Today, Richard Mille unveiled the RM 68-01 Kongo Tourbillon, a collaboration with Cyril Kongo, the international street artist that transforms the tourbillon movement itself into an unprecedented work of art. The 30-piece limited edition will be available exclusively at Richard Mille boutiques worldwide, starting in July. A veritable ‘work of art for the wrist’, the new Richard Mille RM 68-01 Kongo Tourbillon watch will make horological history. For the first time ever, a street artist has transferred his universe of the tremendously large to the heart of a watch movement.
In the words of Cyril Kongo: “I come from graffiti. All my work originates there. It was my school for painting, I learned in the street. I need to remain in touch with that world while at the same time looking at what’s happening elsewhere. Graffiti is a language with its own codes, a form of writing, whether this be on a gigantic wall, on canvas, or any other surface. I am not a painter bound to a single space, nor to any particular surface.
Known internationally under the pseudonym Cyril Kongo, the graffiti artist Cyril Phan was born in Toulouse, France in 1969 and presently resides in Paris. A self-made man and artist, he launched himself to the top of the French artistic and cultural world as well as Europe and beyond within a space of a just a decade. His mastery of the discipline and his over twenty years of membership in the MAC CREW collective have established him as one of the legendary, major representatives of the world’s graffiti scene. Over the course of time, he has developed and expanded his artistic vision and approach culminating in a fully articulate artistic maturity not defined merely by graffiti. Inspired by frescos and wall paintings, he has, in essence, transformed graffiti as a genre.
A chance encounter with Richard Mille led to the idea of an artistic project—marking Kongo’s first foray into the world of haute horlogerie—with the creation of the limited edition RM 68-01 Tourbillon Cyril Kongo. However, this watch is more than a joint effort—it is, in fact, a series of art works created by Cyril Kongo: each watch was individually taken in hand by the artist with micro spray painting tools in order to make each timepiece unique.
Cyril Kongo adds: “It took the development of special tools, and over a year of experimentation for me to be capable of painting on a watch some five square centimeters —two square inches. Certain pieces were barely a few millimeters long, some even smaller, and I had to put the lettering directly on them, enough for visual effect but without using much paint so as to avoid throwing off the balance of the movement. It’s as though as starting from a complete automobile, I had to paint the chassis, the engine, each piston, etc.”
On the back of the new Richard Mille RM 68-01 Kongo Tourbillon 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 TZP 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 Richard Mille RM 68-01 Tourbillon Cyril Kongo combines contemporary mechanical and visual arts in a truly exceptional expression of 21st century timekeeping.
This watch is limited to 30 pieces worldwide.
Sticker Price $685,000 USD. For more info on Richard Mille click here.