Richard Mille Unveils 4th Edition of Ultra-Light “Rafael Nadal” Tourbillon

The RM 27-03 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal is yellow, red, and shock-resistant.

Without fail Rafael Nadal will have on his right wrist a Richard Mille wristwatch – the Spaniard plays left-handed – while he is on court, even during major tournaments. Richard Mille has just unveiled the latest timepiece created for the tennis champ, the RM 27-03 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal.

Like last year’s time-only RM 35-02 Nadal, the new tourbillon has a red and yellow colour palette, a nod to Nadal’s home country, while the spherical yellow crown is modelled on a tennis ball.

Richard Mille RM 27-03 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal 2

Richard Mille RM 27-03 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal 3

Made of Quartz TPT, a carbon composite, the case gets its colour from the resins used to bind the carbon fibres inside the material. The case measures 40.3mm wide and 47.77mm long, while standing 12.75mm high, making it slightly wider than the preceding RM 27-02 Nadal tourbillon.

The movement base plate is made from a similar composite material, being an novel “unibody” structure where the base plate and case band are one piece, a construction first used in the RM 27-02. The angular titanium bridge on the front is a stylised bull’s head, Nadal’s personal emblem and also an animal symbolic of Spain.

Richard Mille RM 27-03 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal 4

Like all of Richard Mille’s tourbillon calibres, the movement is produced by Renaud & Papi, the movement specialist owned by Audemars Piguet. It is hand-wound with a 70-hour power reserve.

Richard Mille RM 27-03 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal 5

Price and availability 

Limited to 50 pieces, the RM 27-03 is priced at SFr710,000 before taxes, equivalent to US$731,000.


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Panerai Introduces the Mare Nostrum Chronograph PAM 716, Now 42mm Once Again

A limited edition chronograph that's a remake of a limited edition chronograph.

Not officially launched at SIHH 2017 but widely rumoured to be imminent, the Panerai Mare Nostrum Acciaio PAM00716 revisits a 1990s classic, a reissue thrice removed from the original.

Its origins lie with a prototype (or perhaps several) of an oversized, 52mm wristwatch chronograph produced in 1943, which was intended for officers of the Italian navy. The watch never made it to production, though one example surfaced at Christie’s in 2005 and Panerai introduced two pricey, Minerva-powered remakes in recent years.

Then in 1997, before Swiss luxury conglomerate Richemont acquired Panerai, the watchmaker introduced the modern day Mare Nostrum chronograph, inspired by the giant original but more practical at 42mm. These pre-Vendôme watches – Richemont used to be known as the Vendôme Luxury Group – were the ref. 5218-301/A, and included a batch of “Slytech” special editions made for American actor Sylvester Stallone.

The latest Panerai Mare Nostrum chronograph PAM 716 takes after the ref. 5218-301/A, with the same dial and 42mm steel case. Most of the watch remains identical to the 1993 model, with minor exceptions like additional lettering on the back and crown.

Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM716

While the dial is the same blue as before, the Super-Luminova on the hands and hour markers is a shade of tan that mimics the aged original. On the 1993 watches the luminous paint was tritium, which was white when new but over time has darkened into the tan that’s found on the new PAM 718.

The movement also remains the same, being the hand-wound OP XXXIII, which is actually an ETA 2801 topped by a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module. It has a 42-hour power reserve.

Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM 716 4

Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM 716 3

And just as with the 1993 original, the Mare Nostrum PAM 716 is packaged in a box that includes a scale model of the Luigi Durand De La Penne, an Italian navy destroyer launched in 1993. The reason being the ref. 5218-301/A made its debut in September 1993 on the newly commissioned vessel.

Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM00716

Price and availability

The Mare Nostrum PAM 716 is a limited edition of 1000 watches that will be available at retailers and boutiques in September or October 2017. It is priced at €9900 or S$14,600.


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Five Picks from the Rolex Selection at Christie’s Hong Kong Auction

From the rare and desirable to the unusual and affordable.

