Rafael Nadal is the first player to wear a watch in a Grand Slam but not many people realise how legendary that achievement is.
Tennis players have been ambassadors for watch brands for as long as the sport has been popular, but there aren’t many athletes who actually wear a watch during their matches.
You can imagine that a watch would have to absorb some heavy impacts during a game. For example, Nadal’s signature left-handed “whip” forehand has been clocked at over 4000 revolutions per minute. As a consequence of this kind of force, Richard Mille didn’t just put one of his standard watches on Nadal’s wrist, he spent months working with the star to understand the elements that the watch would be exposed to, and engineered a super-light tourbillon capable of withstanding up to 5000 Gs of acceleration.
Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean are other sportsmen Mille has engineered timepieces for, watches capable of handle the unusual pressures of their workday environment.