If you were one of the most conspicuous fashion designers in the world—not to mention also one of the most conspicuous musicians in the world—which watch would you wear to your latest menswear show in Paris?
For Louis Vuitton Men’s creative director Pharrell, the answer was the RM UP-01—a.k.a. the world’s thinnest mechanical watch. At Vuitton’s Western-themed Fall 2024 show on Tuesday, he paired the watch with a full-on Tombstone look: white cowboy hat, a yeehaw-ish LV belt, a white T-shirt, and rose-colored glasses. No stranger to Richard Mille, whom he first mentioned in a song back in 2006, Pharrell has been spotted over the years with numerous RMs—including this killer, Mars-themed collaboration limited to 30 pieces. (And, to be fair, he’s worn this particular watch before.)
Why is the RM UP-01 so special? As we mentioned, it’s the world’s thinnest mechanical watch, having kicked Bvlgari and its Octo Finissimo Ultra off the pedestal just a few months after that model’s release. (The Ultra, an incredible feat of engineering, measures 1.8mm, whereas the RM UP-01 is just 1.75mm thick.) The neck-and-neck race to develop such a timepiece is nothing new—indeed, one could argue that it’s been in full swing for 70 years, with movements such as Vacheron Constantin’s 1.64mm calibre 1003 dating to the 1950s. And much of Piaget’s focus is on ultrathin watchmaking, with its Altiplano Ultimate Concept measuring 2mm thick.
But the RM UP-01 is highly unconventional; if the Octo Finissimo Ultra at least looks like a wristwatch (albeit a strange one), the RM UP-01 could easily be mistaken for something else entirely. (Perhaps some sort of Star Trek-kian communication device? A prop devised for a Netflix series from the year 2100?) Then again, its movement has more in common with that of your everyday, run-of-the-mill ticker than it does with that of the Ultra: On the latter watch, the movement uses the back of the watch case as a baseplate, whereas the RM UP-01 features a separate movement within a separate case. Both said caliber and the case are fashioned from Grade 5 titanium for stability and corrosion resistance—musts for a timepiece as thin as a U.S. quarter and water-resistant to only 10 meters.
Looking at the front of the watch, you’ll notice a (rather small) dial; a function selector; a winding key socket; and the movement’s visible balance. Function and winding require special tools—there’s no conventional crown to spin like on most hand-wound watches. Despite its low water resistance and incredible thinness, the RM UP-01 is designed in concert with Ferrari, which means that it can withstand a 5,000G shock. (If Pharrell slaps you while wearing it, have no fear—the watch will be just fine.)
An insane feat of micromechanics, horology, and industrial design, the $1,888,000 RM UP-01, limited to just 150 pieces, couldn’t possibly feel more appropriate than on the wrist of the world’s greatest multi-hyphenate. A longtime Richard Mille proponent, it’s not an entirely surprising choice—but one of which we heartily approve.
Kendall Jenner’s Cartier Baignoire
Cartier first launched a watch with an ovular case back in 1958, though it wasn’t until 1973 that it received the name Baignoire—French for “bathtub.” Over the past 50 years, the Baignoire has become “It girl” fare of the highest order, adorning the wrists of everyone from Catherine Deneuve to Kendall Jenner, who wore one on a matching gold bracelet at a Lakers game this week. These days, it’s impossible to make one’s way through the watch world without hearing in-the-know stylists and editors wax poetic about them. (If you follow Cartier lore, you’ll note that it was a Baignoire that supposedly melted in a fiery car crash in 1967 and inspired the famed Crash model—a story which the maison has neither confirmed nor denied.)
Anthony Anderson’s Roger Dubuis Excalibur Monobalancier EON Gold
Looking dapper in a white dinner jacket, Anthony Anderson strapped on an eye-catching Roger Dubuis to host the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards this week. Measuring 42mm and featuring the skeletonized caliber RD720SQ, the Excalibur Monobalancier EON Gold is an impressive feat of watchmaking: Its movement was awarded the prestigious Poinçon de Genève, which assures that it was finished by hand and held to Geneva’s highest horological standards. Available in several iterations, Anderson’s piece features a bezel set with round diamonds and is paired to a purple calf leather strap. While not a watch that a traditionalist would expect to see paired with formalwear, the comedian pulled it off with ease.
Will Ferrell’s Timex x Abu Garcia Camper
This man was never gonna play into our hands with his choice of red carpet wristwear. Indeed, though the comedy icon owns a bunch of more conventional “watch guy” fare, he decided—in typical Ferrell fashion—to strap on a quartz-powered, ~$100 Timex Camper watch made in concert with a Swedish-founded fishing company, Abu Garcia. Limited to the Japanese market, this 36mm, blacked-out watch features a dark dial and a matching fabric strap—which, all things considered, worked like a charm with his blue velvet tux.
Mark Ronson’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 1017 ALYX 9SM
, Superproducer Mark Ronson is an Audemars Piguet brand ambassador who serves as a face for the maison’s APXMusic program. This week, he was spotted at the Critics’ Choice Awards dressed to the nines in a dapper three-piece suit with none other than the Royal Oak 1017 ALYX 9SM on his wrist. Part of a series of Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore models made in concert with Alyx founder Matthew M. Williams, Ronson’s watch is a solid-gold, 37mm, time-only version of the watch with a matching bracelet and minimal branding on the dial. Also available as a chronograph, the collection comes in various sizes, metals, and prices—though you may need to flip a Timex or two to cop the look, as the least expensive model starts at $73,500.