Precision in Performance: The Artful Collaboration of Musicians and Luxury Timepieces

Let's get in tune with time.
Pharell Williams for Richard Mille, wearing the RM 52-05

Luxury watchmaking brands and musicians often go hand in hand. It’s one of their many ways to show off their success, and they don’t just show it off on their wrists—it’s in the lyrics too. “Rollie that’s got ice and the bando right”, and “Audemars-filled with ‘guetties” from Future and Lil Uzi Vert’s “Patek” and the entirety of Jay-Z and Beyonce’s Everything is Love album are just some examples, to name a few. 

However, owning an iced-out piece, wearing custom Jacob & Co. pieces at the Super Bowl a la Rihanna, or even being a brand ambassador for one of the big watch brands is one thing. An actual collaboration to design a watch, on the other hand, is where it’s at. Luxury watch brands of late have been aiming to leverage the cultural influence of hip-hop. That said, only a few musicians have this privilege. Pharrell Williams is one of them, with his Richard Mille collaboration back in 2019. Their timepiece of choice? The RM 52-05, a manual-winding tourbillon watch. Jay-Z is also on that list alongside Audemars Piguet, the latter crafting a distinguished line of timepieces to honour the rapper’s 10-year tenure in the music industry. 

In 2021, Hublot unveiled a special edition of its iconic Big Bang timepiece—encased in mesmerising iridescent titanium—in collaboration with renowned French music producer DJ Snake. Notably, however, this wasn’t the first time Hublot and DJ Snake joined forces. Three years prior, the DJ took command of the decks at the FIFA World Cup closing party in Russia. 

But not to fret—some collaborations are affordable to the masses. Acclaimed singer-songwriter John Mayer, who is also an avid watch enthusiast and collector, partnered with G-Shock to help design the limited edition G-SHOCK Ref. 6900-PT1 By John Mayer. It was inspired by the classic 1980s Casio keyboards. He recruited Ed Sheeran, who is also a watch collector, to design the G-SHOCK Ref. 6900 – Subtract by Ed Sheeran, inspired by the album artwork for Sheeran’s latest album of the same name.

More recently, Audemars Piguet collaborated with musician Mark Ronson for an exclusive concert at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Titled “Mark Ronson and his Favourite Band Ever” the event, documented in the film “Syncing Sounds – Live” celebrates Ronson’s musical family. As the brand’s ambassador, Ronson continues to elevate talent, embodying the brand’s commitment to nurturing emerging musicians through the APXMUSIC program.

(Left) On stage of the Memphis at the 57th r feat. Dave Guy, Homer Steinweiss, Nick Movshon, Ian Hendrickson-Smith and more with special guests Yebba & Lucky Daye, Montreux Jazz Festival, 15th July 2023, (c) Emilien Itim; (Right) Mark Ronson in the studio (Images: Courtesy of Audemars Piguet)

Besides that, French musical artist Woodkid and Vacheron Constantin also worked together to create an exclusive musical piece inspired by the rhythmic heartbeat of Vacheron Constantin watches and the mathematical precision of Euclidean rhythms. This contemporary composition was born from their ongoing collaboration since the “One of Not Many Mentorship Program”, merging the realms of music and High Watchmaking. Now, what we’re really hoping to see, is for more female musician collaborations to happen in the future.

This article was first published in the Dec ’23/Jan ’24 issue of Grazia Malaysia.