Monthly Archives: December 2014

Graffiti Watch: Richard Mille RM68-01 Kongo

Graffiti or street art appears to be quite a popular subject, if our last few stories on the topic are any indication (see our Banksy piece if you are so inclined) so we’re interested to know if this piece on the Richard Mille RM68-01 Kongo tourbillon wristwatch will also resonate. The world of fine watchmaking and art – high or low – might be connected as so-called investments of passion but they are very different. Nevertheless, we shall merely present the case here for this collaboration between Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille and French graffiti artist Cyril Phan. Phan, the French-Vietnamese artist also known by his nom de guerre Kongo, might make for an unlikely partner for a watch brand but Richard Mille goes its own way – and has done since it revealed the RM001 in 2001.

The Richard Mille RM68-01 Kongo made news perhaps not because of this partnership between haute horlogerie and street art but because it costs $800,000 (other reports list the price as $685,000) and has already sold out (only 30 were or will be made). In an environment where the watch business is visibly suffering, this success is remarkable and begs many questions. Some of these are out of our scope and we’ll leave that to the likes of CNBC (they report that Richard Mille sales have grown by 15%) and Forbes to probe but we are able to comment reasonably on both watchmaking and art. Artists like Kongo are modern-day equivalents of muralists such as Diego Rivera so learning that one such artist managed to work on a canvass the size of a (large) stamp is remarkable.

Richard Mille RM68-01 Kongo

This is not to say such partnerships are beyond the pale. Even smaller and more accessible brands such as Arbutus have done it. What is remarkable here is that it isn’t just a dial that has been created by an artist – the RM68-01 has no true dial in fact – but rather the entire mechanical movement has been decorated by Kongo, using specially developed paints and airbrushes. Apparently, the paint had to be carefully engineered so that its heft and thickness wouldn’t interfere with the moving parts. The special airbrushes were used to spray on micro drops of paint.

As for the watch itself, well, it is a time-only proposition, with a tourbillon. The case is also remarkably complicated, in TZP black ceramic for the bezel and caseback and NTPT carbon for the case middle. Official information on the Richard Mille RM68-01 Kongo is available here. The images below illustrate the level of detail involved in this collaboration.

Richard Mille RM68-01 Kongo

Richard Mille RM68-01 Kongo

NYC Landmark Returns to Life as The Beekman Hotel

The Temple Court complex has returned to life as The Beekman hotel and it is more luxurious than ever. One of the earliest skyscrapers in the Big Apple (it has nine stories which was pretty impressive back in the 1800s), the building has been returned to its former glory much as it was in 1881. Having been a regular office building for most of its existence, this revamp sees the landmark located between the East and Hudson Rivers become a new luxury hotel and dining destination. Beekman-hotel-new-york-3

Step through the doors and guests are greeted by a soaring nine-story Victorian atrium and pyramidal skylight; this atrium was Temple Court’s claim to fame when it opened and remains impressive today. Another ode to its Victorian-era past are cast iron railings, balustrades and dragon-shaped cast iron brackets. The 287 rooms within the hotel are decorated with vintage furnishings from around the world, sourced from antique dealers. Custom-designed oak beds will welcome guests along with a bathroom that is tiled in Carrara marble.Beekman-hotel-new-york-2

Apart from luxurious amenities for guests from out of town, the hotel also boasts a two dining options. The first is Fowler & Wells by celebrity chef Tom Colicchio that serves up modern American dishes such as lobster Thermidor and beef Wellington that pay tribute to cuisine of turn-of-the-century New York City. The second is a brasserie-style restaurant, Augustine, by Keith McNally. Featuring French classics, a special rotisserie and grillades section for meat, fish and poultry, it is set to be a treat for those choosing to dine here.

Gulfstream Flies Higher, Faster, Farther

Gulfstream, one of the world’s premier business aviation manufacturers, is breaking one record after another. Its top of the line model, the G650ER, can fly higher, faster and farther than almost anything in the sky. Counting in the achievements of its sister aircraft, the standard G650, more than 55 records have been smashed. The latest record has been ratified by the U.S. National Aeronautic Association so it is official. Travelling from Sydney to Los Angeles on March 11, the plane managed a flight time of 12 hours and 40 minutes with an average speed of Mach 0.86 over the 6,620 nautical mile journey.

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Equipped with two Rolls-Royce BR725 A1-12 jet engines, the aircraft can reach a top speed of Mach 0.925, cruise up to 51,000 feet and has a maximum range of 7,500 nautical miles. The G650ER price starts around $66.5 million and goes up depending on the level of customization. The aircraft comes equipped with the latest in technological advancements, from wireless Internet to advanced air filtration systems giving a lower altitude pressurisation. With a bedroom, fully equipped kitchen and media area you can truly live and work comfortably in the sky, allowing you to maximize every precious minute of your day. It is only a matter of time ’til Gulfstream and the G650 breaks another aviation record.