Hands-on: Richard Mille RM 35-03 Rafael Nadal Watch with New Self-Winding System

Richard Mille’s latest collection of luxury sports watches in honor of brand ambassador Rafael Nadal is the beautiful new Richard Mille RM 35-03 Rafael Nadal Automatic, which is available in two colours. Today I got my hands on it with an interesting pale blue White case version with colored rubber strap. These watches are not limited editions, but like all Richard Mille watches, they were produced in limited quantities and are hard to come by these days due to popular demand (for events at these ultra-luxury prices). As well as featuring some interesting new dial design elements, the RM 35-03 is the first Richard Mille watch to include the new RMAL2 automatic movement, which boasts a system for adjusting the geometry at the push of a button. That is how the matter?

Adjustable rotor geometry is nothing new at Richard Mille, but it is a more advanced form. For a while, many of Richard Mille’s automatic watches had an automatic rotor with adjustable “blades” that affected the rotor’s center of gravity. The idea is that in order to prevent too much stress on exercise, people with inactive lifestyles will make the self-winding system more efficient (and therefore require less effort to wind) and people with more active lifestyles will swing Their wrists going around a lot would benefit more from a less efficient winding system that absorbs more torque from gravity.

All of this can be done by adjusting the weight distribution of the automatic rotor itself. In previous replica Richard Mille automatic watches, this feature required watchmaker supervision. The watch needs to be opened and the automatic rotor adjusted manually. no longer. Richard Mille’s RMAL2 movement features a “sport mode” pusher that adjusts the shape of the two-position automatic rotor (Richard Mille calls it a butterfly rotor system). One position is a more normal half-disk shape that provides the highest winding efficiency and is therefore ideal for most wearing situations. The “Sport Mode” position separates the rotors and creates a butterfly shape that distributes weight more evenly. This puts the rotor into a state where it’s less likely to spin and, therefore, put pressure on the movement…if the wearer’s wrist does something like swing a golf club. The butterfly rotor system works elegantly as promised, and it’s a lot of fun to play with.

The Richard Mille RMAL2 automatic movement operates at 4Hz and has a power reserve of approximately 55 hours. It only offers the time with a central seconds hand and has an extra pusher as a function selector. Pressing it cycles the crown between adjusting time, intermediate position and winding barrel. The movement also features a sports mode position indicator above the 6 o’clock position on the skeleton dial. It’s not my favorite Richard Mille dial, but the RM 35-03 does have a new look and maintains good legibility. Each of the two RM 35-03 case colors has slightly different dial color elements.

These cases are made from various combinations of quartz TPT or carbon TPT materials that have been layered and then carefully ground. An RM 35-03 has a white and black case that I wear in this article. It also has a predominantly blue case version, which you can check out in our press article on the replica Richard Mille RM 35-03 Automatic Rafael Nadal linked above. The tonneau case is comfortable to wear and also uses titanium parts such as screws, buttons and parts of the case back. The case is 43.15mm wide at its widest point, and while it’s not a small watch, it’s certainly very comfortable to wear (like most Richard Mille timepieces) – though, being a sports watch, its 50-meter water resistance means that With the RM 35-03 not ready for too many wet races.

This special white crust with black accents, and a layer of carbon and minerals, looks especially cool in my opinion. It reminds me of the Japanese Gundam toy models I made when I was a kid. When properly painted, the body armor of the robot suit has black grooves that contrast with the other white surfaces. As far as I know, only a lot of this effect has been captured in this unique case material provided by Richard Mille.

I really admire the color management and choice that Richard Mille has chosen for its many watches, these days. In the past, I felt that the use of color could be a bit arbitrary. Recently, Richard Mille has done a great job of making its most daring color watches harmonious (or at least interesting) from a color combination perspective. In this watch we have a black and white case and dial with a mix of red and yellow. The light blue strap complements the color of the rubber ring around the crown and the gasket where the sapphire crystal sits.

Speaking of straps, I found this high-quality rubber strap to be very neat, with “racing vents” and a nice design. The strap integrates nicely into the design of the case and incorporates a spring-loaded butterfly deployant clasp. Overall, the RM 35-03 will be yet another commercial success for Richard Mille, which is also hard to find in the market. The RMAL2 automatic movement does do something new, at least in some cases it has arguable utility. Where practicality is lacking, it provides fun, as this timepiece is another very luxurious fidget instrument.