Rolex typically accounts for the biggest proportion of turnover at any watch auction – a Rolex wristwatch just sold for over US$5m last week – with the star performers being late 20th century sports models, the very same watches that form the core of contemporary Rolex collecting. But there is more to Rolex than the “Paul Newman” Daytona and “gilt” Submariner.

Here are five Rolex highlights from Christie’s upcoming Hong Kong watch auction that range from valuable watches that are in vogue, to the intriguing and affordable.

And also remember to check out the top picks from Patek Philippe, as well as modern complications and independent makers, in the same auction.

[The full catalogue is available here.]

Lot 2420 – Rolex Oyster Imperial ref. 2081

This 1930 Oyster Imperial is an early waterproof Rolex wristwatch that has a cushion-shaped steel case equipped with all the signature Oyster case features – a screw-down crown, fluted case back and screw-in bezel. And it is fitted with an attractive black lacquer dial, albeit one with cracks on its surface.

Rolex Oyster Imperial 8

Rolex Oyster Imperial 1

Rolex Oyster Imperial 3

Rolex Oyster Imperial 4

But more intriguingly it strongly resembles early Panerai watches, which were of course manufactured by Rolex since Panerai was founded as an instrument manufacturer rather than watchmaker.

Rolex Oyster Imperial 2

Rolex Oyster Imperial 6

Rolex Oyster Imperial 5

In fact, this Oyster Imperial (along with many other Rolex watches of the period), heavily resembles what Panerai now labels the Radiomir 1940, which was historically the ref. 3646, a transitional model between the earlier Radiomir watches and later Luminor models.

Rolex Oyster Imperial 7

That being said, the Oyster Imperial is a dinky little watch, with a case that’s just 32mm in diameter. Consequently it is estimated at a modest HK$25,000 to HK$40,000, or US$3300 to US$5200, an eminently reasonable sum for a historically interesting wristwatch.

Lot 2424 – Rolex Oyster chronograph ref. 3481 “Anti-Magnetic”

Yet another early and under appreciated, albeit undersized, wristwatch by Rolex – the Oyster chronograph ref. 3481. Produced in the late 1930s, the ref. 3481 was one of the earliest Rolex chronographs (almost contemporaneous with the more exotic Zerographe), the predecessor of better known watches like the Cosmograph Daytona.

Rolex 3481 chronograph anti-magnetic 1

This example dates to 1939 and is marked “Anti-Magnetic” on the dial.

Rolex 3481 chronograph anti-magnetic 7

Rolex 3481 chronograph anti-magnetic 3

Rolex 3481 chronograph anti-magnetic 4

It’s in handsome condition, with a well maintained case and appealing dial. Despite showing visible age, the dial remains appealing as the discolouration is mostly even.

Rolex 3481 chronograph anti-magnetic 2

Rolex 3481 chronograph anti-magnetic 5

Like many other watches of the period the case is small, just 29mm wide.

Rolex 3481 chronograph anti-magnetic 6

Notably, it is accompanied by a period Rolex box marked “Philippe Beguin”, a now defunct store in Geneva that was once a prominent Rolex retailer, the very same shop, in fact, that sold the Last Emperor of Vietnam the diamond-dial ref. 6062 “Bao Dai”  that recently became the most expensive Rolex ever sold.

This is estimated at HK$80,000 to HK$120,000, or US$11,000 to US$16,000.

Lot 2427 – Rolex GMT-Master ref. 1675 in 18k yellow gold

Unlike the preceding lots this GMT-Master is more in keeping with current tastes in vintage Rolex collecting. Dating from 1971, it’s a typical yellow gold GMT-Master of the period, featuring a matte brown dial and matching bezel. While not an exceedingly rare watch in itself, what sets this apart is its remarkable condition.

