What type of watch should I wear in order to appear confident and successful?

Well, my friend, you have put your finger squarely in the wound (and it hurts).

This is the typical “me” vs. “society” question.

When you wear a watch – any watch – you transmit a message out. People look at you and compare you against others.

Human mind works best into categorizing things and people. It is a safety measure: if you can put something in a box, it is safe. If you cannot, then there is a problem. If you do not fit in a box, you are potentially a problem, because you cannot be categorized. A problem requires attention, and attention is precious. This is why eccentrics are noticed by society at large.

Anyways, you are assumed by society to fit into a box. So, if you are successful, you fit into the “successful” box. Now, we look into the box and note down the characteristics that people in this box have.

When you open that box, you see a lot of other smaller boxes into it.

There is one filled with people in general business, like “white-collar workers”. Because there is another similar box where the people inside are not white-collars. Well, when you look inside, and see other smaller boxes. One has the label of “working in sales”, you see that the majority of people in sales proudly display a Rolex. Why? That’s a fact. There is also an old adage in horology about this:

“You wear a Rolex to impress your car salesman,
but you wear an IWC to impress your watchmaker”.

People who are in that box are mostly wearing Rolex. It is a sort of peer pressure – if you do not, people like you assume that you do not really fit in that box.

So, to come back to your question, you should decide by yourself in which box you want to fit – or if you’d better stay out of the box and be noted for your non-conformist attitude.

I can tell you that the more you have a strong character and are really successful in life, the less you will care about fitting in one of these boxes.

There are people like Mark Zuckerberg who do not wear watches.Everyone knows that he does not like ornaments of any kind.

Others like Bill Gates wear a very basic watch – in this case, a Casio Duro – a lovely quartz diver watch which is worth a couple hundred USD.

There are others like Jeff Bezos who wears a Ulysse Nardin Dual Time – which is expensive but not THAT expensive.

And others like the extremely modest Warren Buffett whose only boastful extravagance is his watch, a gold Rolex President worth 32,000 USD.

As you can see, each case is different, and the kind of watch these celebrities wear has little relation to their personal fortunes. Actually, it represents a laughable part of their fortunes.

So, what do you have to do?

In order to “appear successful”, as you say, you should buy a watch that you truly appreciate. And to appreciate a watch, if you care, you should understand watches a little bit, and there is an etiquette of wearing watches.

In few words, to be an educated watch wearer, and to have watches work for you, you should buy wisely, without really falling into the trap of what everyone else is doing.

There are basically three watches that you should consider at first: your daily beater, your business watch, and your formal watch.

A daily beater is a watch that you can afford to scratch or break without much fuss. It is the kind of watch that accompanies you through the daily grind and leisure activities.

The business watch is the watch you weare every day at work. It should be a combination of practical and formal, enough to withstand a social encounter without you looking underwatched.

The formal watch should be reserved for more formal occasions and business encounters. It is normally a dress watch in a gold case and white dial, worn on a crocodile strap, without many bells and whistles – simple, elegant, focused.

The basic collection of a watch wearer should start from this basic set.

Of course, they could have very different expenditures, in line with your budget – but the functions of these watches stay the same: as your dress watch you can own a vintage gold-plated Sandoz which costs USD 80, a new Mido Baroncelli which costs USD 800 or a Vacheron Constantin Patrimony which costs USD 18,000, but all of them are worn for the same social function and during the same kind of occasions.

You can find much more about horology and its fascinating history in The Watch Manual, a thorough e-book that explains all the basics about watchmaking and its protagonists.

To download a FREE 8-chapter extract from The Watch Manual

A match of two giants

Because Nadal is Nadal and Richard Mille is Richard Mille. But, let’s start from the beginning. Richard Mille watches are similar to F1 cars. They are “watches”, of course, as they can measure time reliably. But they are designed to serve a specific purpose. In Nadal’s case, to survive the stress brought by a professional tennis match, where balls travel at 100 miles per hour, and bodies receive an incredible amount of shocks when the racquets hit that ball.

In the specific case of Nadal’s watch, the movement has been anchored to a mesh of wires, made similarly to what you see in a tennis racquet. The shocks brought to the watch by the hits sustained are absorbed by this innovative shock-absorbing device, much better than in traditional systems.

The RM 27-04 by Richard Mille.

Rafael Nadal’s watch price

Wow” you say (I can hear you). “But does this gizmo have to cost 800,000 bucks?

This is not the cost of the gizmo in itself. All the engineering behind that, the research on materials, on how to create this mesh and to anchor precisely the elements of the watch has a cost. A big one. And somebody is going to pay for all of this development.

The RM 27-04 by Richard Mille. Photo from Richard Mille website

The final customers of this jewel of innovation, of course

Where’s the beef in all this? Progress is the beef, of course. The research Richard Mille puts in microengineering this particular watch, will be useful for the watchmaking industry at large. And not only. Advanced micromechanic research is fundamental to create smaller and better systems for applications such as medicine, prosthetics, aviation and astronautics. Maybe not this one, but another one will. Because technology is not made in boxes: everything is fluid, and everything could be applied to other fields.

So, let’s have a look at the Richard Mille RM 27-04, the watch made especially for Rafa Nadal.

The RM 27-04 by Richard Mille. Photo from Richard Mille website

To celebrate ten years of partnership with Rafael Nadal, Richard Mille has specially created the 27-04 watch. The RM 27-04 combines incredible lightness – 30 grams, including the strap – with formidable strength. Its tourbillon movement, suspended inside the case, can withstand accelerations of over 12,000 g, a record for the Richard Mille. The movement is entirely supported by a surface area of only 855 square millimeters, consisting of a single 0.27 mm-section micro-blasted steel braided cable, bound by two 5N red gold tensioners with PVD surface treatment.

The RM 27-04 by Richard Mille. Photo from Richard Mille website

Richard Mille and Rafa Nadal watch

This construction scheme is unprecedented in watchmaking and is inspired by the stringing of tennis rackets. The watchmaker begins by fixing the cable to the tensioner at 5 o’clock. He then proceeds to weave the weft of the net by holding all the parallel passages in tension before beginning the cross passages that will pass alternately above and below the first weft.
The cable passes 38 times through the holes in the outer flange in grade 5 titanium before finishing on the tensioner at 10 o’clock. The movement is then fixed diagonally on the mesh through five hooks in polished titanium with 5N red gold Pvd surface treatment, placed on the plate’s back.

The RM 27-04 by Richard Mille. Photo from Richard Mille website

What also makes this model unique is the material chosen for the 38.4×11.4 mm case with the tennis player’s name “Rafa” engraved on the side: the TitaCarb, an exclusive alloy with a tensile strength of 370 MPa (3,700 kg/cm2).

The RM 27-04 by Richard Mille. Photo from Richard Mille website

You can find much more about horology and its fascinating history in The Watch Manual, a thorough e-book that explains all the basics about watchmaking and its protagonists.

To download a FREE 8-chapter extract from The Watch Manual