Cyril Phan is a French spray painting craftsman born in 1969, better known under the internationally pseudonym of Cyril Kongo. A self-trained painter established himself as one of the main figures of the spray painting craftsmanship scene. His works are now essential for important private collections.
Born to a Vietnamese father and French mother, after the fall of Saigon in 1975, the craftsman lived two years in the Republic of Congo (hence the pseudonym) with his mother.
Mirroring his longing to introduce contemporary workmanship within haute horlogerie in an uncommon way, Richard Mille requested him to move his universe from the tremendously enormous to the heart of a watch movement. From city dividers to the horological world of micromechanics.
A highly complicated tourbillon type was transformed in a material for the inspiration and inventiveness of the craftsman. This way, Cyril Kongo’s work of workmanship has come to fruition on the scaffolds and baseplate of a watch, becoming a really necessary piece of the watch.
The outcome is the amazing Richard Mille RM 68-01 Cyril Kongo.
It took more than a year to develop the artwork technique utilized by Kongo. An uncommon airbrush was developed to allow the craftsman to splash his colors with the utmost delicacy, one droplet at a time.
The danger was to affect the fragile calibre’s harmony, fundamental for its functioning, the weight of the paint had to be carefully determined beforehand.
This huge challenge involving all the groups collaborating on the RM 68-01 project brought about the creation of a special range of brightly colored permanent paints that adhere consummately to the titanium components and can suffer get together and destroying.
Kongo clarifies: ‘It took the development of uncommon tools, and over a time of experimentation for me to be fit for painting on a watch some five centimeters (two inches) square. Certain pieces were scarcely a couple of millimeters long, some considerably more modest, and I had to put the lettering straightforwardly on them, enough for enhanced visualization yet without utilizing much paint so as to avoid throwing off the equilibrium of the movement”.
On the rear of the watch, the focal form of the tourbillon movement’s baseplate transmits outwards like a splash of paint physically thrown against a divider, while from the front the diverse movement scaffolds can be seen arcing in various directions like the wild brushstrokes found in road craftsmanship wall paintings.
The 3 Hz (21,600 vph) hand-wound movement is housed within a case comprising a NTPT Carbon caseband with dark ceramic bezels (you can peruse more about the utilization of high-tech materials in Richard Mille watches here ). The uneven case configuration tightens in two directions—in thickness from 9 to 3 o’clock and in height somewhere in the range of 12 and 6 o’clock.
Accessible solely at Richard Mille boutiques worldwide, the Richard Mille RM 68-01 Cyril Kongo will be produced in a restricted edition of only 30 pieces, each of them genuinely remarkable. The cost before local charges is around Euro 700,000/US$ 685,000. richardmille.com