A Serendipitous Journey With Richard Mille: The Rallye Des Légendes In Andalusia
A rendezvous reserved exclusively for a few privileged collectors, the highly prestigious Richard Mille Rallye is a classic car event designed less for speed than for cruising.
They have "a race machine on the wrist," to borrow the brand's well-known slogan, but also a few of the world's most rare and desirable motor cars in the garage. So once a year, Richard Mille offers these collectors an unforgettable experience: a three-day jaunt to escape the inexorable passing of time in their classic road racers along some of Europe's most scenic routes.
The stopovers, which include intimate receptions on private estates and visits to the most important monuments, are turned into great epicurean adventures courtesy of top chefs. To take part in the event is to become immersed in a whole new world reserved exclusively for a small group of cherry-picked individuals.
To call them "clients" would be to ignore Richard Mille’s original philosophy, to create the atmosphere of an informal private members' club of hedonists and those appreciative of all the best things in life. It's not a question of money, whatever the value assigned to their highly coveted playthings. The main point here is for them to savor the true value of things, but also to enjoy the precious moments of freedom wrested from their busy work schedules and chief responsibilities.
They put little stock in appearances. The proof here, for the most part, is their absence from social networks. To them, a phone is just a work tool, not a way to display their vanity. And they certainly do not consider it a pocket watch. To find out the time, they prefer to cast a casual glance at their, elegantly adorned, wrists.
Andalusia Provides The Playground
Those very same wrists are likewise well-adorned for Richard Mille's exclusive invitation to southern Spain. As Richard Mille explains, "The Rallye des Légendes was devised for the lucky owners of vehicles so rare and unique that there's no longer any hope of seeing them out on the open road, let alone the race circuit.”
Richard Mille is also very vocal about the flawless organization of the rally's second edition orchestrated by his friend, Patrick Peter, and the teams at Peter Auto, “It's an extraordinary few days. A sociable occasion for sharing a mutual passion: our combined love of these extraordinary machines."
Following its inaugural edition in Provence last year, the second episode now sets its sights on southern Spain. A land of contrasts, Andalusia has built its way of life on a rich history, an ancient cultural heritage, and vibrant traditions. The impressive tour by night of the Alhambra of Grenada, away from the prying eyes of tourists, was one of the rarest and most magical highpoints. Participants will also, for example, have the chance to learn all about the art and science of bull-breeding, while enjoying the use of their rare treasures.
The Rarest of The Rare
Rare cars? You can bet they are! And upon closer examination, we quickly discover why.
The Bugatti Type 57 C Cabriolet, complete with Gangloff chassis, is one of the finest examples of this model. Most of the cars involved, like the Aston Martin DB3S, can even lay claim to a sporting pedigree. The extraordinary 1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 Spider, with its stunning red livery, is one of the only three, ever made, sporting the special Bertone bodywork.
Among the Ferraris present, purists will note a 275 GTC. Like the DB2/4 Spider, only three cars out of the 442 ever produced by Ferrari carry this sports version stamp. This 275 GTC is one of those three.
Another of the Ferraris is a 365 GTB/4 Daytona Competizione. A model often seen on the Le Mans or Kyalami circuits with Anthony Bamford at the wheel.
But wait! That white Porsche you see is not just a plain old 911. It's no less than a 1968 911 R, probably the rarest in the range! This classic example was seen back in the day at the Nürburgring Classic and the Portuguese races.
And in the case of the 1966 FordGT40, yes, it is the very one driven by the likes of Chris Amon, Innes Ireland, Jochen Rindt, and Richard Attwood.
Even the support team makes a stylish entrance piloting a McLaren squadron. Specially dispatched from the factory, it serves to underline the faithful partnership between the motorcar manufacturer and watchmaking maison.
Much to the enjoyment of the participants, the stopovers had a culinary twist. The impressive spectacle of the giant paella cooked in a traditional hammered copper pan outside on the main square of the Alcazaba fortress, a symbol of the mighty Nasrid dynasty and last bastion of the 15th-century Moorish empire, is a memory that will remain forever etched in our minds.
As will indeed the exquisite tasting of Conde de Mirasol olive oil, considered the best in the world, under the guidance of Maria José San Roman and team at the Michelin-starred Monastrell restaurant.
But perhaps the highpoint for many will be the last night's dinner, amid the color and vibrancy of the classical guitar and the physical prowess of the Flamenco dancers. A generous and joyful way of life, far removed from the time-worn clichés of postcard Spain.
Before parting company, the participants in the Rallye des Légendes pledged to meet up again in Fall 2020. Patrick Peter, eager to alternate between France and abroad for the upcoming editions of the event, is already considering crossing the Pyrenees once again to take them along the enchanting country lanes of the Basque country and indulge them once more in their passion of a world out of time. Such is the subtle paradox of the event shrouded in almost total secrecy: dreamt up by a watchmaker, but dedicated to the pleasure of taking one's time.
(Images provided by Richard Mille © Mathieu Bonnevie)