The Cultural Significance of Pharrell's Iced Out BAPE G-Shock
Words by Phorin Collective
The way Pharrell was able to change how the Casio G-shock is portrayed and seen in history, as well as in culture, is something it seems like only Pharrell could do. As a man who takes just about everything he has put a hand in and pushes it to the next level, this piece is one of the prime examples of Pharrell demonstrating that practice. From the G-shock being a symbol of function over fashion, to Pharrell turning that idea on its head, Williams was able to create and procure the best of both worlds with this illustriously crafted piece. It only made sense that Pharrell would choose none other than the Casio collaboration with the only other man who embodies his same spirit, NIGO. The BAPE X Casio was a piece already coveted by the common culture and is symbolic of why Pharrell chose this piece to re-envision the image completely. Taking the redefined and fully reimagining that in itself is something it seems like Pharrell coined in his jewelry habits and could not be more apparent at that time and in this piece.
Having first debuted in 2009 on his Honeyee Blog, the watch was done as a unique one-off collaboration between Jacob The Jeweler and Pharrell Williams to create a play off of the original BAPE X CASIO G-SHOCK that was already making waves in the culture at the time. As Pharrell does, he held all small ambitions and fledged fully forward into making something never done before. Starting by partnering with his favorite jeweler whom he’s spoken about in over 68 of his songs, Jacob & Co would even go so far as to install a hidden portrait into the inside face of the watch that shows Pharrell's iconic cartoon character from the “In My Mind” Album cover in 14 karat gold and pristine diamonds. The significance of the majority of the diamonds being on the inside is a testimony to Pharrell’s taste, the belief to not be flashy just for flash but to give his pieces the care and taste a true craftsman would. It's also believed that the reason these pieces are such a part of history themselves is that they weren't made as just a flashy talking point but rather pieces of art displaying a time and moment in culture. There are not many grails that better define this time in Pharrell’s career than this beautiful mix of current digital trends and refined luxury , a mixture that helps make this grail a carefully crafted one-of-a-kind piece.
Now, thirteen years after being created, this piece of history is coming to the market as a true grail in its own story of culture and success. The mix of utilitarianism with Pharrell’s elegant design and taste is something that will more than certainly live on in this piece even far after Pharrell himself has chosen to step out of the limelight.