At only 23 years old, she is already one of the world leaders in athletics. Belgian Nafi Thiam is considered to be a specialist in combined events, having emerged victorious in heptathlon at the 2017 World Championships and 2016 Olympics.
Her achievements have now led to her being named as Richard Mille’s new face. She is the first female athlete to join the luxury watch brand’s illustrious team of ambassadors.
“What enticed me to work with Nafi was her vision and her approach to performance. She has a strong analytical sense and does not rush herself,” founder Richard Mille explains.
According to him, he was also drawn to the determination and capacity of the young athlete. Heptathlon is considered by him to be one of the most complex disciplines in athletics.
“I endorse the idea that it is most important to look for ways to surpass yourself in order to become the best and accept the time that this might take,” Mille further points out.
Thiam won the gold medal in the heptathlon at the Rio Olympics. She was also voted rising star by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) in 2016 and Female Athlete of the Year in 2017.
At the 2017 Hypo-meeting in Gotzis, Austria, she shot to third in the world all-time heptathlon list by scoring 7013 points, and in the same discipline, won the gold medal at the World Championships in London.
Thiam however, prefers not to talk about her past medals. She has her eyes on the future and is working continuously to improve her personal records – something of which is sure to bring results.
It is for the same reason that she has preferred not to participate in the 2018 World Indoor Championships, but instead, concentrate on the European Championship in Berlin.
“I want to remain 100% focused on my objective. I’m training hard and my sights are set on Berlin. I prefer to concentrate on my general progression rather than medals and victories,” Thiam says.
“I am proud of my partnership with Richard Mille and to work with this extraordinary team with whom I share the same desire to always aim higher and push to the limits.”
Fit For A Winner
As an ambassador for the luxury watch brand, Thiam will be sporting an automatic, lightweight and resistant Richard Mille watch on her wrist – the extra flat RM 033 wristwatch.
Its characteristic lies in the placement of the RMXP1 caliber’s automatic micro rotor to the side rather than the centre of the movement, thus saving precious millimeters in total height.
The movement has a diameter of 33 mm, while its thickness is only 2.60 mm. To provide perfect weight distribution for a decentral rotor to function optimally, it has been designed to wind bi-directionally.
More than that, the caliber is manufactured from solid platinum. This allows for for efficient winding, as well as compact dimensions of the extra flat skeletonised movement.
The curving case back of the RM 033 is a trademark of the entire Richard Mille collection. This tripartite case with a complete integration of the lugs into the case system is water resistant to 30 meters, ensured by two Nitril O-ring seals.
Many details form the signature of the watch, such as the free sprung balance with variable inertia, a power reserve of 42 hours, the extensive use of spline screws throughout the movement, the rigorous design and execution of the case, the ceramic crown sealed with double seal O-rings.
As an extra flat movement is taken to be the most subtle and elegant in horology, the constraints of producing this model are made even more challenging given the limited space available.