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RM 68-01 Kongo Tourbillon by Richard Mille

The RM 68-01 Tourbillon Cyril Kongo watch made horological history. For the first time ever, an artist has transferred his universe of the tremendously large to the heart of a watch movement. Share

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.

Main characteristics — Each watch is individually taken to hand by the artist, creating a unique timepiece. The asymmetric case design tapers two directions – in thickness from 9 to 3 o’clock and in height from 12 to 6 o’clock. It is assembled with of 20 spline screws in grade 5 titanium and abrasion-resistant washers in 316L stainless steel.

RM 68-01 Kongo Tourbillon by Richard Mille
Photo: Courtesy of Richard Mille

On the back of the watch, the central form of the tourbillon movement’s baseplate radiating outwards like a splash of paint physically thrown against a wall, and from the front the different movement bridges can be seen arcing in different directions like the wild brushstrokes found in street art murals.

Case — TZP black ceramic was chosen for the bezel and caseback. This low-density material (6g/cm3) is highly scratch-resistant and has a low thermal conductivity coefficient. Constituted of 95% yttrium-stabilized zirconium, TZP has a pronounced grain that provides the perfect finish. A long and difficult machining and grinding process using diamond tools is necessary to create the complex forms of the bezel and caseback, which are given a final matt surface finish.

RM 68-01 Kongo Tourbillon by Richard Mille
Photo: Courtesy of Richard Mille

Caseband — In NTPT carbon, a material composed of multiple layers of parallel filaments obtained by dividing carbon fibers. These layers, with a maximum thickness of 30 microns, are impregnated with resin, then woven on a special machine that modifies the direction of the weft by 45° between layers.

Heated to 120°C at a pressure of 6 bars, the NTPT is then ready for machining. When compared to composite materials, whose exceptional physical properties are already well known, NTPT® carbon improves breaking strains by 25% and the occurrence of micro-cracks by 200%. The RM 68-01 case is water resistant to 50 meters.

Movement — The RM68-01 caliber is entirely hand-painted by Cyril Kongo and treated with spray paint in his highly developed graffiti style, guaranteeing a unique visual impact never before found combined with an exceptional haute horlogerie tourbillon at this level. Each watch is a unique timepiece.

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