Review: Richard Mille Tourbillon RM68-01 Cyril Kongo

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Horology meets street art in this graffiti-inspired piece.

For someone more accustomed to spraying paint over metres of outdoor surfaces, French-Vietnamese artist Cyril Phan (above), or Cyril Kongo as he’s professionally known, took on the challenge of painting across mere millimetres of space. His canvas? The RM 68-01.

Kongo spent over a year experimenting using special tools like an airbrush developed to allow the release of one drop of colour at a time. He also used special tweezers to treat the movement parts without touching them, and extra care had to be taken so that paint wouldn’t get onto the gears.

On the surface, it looks as though the paint is randomly scattered but in fact, a lot of calculation went into it. Even the weight of the paint had to be pre-determined so it wouldn’t upset the equilibrium of the calibre and throw it off-balance.

The calibre RM 68-01 manual winding tourbillon comes with a torque-limiting crown, which prevents over-winding so you don’t damage the winding stem or impose too much pressure on the mainspring barrel. Low-density TZP black ceramic is also employed in the bezel and caseback to keep the watch lightweight and scratch-resistant. Thanks to the transparent caseback, Kongo's art can be appreciated in its full glory both sides of the watch.

With its asymmetrical dial and splash of colours, this watch is undoubtedly a conversation piece. What makes it even more unique is that it’s limited to 30 pieces, with each one entirely hand-painted and treated with spray paint. Sure takes wearable art to another level. Price available upon request.

Melissa Kong

Managing Editor

Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".

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