Richard Mille – RM 68-01 “Cyril Kongo”23 June 2016
A veritable ‘work of art for the wrist’, the new RM 68-01 Tourbillon Cyril Kongo watch will make horological history. For the rst time ever, an artist has transferred his universe of the tremendously large to the heart of a watch movement.
The RM 68-01 is the outcome of Richard Mille’s desire to introduce contemporary art within haute horlogerie in an unprecedented manner. Indeed, this tourbillon calibre is more than a watch, insofar as it also serves as a canvas
for the inspiration and creativity of street artist Cyril Kongo. Never before has a work of art thus taken shape on the bridges and baseplate of a watch, becoming a truly integral part of the timepiece. Richard Mille and Kongo succeeded in taking an art essentially associated with large-scale urban murals and translating it for the horological world of micromechanics and precision, thereby making a leap from city walls to bridges, baseplates and sapphire dials of watchmaking.
It took more than a year to develop the painting technique used by Kongo. A special airbrush was developed to allow the artist to spray his colours with the utmost delicacy, one droplet at a time. To avoid jeopardising the calibre’s equilibrium, essential to its functioning, the weight of the paint had to be strictly determined beforehand.
‘He has pushed back the furthest boundaries of horological technique, pronounced Richard Mille. This is exactly what I wanted, to bring Kongo into a watch. He wasn’t content simply to apply paint to here and there. Cyril Kongo made it his own, from the movement to the tourbillon, by way of the case and dial.’
The RM68-01 caliber is entirely hand-painted by Cyril Kongo and treated with spray paint in his highly developed graffiti style, guaranteeing a unique visual impact never before found combined with an exceptional haute horlogerie tourbillon at this level.
Each watch is individually taken to hand by the artist, creating a unique timepiece.
On the back of the watch we see the central form of the tourbillon movement’s baseplate radiating outwards like a splash of paint physically thrown against a wall, while from the front the different movement bridges can be seen arcing in different directions like the wild brushstrokes found in street art murals. Housed within a case comprising an NTPT Carbon caseband with black ceramic bezels, the asymmetric case design tapers in two directions—in thickness from 9 to 3 o’clock and in height between 12 and 6 o’clock. The RM 68-01 combines contemporary mechanical and visual arts in a truly exceptional expression of 21st century timekeeping.
Limited to 30 pieces worldwide.