Rolex GMT-Master 1675 18k 2

Rolex GMT-Master 1675 18k 5

Having been worn little over the 45 years since it left the factory, the watch is in remarkably crisp and original condition. The case retains its signature bevels lengthwise along the lugs, as well as fresh hallmarks.

Rolex GMT-Master 1675 18k 3

Rolex GMT-Master 1675 18k 4

Rolex GMT-Master 1675 18k 1

More significantly, the back of the lugs are practically unmarked, meaning a bracelet was never fitted to the watch.

Rolex GMT-Master 1675 18k 6

Rolex GMT-Master 1675 18k 7

This example boasts an attractive combination of qualities: being new enough to hardly look like a vintage watch, yet with barely enough wear to make it easy to wear, unlike an actual, unused “new old stock” wristwatch.

Rolex GMT-Master 1675 18k 8

Rolex GMT-Master 1675 18k 9

This is estimated at HK$100,000 to HK$200,000, or US$13,000 to US$26,000.

Lot 2446 – Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 6265 in yellow gold

Even more in tune with today’s tastes than the GMT-Master is this Daytona ref. 6265 in yellow gold. This 1979 example is in top condition, with a well preserved case that maintains its proper, original appearance along with all the gold hallmarks still visible.

Rolex Daytona 6265 yellow gold 1

Rolex Daytona 6265 yellow gold 3

Rolex Daytona 6265 yellow gold 5

A top of the line chronograph in its day, the ref. 6265 was only chronometer certified in its precious metal guises, either 14k or 18k gold.

Rolex Daytona 6265 yellow gold 6

Rolex Daytona 6265 yellow gold 4

Rolex Daytona 6265 yellow gold 8

While it’s fitted to a black bezel that’s originally meant for the ref. 6263, the watch is accompanied by the 18k yellow gold bezel that’s correct for the ref. 6265.

Rolex Daytona 6265 yellow gold 2

Rolex Daytona 6265 yellow gold 10

Rolex Daytona 6265 yellow gold 9

Rolex Daytona 6265 yellow gold 7

The watch is also fitted to a correct Rolex Oyster rivet bracelet that is in similarly excellent condition. This carries an estimate of HK$550,000 to HK$850,000, or US$72,000 to US$110,000.

Lot 2447 – Rolex Daytona ref. 6263 “Paul Newman Panda”

The double-barrelled nickname means this Daytona ref. 6263 is a notably pricey example. It combines several particularly desirable features: a “Paul Newman” type dial, the “Panda” colour scheme with black registers on a white dial, as well as the screw-down pushers typical of the ref. 6263.

Rolex Daytona 6263 Paul Newman Panda 1

Rolex Daytona 6263 Paul Newman Panda 6

More importantly, this example is in sterling condition, having come from a Japanese collector who acquired it 25 years ago. The case is crisp and well preserved, as is the dial. There is slight discolouration to the centre of the 30-minute sub-dial, which is not particularly appealing visually but perhaps of interest to diehard Rolex collectors since it indicates the sub-dial might be turning “tropical”.

Rolex Daytona 6263 Paul Newman Panda 7

Rolex Daytona 6263 Paul Newman Panda 4

Additionally, this “Panda” is reassuringly correct, having “Mark 1” pushers, a “Mark 1” bezel as well as a crown that lacks the three spheres of the Triplock logo – typically parts that have long been replaced with newer components on such watches. And the bracelet is period correct, as is the case back that is stamped “6239” inside.

Rolex Daytona 6263 Paul Newman Panda 2

Rolex Daytona 6263 Paul Newman Panda 5

Rolex Daytona 6263 Paul Newman Panda 3

This is estimated at HK$1.5m to HK$3.0m, or US$200,000 to US$300,000.

Preview and sale information

The preview exhibition for Christie’s Important Watches takes place daily from May 26 to 28, 10:30am to 6:30pm at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The auction takes place on May 29, starting at 2:00pm, at the same venue.

And the full catalogue as well as online bidding is available right here.

This was brought to you by Christie’s.

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