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Like most tennis greats, Rafael Nadal's name and likeness help sell everything from T-shirts to sneakers and cars to underwear. But only Nadal has shown a talent for selling out watches that cost a half-million dollars or more.
Through his sponsorship deal with Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille, Nadal has already sold out two production runs of watches made in his honor. The first, the RM 027, retailed for $500,000 and quickly sold out.
The second, the RM 27-01, was priced at $690,000 and also sold out. Only 50 of each watch were made.
Now, Richard Mille has come out with Rafa watch No. 3, officially named the RM 27-02. Like its predecessors, the new watch is a mechanical tourbillon that, because of its advanced composite materials, weighs next to nothing. It's specifically adapted for Nadal's game, and able to withstand a G-force of 5,000.
But the new timepiece, along with some improvements inspired by Formula One cars, also has a new price: A whopping $775,000.
When asked by CNBC if the price was a little crazy, Nadal responded, "Well, from my point of view, yes."
"But the real thing is, it's an investment at the same time. All of these watches are limited editions and Richard Mille is a selective brand. In a couple of years the prices is going to be higher," he said.
Despite the cost, Nadal said he has "no doubt" the watch—which hits stores later this month—will also sell out quickly. Once again, only 50 models will be produced.
"It's because of the brand," Nadal said. "Richard Mille is doing amazing work. It's great to promote this beautiful watch."
Nadal, of course, wears the watch both on and off the court, and said he frequently speaks with Mille about possible improvements.
After he noticed that sweat was making its way into the first watch, Mille added a special, water-resistant sapphire crystal on the front. And Nadal's love of bright colors and casual design is clear in the latest watch, with an orange wristband and white and gray face Nadal says makes it "more sexy" than the previous two models.
"It's not just a sporting relationship with Richard, it's a personal relationship," he said. "I feel fortunate to be that close to him and in designing the watch. We work together."
Nadal's own RM 27-02 has one feature that buyers may want to upgrade: a Velcro strap.