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. This significant challenge involving all the teams collaborating on the RM 68-01 project resulted in the creation of a unique palette of brightly coloured indelible paints that adhere perfectly to the titanium components and can endure assembly and dismantling.
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. This limited edition of 30 pieces combines contemporary mechanical and visual arts in a truly exceptional expression of 21st century timekeeping.