In what is a collaboration bound to make horological history, luxury Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille and French-Vietnamese street artist Cyril Kongo join forces to put forth a watch that not only tells the time, but also transcends it.
A veritable work of art for the wrist, the new RM 68-01 Tourbillon Cyril Kongo is the outcome of Richard Mille’s desire to introduce contemporary art within haute horlogerie in an unprecedented manner. Much more than a watch, the Tourbillon Calibre presents itself as a tabula rasa for which Kongo graces with a bout of artistic excellence. One can contend this excellence lies in the boundaries broken through the collaboration. As seen through the work on the bridges and baseplate of the watch – a novelty within the watch world – Richard Mille and Kongo have succeeded in taking an art essentially associated with large-scale urban murals and translating it for the horological world of micromechanics and precision.
Using a special airbrush to spray his colours with the utmost delicacy, one droplet at a time, Kongo avoids jeopardising the Calibre’s equilibrium which is essential to its functioning. His production technique, which took over a year to master, made it possible to draw lines barely visible to the naked eye and impossible to create directly by hand, even if certain motifs were sketched using pens with especially fine nibs. In contrast to the overt boldness of the front, the back of the watch poses an intricate response with outwardly radiating baseplate that is reminiscent of a splash of paint physically thrown against a wall. 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.
Combining contemporary mechanical and visual arts in a truly exceptional expression of 21st-century timekeeping, the RM 68-01 juxtaposes creativity with precision to create a work of functioning innovation that redefines both art and horology. – Tanika D’souza
For further information on Richard Mille’s collaboration with Cyril Kongo visit: www.richardmille.com