Winning Nadal over to the idea of wearing a watch during competition, says Mille, was no easy task. “I knew he would be really hard to convince. He is a total maniac when it comes to preparation and details. When he comes onto court, he has to arrange his drinks in a certain way; he has a certain routine and he cannot deviate from this in any way.” When he first broached the subject with Nadal, Mille recalls, “He immediately said, ‘No way. It is impossible. I cannot wear a watch when I play. It would destroy my balance; it would make me lose focus. It would be a disaster.’” Not one to shrink from a challenge, however, Mille says, “It became something of a mission for me to convince him to wear the watch when he was playing. This dictated four objectives for the watch I would create. The first was lightness, the second was shock resistance, the third was comfort, and the fourth was no compromise mechanically, which meant, for me, to create a tourbillon for this watch.” An encounter between Nadal and the King of Spain, who rhapsodized over the comfort and lightness of his RM 009 tourbillon, prompted the tennis champion to reconsider the idea — at least, in principle. “Finally,” says Mille, “he agreed to try it out, with no promises that he would wear it during competition.” Thus began development of the RM 027.
To isolate the tourbillon device from shocks — in particular those during Nadal’s ferocious backhand — the movement rides on shock absorbers, or silentblocs (rubber elastomers). Says Mille, “I wanted a case where the maximum of things were integrated so that fewer things could flex.”