Hands-on with the $600,000, green and yellow Richard Mille RM059-01 Tourbillon Yohan Blake (with live photos and price)

Richard Mille unveiled his funkiest wristwatch ever at SIHH 2013, the Richard Mille RM059 Yohan Blake, made for the Jamaican Olympic champion.

Unlike the first Richard Mille wristwatch made for champion sprinter Yohan Blake, which was based on an existing model, the RM059-01 Tourbillon Yohan Blake was designed from the ground up, explaining its cartoonish colour and shape.  Coloured in green and yellow just like the Jamaican flag, the RM059-01 is the first green Richard Mille watch, and it is also the first one with an asymmetric case. Made from a polymer injected with carbon nanotubes – the polymer is translucent green and the black flecks are carbon nanotubes – the case reminds me of seaweed jelly. Since it is intended to be worn while running, the RM059-01 exceptionally lightweight, though not quite as light as the weightless RM027-01 Rafael Nadal.

The slant of the case mirrors the four green-oxidised aluminium alloy bridges running over the movement (and another identical four bridges can be found on the back), which are meant to evoke Blake’s fingers while running. Each bridge is hand painted with a yellow lacquer strip.

The bottom three green bridges are functional, securing both the tourbillon and hands. But the bridge at the very top appears to be purely aesthetic.

Visible below the green bridges is the movement, the standard tourbillon movement made by Renaud & Papi used in most watches from Richard Mille, which is soon to be acquired by Kering (formerly PPR). This is a limited edition of 50 pieces with a price of S$780,100 (~US$616,000), including 7% tax. While not fine watchmaking in the traditional sense, this watch is nevertheless a striking status symbol – it is expensive and utterly impossible to miss. – SJX

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