L'Hommes

Richard Mille x Pharrell Williams

Watchmaker Richard Mille presents his new RM 52-05 Tourbillon, designed in collaboration with the versatile singer and producer Pharrell Williams.
Reading time 11 minutes

The talented singer, songwriter and producer who has won numerous awards is a long-time fan of the brand and has worn many of its iconic watches. When Richard Mille offered to collaborate, Pharrell drew inspiration from his childhood memories: "Contemplating the sky has always fascinated me. That is all that has been, and all that will be. Space is before your eyes. Everyone has to discover it. It existed before Earth, before the solar system. It will exist after us, and nothing makes more sense. When I look at the sky, I contemplate the divine. I feel that I belong to so many different aspects of a whole. It is the Alpha and the Omega."

 

The term Pharrell Williams uses to describe his music is subversive. His artistic universe is characterised by a continuous renewal of his sources of inspiration, in search of new perspectives, by forming unexpected partnerships. "If it is not subversive, it is not very interesting. We have to stand out in our world." The distinction of the RM 52-05 can be seen in its ability to tilt our point of view by 180°. The dial resembles the immensity of the space. Earth seen from Mars. A magnificent and distant reflection, seen through the helmet of an astronaut.

But how do you reproduce such immensity in the limited space of a dial? The RM 52-05 takes up this artistic and technical challenge because the brand's followers expect innovative ideas such as this from the Richard Mille creation and development team. Here, the work of high-tech materials is associated with various disciplines relating to the craft of art such as engraving, enamelling and painting. The different elements come to life in a new tourbillon calibre, remarkable both for the subtlety of the style and for the attention to detail. Like a space shuttle, the movement plate is made of grade 5 titanium through which it is possible to see on the back of the watch the grade 5 titanium bridges, skeletonised to evoke rocket launching platforms. This plate has large inserts in sparkling blue aventurine glass, evoking space and the millions of stars that shine at the edge of the universe.

Here, the primary role is devoted to the precious material, red gold which contributes to representing in a quasi photographic point of view imagined by Pharrell. We are thus transported to the heart of the spectacular Valles Marineris, which takes its name from the first space probe, Mariner 9, sent to our distant neighbour. The engraving perfectly captures this imposing Martian canyon. To enamel and then animate this scene, it was necessary to obtain numerous colour changes in the enamel. Unlike traditional grand feu enamels, the shades of orange to red and blue to black were not created by adding pigments but by superimposing the layers of polish and baking at 850°. The astronaut's helmet, sculpted in grade 5 titanium and painted by hand using an airbrush, recalls the omnipresent and timeless nature of the universe. Two white gold elements set with black sapphire and two diamonds materialise the projectors that illuminate the environment and the camera embarked by space explorers.

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The materials used for the case complete this cosmic watch. Brown Cermet combines the lightness of titanium with the hardness of ceramic. The metallic zirconia matrix combined with a high-performance ceramic gives this material its incredible brown hue with metallic reflections. The middle part is made of TPT® Carbon, a material well known in the aerospace field. The spatial metaphor was spun to suggest the feeling of immersion in this universe: the hands recall the arms of the satellite, the crown takes up the design of a rocket capsule and the rubber ribbon which surrounds it presents a specific profile of tire of Martian rovers.

 

A crew of astronauts will participate in this unique mission to Mars. The RM 52-05 Tourbillon Pharrell Williams will be produced in 30 copies. The little boy who grew up watching Star Trek in Virginia Beach is delighted to lead this expedition: "In each facet of my work, I always look for something new, different. Working with Richard Mille allowed me to go where no one had gone before - to Mars. To create simply means to consider things from a particular angle, that is what makes the difference. 52-05, Mars is looked at from a personal, unprecedented and unexpected point of view. So we break the codes. Realise: we have the best timekeeper in the world. We have Mars. And an African American from Virginia, all connected."

Limited edition of 30 pieces in brown Cermet and TPT® Carbon 

CALIBRE RM52-05: tourbillon movement with manual winding with hours, minutes.

Dimensions: 49.94 x 42.35 x 16.15 mm.

 

MAIN FEATURES

 

MARKET RESERVE

About 42 hours (± 10%)

MOVEMENT PLATE AND TITANIUM BRIDGES GRADE 5

Grade 5 titanium is a biocompatible alloy with excellent mechanical properties which offers very high resistance to corrosion and remarkable rigidity, thus allowing excellent operation of the gear train. Composed of 90% titanium, 6% aluminium and 4% vanadium, this alloy is frequently used in the aerospace, aeronautical and automotive industries. The movement plate reserves large areas for inserts in sparkling blue aventurine glass, evocative of space. The brilliance of this glass commonly called "river of gold" is due to the triangular and hexagonal inclusions of copper which enter into its composition. At the heart of the RM52-05 calibre, it symbolises the confines of the universe and its stars. Rigorous tests have validated the resistance characteristics.

