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Richard Mille unveils the RM 68-01 Cyril Kongo
2016-07-24 08:52:06
By The Carat Diet

A veritable ‘work of art for the wrist’, the new RM 68-01 Tourbillon Cyril Kongo 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.

 

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

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 cumulating 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.

 

Kongo: “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 centimetres (two inches) square. Certain pieces were barely

a few millimetres 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, starting from a complete automobile, I had to paint the chassis, the engine, each piston etc.”

 

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.