Manufacturer Richard Mille recently expanded its “Baby Nadal” watch collection with the RM 35-03. The new tool features an improved butterfly rotor. Frank sans C tells everything you need to know in a short amount of time.

Eventual champion Rafael Nadal with RM 35-03 on his wrist.

Let’s go back in time, before Rafael Nadal won his 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open last January and became the all-time record champion. In December 2021, old friend Richard Mille debuted the RM 35-03 Rafael Nadal. This is the 4th model in the “baby Nadal” collection. Why this name? Because these watches take their performance and technology from the RM 027 Tourbillon watch that the Spaniard wears on the tennis court.

“In our respective fields, we both aspire to achieve excellence. We speak the same language, Richard and I. We are both passionate about our work. For me, maintaining the fire of passion for what we do every day is essential. Although I did not wear the RM 035 model when competing, it was heartwarming to feel the confidence he and the teams showed in allowing me to participate in this strange adventure,” Rafa Nadal shared.

Butterfly rotor, an amazing innovation for Rafael Nadal’s new automatic RM 35-03

The Richard Mille watch displays its inner workings on both sides.

Be careful, there is no tourbillon on this one. Instead, it is a remarkable innovation that has excellent technical and practical properties. The new Rafael Nadal automatic RM 35-03 integrates an exclusive winding mechanism. Indeed, the wearer has direct control over it.

Richard Mille’s butterfly rotor with two moving “wings”.

The Swiss Manufacture’s watchmaking engineers needed three years to develop this special rotor, which they named “butterfly”. And for good reason! This oscillating weight is made up of two identical parts that can open to a 90° angle to face each other.

Owner’s control over the winding movement: a mechanical revolution by Richard Mille
This capability is reminiscent of Richard Mille’s famous “variable geometry rotor.” This allows the wearer to adjust the sensitivity of the winding mechanism according to his or her activity. Except this is revolutionary: no need to go to a watchmaker to change the oscillating weight.

A watchmaker verifies that the butterfly rotor is working perfectly.

Indeed, the RM 35-03 displays a push button at the 7 o’clock position that allows for tactful operation of the system and setting the two arms to move the way you want. You can tape them together, like an oscillating weight for winding a machine. Or face to face, to bring the rotor to balance, stop the winding mechanism. That is the posture you must choose when practicing a sport with this watch. As it allows to avoid any excessive winding of the caliber that could damage it.

RM 35-03 Rafael Nadal seen from behind with the butterfly rotor in both positions: sport mode on top and normal mode on the bottom.

A masterpiece of watchmaking, this watch also features an “ON/OFF” indicator light. The small button is useful because it allows the wearer to see the status of the rotor, if it is activated or not. It is located at the 6 o’clock position among the inner workings of Caliber RMAL2. This attractive movement in black PVD-treated grade 5 titanium displays a very vivid skeleton that also features beetle wings.

A panoramic view of the heart of the Richard Mille movement.


We will not explain the haptic feedback of the butterfly system in detail. Frank sans C did it. But we must mention the presence of the flange and the inwardly inclined numerals to create a depth effect and draw the eye inside the movement.

Another push button for another indicator
The instrument also has a second push button. The small indicator hand is located at the 2 o’clock position on the tonneau-shaped case. It controls the function selector (red hand at 2 o’clock) of the crown. It allows the wearer to select winding (W), neutral (N) and hand (H) settings. The gearbox of a car for the caliber (watch engine) serves as a testament to the automotive industry that the Maison loves so much.

The watch has two push buttons: one to select the functions on the crown, the other to activate or deactivate the sport mode of the rotor.

RM 35-03 Rafael Nadal automatic, not one but two versions with high-tech materials
Richard Mille is releasing new products in two different versions. Both reflect the Manufacturer’s expertise in implementing groundbreaking materials.

RM 35-03 Rafael Nadal has two versions with high-tech materials.

Both have the same price (around €225,000), so you can take your pick. One is blue Quartz TPT® with white Quartz TPT® case. The other is in white quartz TPT® and Carbon TPT® with a Carbon TPT® case. Each has a rubber strap, white or blue depending on the model.​

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