By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
June 22, 2012
Does Rafa Nadal have trouble keeping time?
For the second time since he signed an endorsement deal with luxury watchmaker Richard Mille in 2010, Nadal and his timepiece have parted company. In the most recent episode, the estimated $375,000 wrist watch that the Spaniard wore throughout his seventh French Open championship campaign was stolen from his Paris hotel room some time thereafter. Just days later, the pricey watch and the alleged thief, a hotel barman, were in the custody of the Parisian police, but questions lingered about Nadal’s ability to keep track of his possessions.
Nadal crossed the $50 million in career prize money threshold following his French Open title, and earns even more from sponsors including Kia Motors, Bacardi, Nike, and Babolat, so he can obviously afford to replace the watch if he had to. And Rafa’s carelessness has so far not dampened Richard Mille’s enthusiasm for sponsoring athletes: the Swiss craftsman also backs golfer Bubba Watson, winner of this years’ Masters, and LeMans and Formula One driver and commentator Martin Brundle.