Pharrell William, US Artist, singer, songwriter and producer, finally gets his own signature piece - the RM 52-05 Tourbillion. Pharrell is a long-term supporter of Richard Mille and has been spotted many times wearing pieces of the Swiss watch manufacturer in public. At first sight, when looking at the watch, many of you would wonder “what has Pharrell to do with astronautics?!” Well, the RM 52-05 Tourbillion reflects his affection towards space and astronautics.
Richard Mille did a great job with picking Pharrell Williams as a brand ambassador. He is globally known as an icon in the music industry for both the older generation and the younger generation. The 46-year-old American is as unique and special in the music industry as Richard Mille is in the watch industry.
When looking at the dial the first thing that catches your attention is obviously the space helmet which takes around 15 hours alone to decorate. The helmet is made of grade 5 titanium; on the side you clearly see the white diamonds and the black sapphires. The coolest part on the dial is the grand-feu-enameling which is one of the most difficult decorative technique used in fine watchmaking.
As you can see, the enamel painter creates the illusion “the Earth is observed from Mars” by reflecting the globe on the helmet’s glass. Nicely done from the Creative Development team of Richard Mille! Behind the space helmet you can see the aventurine glass which illustrates the stars in the night sky.
When you flip the watch, you see through the open caseback. The baseplate and bridge are both made from grade 5 titanium, a material which is widely used in the aerospace industry. The grade 5 titanium consists of 90% titanium, 6% aluminum and 4% vanadium and is really hard to manufacture.
The heart-piece of the RM 52-05 is the manual winding tourbillon movement - 50 meters of water resistance, 19 jewels and 42 hours of power reserve. Complexity of the watch? Actually, very low since Richard Mille kept it quite simple on this one. While there is an hour and minutes display, there isn’t even a date display. To be honest, that’s not what I really expect from a USD 969,000 watch. Yes, it’s a Tourbillon watch; the material used is extraordinary; the art work on the dial is amazing. But I am still not sure if the price is accurate for the 30 pieces limited edition.
Furthermore, I have split feelings as I always link watchmaking and the aerospace to Omega’s Moonwatches. Perhaps a watch related to the music industry would have been better suited for Pharrell Williams.
Dear Pharrell, RM lovers, RM marketing and creative department, please don’t take it personally. I still love and admire the brand but this watch probably won’t be making it to the top of my list of Richard Mille pieces. It’s a small portion of criticism but I only criticize what I love and only because I know Richard Mille can do better. They’ve have always been (and still are) a pioneer in fine watch making.
RM 52-05 Tourbillon Pharrell Williams
retail price USD 969,000 but will be traded much higher on the market once released
Hard to say. I guess at watch exhibitions where people will appreciate the work that Richard Mille put into this piece. It’s not really a watch for daily use.
An engraver, an enameller and a painter worked together to create this stunning dial, which is a viewpoint expressing one of Pharrell Williams’ dreams - The Earth is observed from Mars.
Images: Richard Mille Website & Instagram @richardmille