Pharrell Williams’ first show as Louis Vuitton’s new creative director has been the big story of Paris Fashion Week this year… And it’s also been one of the best watch-spotting events in recent memory.
When Louis Vuitton announced earlier this year that Pharrell – one of the most influential figures in modern music and a true multi-hyphenate who’s long been active in the fashion industry – would be their new men’s creative director, it was an absolute masterstroke. Sure, it set their share prices soaring, but it also felt very fitting.
LV had left the position vacant since the death of Virgil Abloh in 2021, and just as Abloh had a foot in both the music world and the fashion world, so does Pharrell (who was also a friend of Abloh’s). Pharrell is the perfect person to succeed Virgil, and his star power has already done much to elevate the brand.
Unsurprisingly, Pharrell’s fellow hip-hop stars and other big celebrity names came out in force for his first LV show, many of which wore some seriously impressive pieces of wrist candy as they sat in the front row.
Here are a few of our favourite watches from the star-studded event.
Jay-Z’s Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time
Jay-Z and Pharrell have been close musical collaborators for years, so we weren’t surprised to see him and his wife Beyoncé sitting in the front row for Pharrell’s first LV show. Hov even joined Pharrell for a musical performance at the end of the show, doing their song Frontin’ together as well as N*ggas In Paris. Classic.
As you might already know, Jay-Z is a known watch nut and has one of the most impressive and expensive watch collections out of any celebrity on the planet. However, he kept things lowkey (by his standards, at least) on the night with a Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time (ref. 5990/1R-001) worth a solid $400,000 AUD.
This rose gold take on the famous luxury sports watch combines three highly sought-after complications: a self-winding flyback chronograph, an easy-to-use Travel Time function (dual time-zone), and a date display, coupled with local time.
WATCH our guide to Jay-Z’s watch collection below.
Pharrell’s Richard Mille RM UP-01 Ferrari
Pharrell himself was wearing an incredibly cool watch for his big night: an example of the very rare and very impressive Richard Mille RM UP-01 Manual Winding Ultraflat Ferrari, the thinnest mechanical watch in the world.
Co-developed by Richard Mille, Audemars Piguet and Ferrari, the RM UP-01 is only 1.75mm thick, which is barely thicker than a credit card and very trippy to look at side-on. Something that’ll also get your head spinning is what it’s worth: over $3,000,000 AUD.
Pharrell, of course, has long been a Richard Mille brand ambassador and even boasts his own signature RM model, the astronaut-inspired RM 52-05 Manual Winding Tourbillon Pharrell Williams SAP.
Lewis Hamilton’s IWC Schaffhausen “Black Lives Matter” Watch
Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion and known Louis Vuitton aficionado Sir Lewis Hamilton was also in attendance, wearing head-to-toe LV like many of the show’s high-profile guests.
Well, not all LV. On his wrist was his piece unique IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar “Black Lives Matter”, a one-off take on the Swiss brand’s complex watch that they gifted him during the 2020 Formula 1 World Championship, where Lewis publically supported the Black Lives Matter movement on the grid and kickstarted a more socially conscious era for F1.
Crafted from IWC’s proprietary Ceratanium compound, this fully blacked-out piece was the first Big Pilot to ever have a Ceratanium case, as well as the first with a Ceratanium bracelet (or any bracelet for that matter). Exceptionally rare, it’s both a piece of watchmaking and F1 history.
Tyler, the Creator’s Cartier Pebble
Seated next to Lewis Hamilton in the front row of the LV show was acclaimed hip-hop artist Tyler, the Creator – another Pharrell collaborator and arguably Pharrell’s biggest fan. Like Pharrell, Tyler has also dabbled in fashion, through his Golf le Fleur clothing label and collabs with Vans and Converse.
Tyler’s also become something of a watch fancier, and he’s got a particular love for vintage Cartier. He’s been spotted at more than a few vintage watch auctions bidding on Cartier lots and we’ve seen him flex a Cartier Tank Obus Quadrant on the red carpet before.
This time, he wore a Cartier Pebble: an unusual and obscure Cartier with a spherical case and diamond-shaped face. First released in 1972 (although only six examples are known to have been produced), the Pebble was re-released in a limited edition of 150 last year. It’s not clear whether Tyler’s is one of the OGs or from the rerelease (it’s probably the latter), but in any case, it’s a watch that’s demonstrative of his impeccable taste.
Rihanna’s Jacob & Co. Choker
Last but not least, we have Rihanna’s watch – well, if you can even call it a watch, considering what she did with it. The pop superstar was the talk of the show after she wore a Jacob & Co. Brilliant Flying Tourbillon as a choker instead of on her wrist, which drove the paparazzi wild.
This hefty 47mm piece from hip-hop’s favourite jeweller-come-watchmaker is crafted from 18ct white gold and is fully set with over 28 carats of baguette-cut white diamonds, with a huge flying tourbillon set at 6 o’clock. It’s one hell of a thing to wear around one’s neck.
Worth over $1 million AUD, this watch is one hell of a style statement… Props to Rihanna for pulling it off. This isn’t the first out-there watch flex we’ve seen from a big-name female celeb lately: Eileen Gu also turned heads with an IWC pocket watch at the 2023 Met Gala.