This may just be the first time that the words erotic messages, Tibetan prayer wheel, and Drake all belong in the same sentence. What do they all have in common? The RM 69 Tourbillon Erotic, a limited-edition watch from Richard Mille.
The Canadian rapper teased the watch in an Instagram post from October of last year. The image showed the watch in all its detailed, tantalizing splendour, sitting on Drake’s wrist. The exact time indicated by the device is hard to gauge in a confusion of hands and exposed gears, but it also feels irrelevant. It’s the message on the watch’s face that captures the attention: I WANT TO CARESS YOU TONIGHT.
The watch resurfaced in April thanks to an OVO Edition Backstage video, a special edition titled “How Much Is Your Outfit?” A gaggle of celebs and tastemakers backstage at the O2 give a run-down of their attire, which notably among the crowd includes a $4,000 Visvim pink jacket, a Dior hoodie, and Cartier shades.
When it is Drake’s turn in the spotlight, the luxury names come hot and heavy: a custom Brioni Jacket ($11,000), Tom Ford turtleneck ($2,000), Tom Ford trousers ($1,000), crocodile Tom Ford shoes ($15,000). Some jewelry is priceless, like a bracelet gifted by a fan — but some jewelry is certainly not priceless, like the custom progressive diamond link (from Jason of Beverly Hills) sparkling around the rapper’s neck. $200,000.
Those are some staggering numbers, certainly, but they account for only a fraction of the total cost of Drake’s outfit. It comes in at just under a million dollars, and picking up the remaining bulk of that is a Richard Mille watch and its $750,000 price tag.
Richard Mille is the eponymous luxury brand of a French watchmaker. Based in Les Breuleux, Switzerland, the company is known for its skeletal, ultra-expensive time pieces; its RM 008, thought to be one of the most advanced watches in the world, starts at half a million euros.
Among a collection of heavy swag, the RM 69 Tourbillon Erotic is one that stands out. Erotic watches are nothing new; titillating timepieces date back to the 1600s, when coital scenes were painted or engraved onto casebacks and dials. These were used as conversation pieces and as a means of flirtation, a hyper-sexualized wink in an ordinarily conservative, even prudish society. The flick of a pocket watch chain was enough to break a social norm and open the door to some — well, adult fun.
In his modern iteration, Richard Mille wanted to steer away from the figurative, opting instead for the literal use of language. It’s here that the Tibetan prayer wheel comes into play, as this object inspired a mechanism Mille anointed the ‘oracle’, which uses the rotation of three separate rollers to display cheeky messages. These are activated at the whim of the wearer via a push-button at 10 o’clock, which triggers the rotation of the titanium rollers; a button at 8 o’clock causes the hour and minute hands to temporarily retract so that the statement can be read.
“This watch is a clear affirmation of the creative longing to reveal our most secret intentions in all their glory,” says the designer via the brand website. “Playfully interpreted, this fine watchmaking creation will delight and amuse its owners, teasingly displaying phrases that evoke desired pleasures.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Richard Mille unless the specs were just as impressive as the novelty. The RM69 sports a manual winding tourbillon movement and a power reserve indicator. Located at 4 o’clock, this power reserve is shaped like a gauge and is powered by a planetary differential. A torque limiting crown prevents over-winding, ensuring that the winding stem and mainspring barrel remain undamaged.
When it comes to materials, grade 5 titanium — a biocompatible, highly corrosion-resistant, super rigid alloy — is used for the rollers as well as the baseplate and bridges. It’s a material frequently used by aerospace, aeronautical, and automobile industries, meaning that it’s been tested to the extremity and that its durability is a sure thing.
Aesthetically, erotic messaging aside, we’re loving the signature skeletal look of this watch. The sapphire-blasted, satin-finished surfaces make the RM69 look like a timepiece that belongs in a planetary orbit on the wrist of one very sophisticated astronaut, exploring the galaxy on an equally sophisticated space ship.
Interested in snatching up one of these erotic timepieces? There are only thirty in the world, so don’t let the clock tick for too long.
Photos via Richard Mille.