Singer, rapper, songwriter, producer, designer, entrepreneur, Pharrell Williams has been seen sporting Richard Mille watches for a long while now. A quick Google search of his name will reveal countless photographs in evidence to this.

The story goes that when Pharrell dropped the song Can I Have It Like That in 2006, the line “She knows the time she sees the Richard Mille”, caught the ear of the one and only, Mr Richard Mille. The two soon met, and have been friends since.

Says Pharrell, “It didn’t match to me at first, not at all what I’d been expecting. He is so full of life. It was only when I got to know him that I truly understood how he pushes things. He’s a stickler for detail. He is also concerned with the broader bigger picture. When you see the watches, they’re really about those subtle details working together in concert for better performance.”

(L-R) US singer Pharrell Williams, Richard Mille, and Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake pose prior to the start of the 8th edition of Le Mans Classic race, on July 9, 2016 in Le Mans, western France. / AFP / JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER (Photo credit: JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R) US singer Pharrell Williams, Richard Mille, and Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake pose prior to the start of the 8th edition of Le Mans Classic race, on July 9, 2016 in Le Mans, western France. / AFP / JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER (Photo credit: JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images)

Likewise, Pharrell, too, is known to be “a stickler for detail” in his own art. It is the quality that he suggests has made Richard Mille a watchmaker like no other, and if we might add to that, it is the same quality that has made Pharrell an artist unlike any of his peers.

So this is long time coming, but the friendship forged has finally resulted in a collaborative timepiece. Enter the RM 52-05 Tourbillon Pharrell Williams.

The Richard Mille RM 52-05 Tourbillon Pharrell Williams
The Richard Mille RM 52-05 Tourbillon Pharrell Williams

Richard Mille gave Pharrell quite the creative free reign in creating the watch that would bear his name. Pharrell says, “In every aspect of my work, I always look for something different, something new. Working with Richard Mille provided an opportunity to go where no one else has ever gone before.”

Where Pharrell chose to go, with the RM 52-05, is a place in the consciousness of his childhood: his fascination with space, space travel and very specifically, the planet Mars. He explains, “I just thought that Mars was such a beautiful and poetic subject matter and an unheard of concept for a unique watch. We didn’t used to know it was once full of water. They now think may have had conditions like those of Earth now. There’s so much time and space involved, it feels like the right place to be inspired by. Also, mankind put the first probe there when I was a little boy.

Pharrell Williams with the Richard Mille RM 52-05 Tourbillon Pharrell Williams on his wrist (Image: Robert Jaso)

“Mariner 9 was the very first space vessel we made that orbited another planet. And today, we have Elon Musk trying to get humans on or near Mars before even NASA’s projected timeline. It’s the next, most challenging and mind-blowing frontier. That’s why I wanted the RM 52-05 to be about this special neighbour we have, right here, in our very own solar system.”

The Richard Mille RM 52-05 Tourbillon Pharrell Williams
Hand engraving the 5N gold visor (Image: Jerome Bryon)
Hand engraving the 5N gold visor (Image: Jerome Bryon)
Applying enamel powder to the 5N gold visor (Image: Jerome Bryon)
Applying enamel powder to the 5N gold visor (Image: Jerome Bryon)
Heating the 5N gold visor (Image: Jerome Bryon)
Heating the 5N gold visor (Image: Jerome Bryon)
Hand-painting details onto the 5N gold visor (Image: Jerome Bryon)
Hand-painting details onto the 5N gold visor (Image: Jerome Bryon)
Blue aventurine glass incorporated into the movement baseplate, forming the backdrop for the RM 52-05 Tourbillon Pharrell Williams

The way that the Red Planet has been portrayed on the RM 52-05 is by imagining an astronaut standing on the planet surface, looking Earthwards. The red earth of Mars reflected on the explorer’s visor with the Blue Planet held afloat over the horizon.

The Richard Mille RM 52-05 Tourbillon Pharrell Williams

The white of the astronaut’s suit is painted using an airbrush that was initially developed for street artist Cyril Kongo, who hand-painted the bridges of the RM 68-01. All of this, in Grade 5 Titanium. The visor, where the centre stage is established, is a curved 5N gold piece that is hand engraved, grand-feu-enamelled and then hand-painted. And let’s not forget that backdrop, where large inserts of blue aventurine glass are used to create the abyss of space (visible from the front and back of the watch).

The complete drama of the timepiece is held within a 49.94 x 42.35 x 16.15 mm, classic Richard Mille tonneau case, in Cermet and Carbon TPT®.

Caseback of the Richard Mille RM 52-05 Tourbillon Pharrell Williams

Technical Specifications

Movement

Manual winding Calibre RM52-05; hours and minutes; tourbillon; 42-hour power reserve

Case

49.94 x 42.35 x 16.15 mm in Cermet and Carbon TPT®; water-resistant to 30m

The RM 52-05 Tourbillon Pharrell Williams is a limited edition of 30 pieces, in brown Cermet and Carbon TPT®