayer both have incredible collections, but they’re very wealthy,” he said. (In 2011, who could challenge the wealth of Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Carribean’s Orlando Bloom?!) This single watch has served Batemen well, though. He wore it in 2007’s Juno and is still bringing it out for award shows, like Sunday’s socially distanced Emmys.

Jamie Squire

Bryson Dechambeau’s Rolex Sky-Dweller

U.S. Open winner Bryson DeChambeau is known for his analytical approach to the game, so much so that he’s earned the nickname the Scientist. And the watch of choice for the Scientist? A Rolex Sky-Dweller with similarly high standards. The Sky-Dweller is also the watch of choice for other supreme athletes like Mets slugger Pete Alonso and Brooks Koepka.

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