DECOR, ASTRONAUT HELMET

The helmet in grade 5 titanium, which rests on a structure stylising the upper part of a spacesuit, also in grade 5 titanium, ensures the connection of the dial to the underlying movement. It was painted white using an airbrush, originally developed for the intervention of the street artist Kongo on the RM 68-01 Tourbillon. The projectors and cameras materialised by the setting of two diamonds and a black sapphire on each side of the helmet required special care. The stones are enhanced by the moderate depth of the setting, combined with polished and chamfered reflectors in the watchmaking fashion and with the alignment of tables oriented in the same way to obtain a homogeneous reflection. To translate this imaginary Martian scene, the domed 5N gold visor was successively engraved using specially created chisels, enamelled with high fire and then painted by hand. The engraving itself requires 15 hours for each piece, supplemented by a day reserved for large fire enamelling. It took all the patience, skill and ability of Pierre-Alain Lozeron to bring these creations to fruition.

VARIABLE INERTIA BALANCER

The spring with the curved end of the variable inertia balance guarantees greater reliability during assembly and disassembly of the movement as well as in the event of an impact or strong vibrations and therefore improved precision in the long term. The index of the racket is removed, and the finer and repeatable adjustment of the inertia is made possible by four adjustable weights.

FAST ROTATING BARREL (one round in 6 hours per round of barrel instead of 7:30 am)

This type of barrel has the following advantages:

- bonding phenomenon of the barrel spring significantly reduced and improved performance.

- excellent delta of the barrel spring curve. The choice was based on the ideal power reserve / performance / regularity ratio.

PROGRESSIVE REVERSE BARREL RATCHET

This device provides an appreciable gain when reassembling, up to 20% when the spring is lightly armed. It also contributes to a good distribution of the internal tension of the barrel spring.

TEETH OF BARREL AND GREAT MEDIUM PINION WITH DEVELOPING PROFILE

The involute gear train in the centre exerts pressure at an optimal angle of 20°, which improves the efficiency of the gear and compensates for any variations in engagement. This results in excellent torque transmission and a marked improvement in efficiency.

SPLINE TITANIUM SCREW GRADE 5 FOR BRIDGES AND HOUSING

Insensitive to handling during assembly and disassembly, these screws which allow excellent control of the tightening torque ensure their longevity.

OTHER FEATURES

- Movement dimensions: 32.80 x 30.90 mm

- Thickness: 6.40 mm

- Tourbillon diameter: 10.90 mm

- Diameter of the balance: 9.12 mm

- Number of rubies: 19

- Balance wheel: Glucydur®, 2 arms, 4 adjusting screws

- Moment of inertia: 11.50 mg.cm2, lifting angle 53°

- Frequency: 21,600 vibrations per hour (3 Hz)

- Spiral: Elinvar by Nivarox®

- Shockproof device: KIF ELASTOR of KE 160 B28

- Barrel shaft in nickel-free Chronifer® (DIN x 46 Cr 13 + S), with the following properties: stainless, antimagnetic, hardened

HOUSING

Brown cermet and TPT® Carbon middle

Cermet brown combines the lightness of titanium with the hardness of ceramic. It is made of a metallic zirconia matrix combined with high-performance ceramic reinforcements, giving it this incredible brown hue with metallic reflections. The density of the Cermet of 5.7 g / cm3 and its hardness of 1200 Vickers equivalent to ceramic give it perfect legitimacy for its use on a bezel and case back, areas very exposed to scratches. These two elements are fixed on a middle part in TPT® Carbon, also contributing to the reduction in weight. TPT® Carbon consists of 600 layers of parallel filaments, themselves obtained after the spacing of carbon threads. With a maximum thickness of 30 microns each, the layers impregnated with a black matrix are then assembled by a specific machine which superimposes them, each time varying their orientation by 45°. After being heated in an autoclave similar to those used for the manufacturing of aeronautical components, at 120°C and a pressure of 6 bars, the TPT® Carbon is ready to be machined at Richard Mille. The tripartite case, water-resistant to 30 meters thanks to two O-rings in Nitril, is assembled using 24 spline screws in grade 5 titanium and washers in wear-resistant 316L stainless steel.

FLANGE

Made of grade 5 titanium

ICE

Bezel side: in sapphire (1800 Vickers hardness) with anti-reflective treatment (on both sides)

Thickness: 1.50 mm

Backside: in sapphire (1800 Vickers hardness) with anti-reflective treatment (on both sides)

Thickness: 1.20mm

FINISHES

MOVEMENT

- Hand polished bevels

- Microbead milled sections

- Upper faces stretched or polished

STEEL PARTS

- Micro beaded surfaces

- Satin surfaces

- Hand polished bevels

- Features drawn lengthwise

- Blurred lines

- Features drawn lengthwise on the sides

- Polished mouldings

Décolletages

- Stoned and polished ends

- Burnished pivots

WHEELS

- Diamond mouldings

- Circular softening on the faces

- Rhodium plating (before cutting the teeth). A minimum of alterations is made to the cogs to preserve the geometry and performance.

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