Richard Mille - RM 52-05 Tourbillon Pharrell Williams

The talented and award-winning singer, songwriter and producer has long been a friend of the brand, sporting many of its iconic watches on his wrist. And when Richard Mille suggested working together on the first watch to bear his name, Pharrell sought inspiration by looking deep into his childhood. "I've always been fascinated looking at the sky. What could be more inspiring than what always has been and always will be? Space, before your eyes. For you, all to see. It was here before Earth, before this solar system. It will be here after us and nothing will be more relevant than that. When I look up at the sky I am looking at God. I feel part of so many different parts of a whole. This is the Alpha and the Omega". The word 'subversive' is what Pharrell uses to describe his music. His artistic world is all about shifting goals, seeking new perspectives with unexpected partnerships. "If it's not subversive, it's just flat. We need cues to elevate ourselves in this world. As human beings, we spend our time looking at the cosmos. The cue with RM 52-05 comes from totally changing our perspective by 180 degrees. It is the moment when we realise, staring at the clock face, that what we are looking at, across the immensity of space is ... Ourselves. The Earth as seen from Mars, in a distant and wonderful reflection trapped in an astronaut's helmet. But how to capture this absolute vastness within the confines of a quadrant? The RM 52-05 tackles this artistic and technical challenge with the kind of radical ideas that connoisseurs of the brand have come to expect from Richard Mille's creative development team. High-tech materials worked by hand in miniature, using the latest technology and refined by the collaboration of an engraver, an enameller and a painter. The technique of the RM 52-05 calibre with tourbillon is incredibly innovative. Equivalent to a space shuttle, the movement's supporting plate is made of grade 5 titanium through which it is possible to glimpse the bridges, in grade 5 titanium, skeletonized to recall the structures of rocket launch platforms. It features large inserts of dazzling blue aventurine glass that evoke outer space and the edge of the universe with all its stars. The astronaut's helmet is moulded in grade 5 titanium, hand-painted with unalterable paint to hint at the time that pervades everything. As for the Red Planet itself, only red gold could bring its unmistakable hues to life. We are attracted by the impressive Valles Marineris, named in honour of the Mariner 9 probe, the first one sent by mankind to our distant 'neighbour'. The engraving shows the imposing complex of wide fissures in the rock, which open up to 7 kilometres deep on the rusty landscapes below. For this, it was necessary to achieve more shade variations in the glaze. Unlike traditional 'grand feu' glazes, obtained by adding different pigments, the gradients from orange to red and blue to black were achieved by overlapping several layers and increasing the number of firings to 850 °C. We become the astronaut. On the helmet, two white gold elements containing a black sapphire and two diamonds represent the projectors that illuminate the surroundings. On the skin we feel the spacesuit, composed of grade 5 titanium painted in white by airbrush. Other innovations complete this cosmos-inspired watch. The Cermet, which combines the lightness of titanium with the hardness of ceramic, is made of a zirconium metal matrix combined with a ceramic with high hardness characteristics, giving it an incredible reflective bronze colour. The strap is made of Carbon TPT®, well known in the aerospace industry. The hands and bridges on the back of the movement have been skeletonised to represent the towers of missile launch pads or the arms of satellites. The crown is based on the design of a space capsule. Even its rubber ring traces the tyre tread design of a Martian 'rover'. Only a very small team of astronauts will be on board this unique mission to Mars. The RM 52-05 Tourbillon Pharrell Williams will in fact be produced in an edition of only 30 pieces. The kid who grew up watching Star Trek in Virginia Beach is more than enthusiastic about leading the expedition ... "In every aspect of my work, I'm always looking for something different, something new. Working with Richard Mille has given me the opportunity to go where no one else has gone before. To Mars, for example. To create means to change the perspective from which we look at things, that's really the only difference, and with RM 52-05 we saw Mars from a different perspective, an unexpected point of view, in first person. In this way, we are breaking the mould. We have the best timekeeper in the world. We have Mars. And we have an African-American man from Virginia, all connected'.