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Retro-glam and a kaleidoscope of colours: Is disco making a comeback?

In a difficult year, disco appears to be a form of escapism, its influence reaching beyond the world of music.

Retro-glam and a kaleidoscope of colours: Is disco making a comeback?

Richard Mille has debuted the RM 71-02 Automatic Tourbillon Talisman, a collection inspired by the 70s disco era. (Photo: Richard Mille)

Neon lights, sequin dresses, groovy beats. Despite the shutdown of clubs and dancing venues in 2020, there appears to be something in the air. Disco is making a comeback, apparent from this year’s list of chart-topping hits.

Just last month, pop icon Kylie Minogue released her much-anticipated 15th studio album. Titled Disco, the album is a collection of glittering club tracks, marking the star's return to delivering dance-floor ready bangers.  

Younger stars such as Dua Lipa have also been experimenting with disco influences in their music. To bring much needed entertainment to those still in lockdown, the pop star held her first livestream concert, available for viewing till Dec 6. The disco-inspired extravaganza, aptly named Studio 2054, has already drawn in over five million views.   

Then there’s also BTS’ hit single Dynamite, the first K-pop song to reach No 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart. The disco-pop song was BTS’ first entirely English single, released as an upbeat bop to bring a boost during hard times.

In this video grab issued Aug 30, 2020, by MTV, BTS performs "Dynamite" during the MTV Video Music Awards. (MTV via AP)

In a difficult year, disco appears to be a form of escapism. Its influence goes beyond music too, even reaching the realms of the watchmaking world.

Swiss watch brand Richard Mille has debuted the new RM 71-02 Automatic Tourbillon Talisman collection for the ladies, inspired by the disco glam era of the 1970s.

There are a total of 10 models (named Jessica, Diana, Grace, Donna and more, after disco divas), each available in a limited edition of just seven pieces.

To achieve a psychedelic burst of colours, each model features its own unique combination of stones, from tsavorites, spessartites and amethysts, to diamonds, spinels, rubies and sapphires.

Each model in the collection features its own unique combination of stones. (Photo: Richard Mille)

Positioning the stones on each timepiece was no easy feat. “The intense glamour of the disco era resided in a multiplication of colours and textures,” explained Cecile Guenat, creative and development director at Richard Mille. 

"I had to find a way to make this idea tangible. Working with the stones themselves proved to be a considerable challenge. Because stones of very similar hues can end up looking completely different depending on their size and the type of setting."

The RM 71-02 Automatic Tourbillon Talisman Jessica. (Photo: Richard Mille)

Aside from the arrangement of the stones, the ten models also differ in their setting pattern, their engraving and the central decoration of the 0.9mm-thick dial. 

They all, however, share the same CRMT1 calibre. Presented for the first time as part of the RM 71-01 Automatic Tourbillon Talisman collection in 2018, the CRMT1 is Richard Mille’s eighth in-house movement but its first automatic tourbillon calibre. 

This required 1,000 hours of development, with the tourbillon mechanism integrated into the heart of a movement only 6.2mm thick and weighing just 8g.

As a finishing touch, the watches are paired with bold colourful straps, at times mismatched, creating a true visual feast for the eyes. 

For a true 70s disco vibe, the watches feature bold, colourful straps. (Photo: Richard Mille) READ> What sparks joy in troubled times? Bright colours and a sense of exuberance
Source: CNA/st(ds)