Admittedly, a collaboration between celebrated graffiti street artist Cyril Kongo and haute horlogerie maison Richard Mille is one of the last pairings to come to mind. But when these two unexpected partners got their act together, their combined creative force is nothing short of astounding.
The result of this partnership? The new RM 68-01 Tourbillon Cyril Kongo watch, a horological first that captures the beauty of contemporary art within its form. Beyond its capabilities, this singular timepiece is also a canvas of inspiration and creativity, a reflection of Kongo's artistic savvy and Richard Mille's predilection for the avant-garde. Indeed, a veritable work of art takes form upon the titanium bridges and baseplate of the watch where a multitude of brilliant colours segue into the very heart of the tourbillon.
A process that requires the utmost delicate precision as not to interfere with the Calibre RM68-01's equilibrium, each paint colour was carefully and strictly weighed prior to being airbrushed on. Kongo revealed it took over a year of experimentation and the development of special tools before he established a technique with which to paint the intricate components. Entirely hand-worked in his signature graffiti style, the Tourbillon Cyril Kongo is a visual impact like none other, superimposed over seamless mechanisms.
When flipped over, the central form of the tourbillon movement arcs outwards like a splash of paint thrown against a wall, stunning and graphic in its haphazard unconventionality. Much like street art murals, the entirety of the skeletonised mechanics resemble the wild brushstrokes characteristic of street graffiti and likewise, no two watches are the same as each piece is a new canvas taken to hand by Kongo.
With a free sprung balance with variable inertia to provide reliable chronometric readings, an enhanced rotating barrel that spins a 6-hour revolution instead of the usual 7.5 hours for improved performance, the watch is also equipped with a torque-limiting crown — an additional security feature to prevent accidental over winding that could damage the mainspring barrel. Like a living piece of drawing, the Richard Mille RM68-01 Tourbillon Cyril Kongo is a timepiece that elevates the craft of horlogerie and the beauty of art to a subliminal plane.
The RM68-01 Tourbillon Cyril Kongo is limited to 30 pieces worldwide.