The new Richard Mille Tourbillon Kongo watch, now in stores, is a bright, colorful take on time. In yet another grand collaboration, the Richard Mille team invites graffiti artist Kongo (Cyril Phan) to give his take on a limited-edition RM 68-01 skeletonized Tourbillon timepiece.
Created in a series of 30, each watch—which includes both its bezel as well as the components of the movement—is individually micro-spray painted by the artist himself, rendering every piece an entirely unique work of art.
“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 centimeters (two inches) square,” explains Kongo, who, by the time he was a teenager, had grown up in Vietnam, the South of France, and the Democratic Republic of Congo—hence the moniker. “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.”
The innovative, in-depth process makes the watch a feat of technological prowess as well—a distinction that extends to the materials its made with, too: The movement’s pieces are made using high-tech materials such as a Nivaorox® balance spring, shock protectors, anti-magnetic elements, and more. The case is made of NTPT Carbon with a ceramic bezel, and the reverse side of the watch is sapphire so the baseplate and its colorful splashes of paint can be seen and shown off.
More than just a timepiece, this collaboration is a piece of wearable contemporary art. Price: from $800,000; richardmille.com.