Maybe the word that best sums up Pharrell Williams is ‘universal’ —in every sense of the term. A deep link to the cosmos is something he felt very early on. No surprise, then, that Pharrell grew up a major fan of Star Trek, as anyone will know who has seen him use a Vulcan salute when conveying the name of his label, Star Trak. He has never made any secret of his fascination for the cosmos, or of the deep sense of spirituality he derives from it, of the wholeness at the centre of things.
Conjuring the visions, fantasies, and other imaginary projections of the brand’s partners is a familiar quest for Richard Mille, one that begins all over with every new adventure. A truly artistic project, the development of the RM 52-05 is special for the way it hinges on interpreting an idea, a symbol and a desire. This last has taken the form of a tourbillon whose originality lies in its astonishingly multidisciplinary techniques.
From another galaxy
First watch to bear the name Pharrell Williams, the RM 52-05 is a masterpiece conjuring the visions, fantasies, and other imaginary projections of this multitalented person into a pure contemporary and technical tourbillon calibre.
'Watches are 100% an art form: you're mimicking time. They keep time but ‘two weeks ago’ is gone, you can't show me where it is. So is ‘two weeks from now’, you can't show me that either. What Richard does is build something that lets you take the metric of what time looks like. That's a wizard-level art form.
I'm a producer, I know how to stand next to the guy, even in this instant: Richard is the guy. I know baselines and chords and harmonies. That's it. I'm harmonising with him.'
Manual winding tourbillon movement with hours and minutes.
Grade 5 titanium is a biocompatible, highly corrosion-resistant and remarkably rigid alloy that enables the gear train to function effortlessly. The alloy is 90% titanium, 6% aluminium and 4% vanadium. This combination further enhances the material’s mechanical properties, which explains its frequent use in the aerospace, aeronautics and automobile industries.
The baseplate of the movement features large inserts in dazzling blue aventurine glass that evoke outer space. Also known as ‘goldstone’, this glass glitters due to its triangular and hexagonal copper crystal inclusions. Incorporated into the heart of the RM52-05 calibre, it represents the confines of the universe and all its stars.
Rigorous tests have also confirmed its resistance capacities.
The terminal-curve spring equipping this type of balance wheel guarantees greater reliability when subjected to shocks or strong vibrations and during movement assembly and disassembly, hence ensuring better chronometric results over time. The regulator index is eliminated, and a more accurate and repeatable adjustment is possible thanks to 4 setting screws.
FAST-ROTATING BARREL (6 hours per revolution instead of 7.5 hours)
This type of barrel provides the following advantages:
- The phenomenon of periodic internal mainspring adhesion is significantly diminished, thereby increasing performance,
- Provision of an excellent mainspring delta curve. The choice was determined by the ideal power-reserve/performance/regularity ratio.
WINDING-BARREL TEETH AND THIRD-WHEEL PINION WITH CENTRAL INVOLUTE PROFILE
The central involute profile of the winding-barrel teeth provides an optimal pressure angle of 20°. This promotes effective rotary motion and compensates for possible variations in the engagement of the going train, thus ensuring excellent torque transmission with a distinct improvement in performance.
- Movement dimensions: 32.80 x 30.90 mm
- Thickness: 6.40 mm
- Tourbillon diameter: 10.90 mm
- Balance wheel diameter: 9.12 mm
- Jewels: 19
- Balance wheel: Glucydur®, 2 arms and 4 setting screws
- Moment of inertia: 11.50 mg.cm2, angle of lift: 53°
- Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
- Balance spring: elinvar by Nivarox®
- Shock protection: KIF ELASTOR KE 160 B28
- Barrel shaft: in nickel-free Chronifer® (DIN x 46 Cr 13 + S) with the following characteristics: stainless – antimagnetic – suitable for tempering
'I’ve always been fascinated by looking up at the sky. What could be more inspiring than all that ever was and all that ever will be? Space, before your eyes. It’s yours to see. It was here before the Earth, before this Solar System. It'll be here after us and nothing's more meaningful than that. When I look up at the sky I'm looking at God. I feel part of so many different parts of a whole. This is the Alpha and the Omega.'
DECORATIVE BRIDGE, ASTRONAUT'S HELMET
The grade 5 titanium helmet resting on a structure depicting the upper part of a spacesuit, also in grade 5 titanium, connects the dial to the movement beneath it. It has been painted white using an airbrush that was initially developed for street artist Cyril Kongo, who hand-painted the RM 68-01.
The projectors and cameras, represented by two diamonds and a black sapphire set on either side of the helmet, required particular care and attention. The stones are showcased by a moderate gem-setting depth, reflectors that have been polished and bevelled using watchmaking techniques and the alignment of their tables, all of which are facing the same way to ensure a uniform reflection.
To recreate the imaginary Martian scene, the curved 5N gold visor has been engraved using specially created burins, grand-feu-enamelled and then hand-painted. The engraving alone requires 15 hours per piece, followed by an entire day of grand feu enamelling. Pierre-Alain Lozeron had to apply all his patience, skill and dexterity to bring these creations to life.
The brown Cermet combines the lightness of titanium with the hardness of a ceramic. It consists of a metallic zirconium matrix associated with high-performance ceramic that gives the material its incredible brown hue with metallic reflections.
Cermet has a mass to volume ratio of 5.7 g/cm3 and a hardness of 1,200 Vickers, comparable to a traditional ceramic and making it eminently suitable for use in bezels and case backs, both areas that are highly vulnerable to scratches, while ensuring that the entire assembly is light in weight. These two elements are affixed to a caseband made of Carbon TPT®, which also contributes to lowering the total weight.
This high-tech material is made up of 600 layers of parallel filaments obtained by separating out carbon fibres. The layers, no more than 30 microns thick, are impregnated with a black resin. They are then assembled on a dedicated machine, which stacks the layers, varying the orientation of the fibres by 45° between layers. The composite is then heated to 120°C at a pressure of 6 bars in a kiln similar to those used for the production of aeronautics parts, after which it is ready to be machined at Richard Mille.
The tripartite case is water-resistant to 50 metres, ensured by 2 Nitrile O-ring seals, and is assembled using 24 spline screws in grade 5 titanium and abrasion-resistant washers in 316L stainless steel.
The sapphire tripartite case of the RM 52-05 is milled and ground from blocks of solid sapphire by the prestigious and highly specialized experts Stettler in Lyss, Switzerland, who had the difficult task of creating these movement parts and the unique, wrist hugging, ergonomically curving tripartite Richard Mille case. These engineering and technical challenges are self evident when we examine the reality of creating something inimitable like the RM 52-05: 40 days, 24/7 of continuous machining are required in order to produce one case.
- Hand-polished anglage
- Microblasted milled sections
- Stretched or polished upper surfaces
- Microblasted surfaces
- Satin-finished surfaces
- Hand-polished anglage
- Long strokes
- Brushed strokes
- Long side strokes
- Polished edges
- Diamond chamfering
- Circular decorated faces
- Rhodium plating (before cutting the teeth) Minimal corrections applied to the wheels in order to preserve geometry and performance.
This device permits an appreciable winding gain (circa 20 %), especially at the start of winding. It also helps to distribute the internal tension of the mainspring effectively.
-Bezel side: in sapphire (hardness of 1800 Vickers) with anti-glare treatment (both sides).
Thickness: 1.50 mm
-Case back side: in sapphire (hardness of 1800 Vickers) with anti-glare treatment (both sides).
Thickness: 1.20 mm
Unaffected by physical manipulation during assembly and disassembly, these screws permit better control of the torque applied to them during assembly and age well.