Watchonista takes over the Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille 2024
Cars & motorsport

Wheels, Wonders, and Women: Watchonista Competes in the Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille 2024

When it comes to blending the worlds of high-speed adventure and luxury, few events rival the Rallye des Princesses organized every year by Peter Auto and sponsored by Richard Mille.

By Nicole Jarvis
Community Manager & Commercial
By Ash Longet
PR & Business Development

A five-day competition covering approximately 1,600 kilometers – from the historic Place Vendôme in Paris to Andorra in the Pyrenees – and reserved exclusively for women competitors, the Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille is an enchanting combination of a classic rally race and refined elegance.

That is why when Watchonista received an invitation to participate in the race, we were quick to sign up our Team Watchonista members Nicole Jarvis, whose passion and knowledge of cars began in her early childhood with driving lessons from her car-collector father, and Ash Longet, who is ever eager to push her own boundaries and explore the world, was equally excited.

Beyond the breathtaking scenery, they also experienced the thrill of wearing Richard Mille’s racing machines on their wrists. Moreover, Ash had the unforgettable experience of starting the rally with Amanda Mille (daughter of Richard Mille) as she wore her super rare RM 07-01 Racing Red ultralight Carbon TPT and Quartz TPT, uniting their passions for watches, cars, and (surprise) French chansons.

Here is the tale of their adventure.

Setting the Scene

Rising above the strong smell of petrol, there was a palpable sense of women’s empowerment and heartfelt camaraderie permeated the starting block as the field of 60 classic, not-so-easy-to-drive automobiles (all from the years 1946 to 1990) and 120 brave and determined female car collectors from 17 countries converged on Place Vendôme in Paris. However, as first-time rally racers we were nervous.

So, after going over our intense training session with Equipe Europe from the day before, we got better acquainted with our beautiful Porsche 356 C from 1965 (valued at over €100,000) and felt absolutely ready to tackle the Rallye alongside a remarkable group of women.

Things started with a complete round of details including giving us two roadbooks (each 200 pages) because we could not use Google Maps or Waze, as well as technical tests for the car making sure everything was safe for the first stop on our journey, Tours Grange de Meslay.

Things started with a complete round of details including giving us two roadbooks (each 200 pages) because we could not use Google Maps or Waze, as well as technical tests for the car making sure everything was safe for the first stop on our journey, Tours Grange de Meslay.

It was at this point, right before the rally began, when the Richard Mille team surprised Ash by offering her the position of Amanda Mille’s official co-pilot for a day, which Ash promptly accepted.

Amanda proved to be not only witty and enjoyable but also deeply insightful. And as their conversation eased the pressures of the day, they found themselves singing along to Amanda’s Spotify playlist, featuring French songs from the ‘80s and ‘90s – a perfect, uplifting end to an exhilarating day.

Country Roads

On the second day of the rally, Ash and Nicole reunited, and with an RM 037 Gold Carbon TPT on the wrist, they left the Loire Valley vineyards behind and headed toward the coastal beauty of St Martin de Ré.

A mesmerizing convoy comprised of a BMW 327 (1939), a Ford Thunderbird (1957), a Triumph TR3A (1962), and a Mercedes-Benz 230 SL (1965) entered the quaint island town, with its cobblestone streets and picturesque harbor, providing a stark contrast to the bustling cityscape of Paris. The first day ended with a sailor-strap dinner where the daily winners were announced.

To clarify any misconceptions, the Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille is far from a leisurely tour of France’s most luxurious spots. Each day involved driving at least nine hours to travel 300-400 kilometers, with only a 45-minute stop for lunch (albeit at exceptional chateaux and in the picturesque countryside) and two brief 15-minute coffee breaks.

On top of that, let us remind you that unlike traditional racing, where the fastest time wins, rallies like this one focus on adhering to a predetermined speed, testing drivers’ ability to control their vehicle and maintain consistency under varying conditions. So, you can imagine how stress levels could easily rise.

The following day, we departed the coast and journeyed to the heart of the Dordogne department, arriving first in Sarlat La Canéda, then moving onto the department of Aude and the fortified city of Carcassonne, the UNESCO World Heritage site. It was also in Carcassonne where we learned that, from September 22nd to September 27th, 2024, the Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille will be in the US.

Despite the exhaustion and intense concentration required after four days of driving, the route to Carcassonne through the rolling hills and vineyards was exhilarating and picturesque.

Now, are you ready for this piece of good news? That evening we learned that the Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille will be in the US from September 22 to 27, 2024.

The final and most challenging leg took us to Andorra. Unfortunately, we faced a breakdown of our remarkable Porsche 356. Yet, despite the frustration, it was during these tough times that we learned the enormous value of teamwork and resilience. Staying positive, communicating clearly, and supporting each other made the journey worthwhile.

Finally, when all was said and done, our team finished 37th out of 60, and we couldn’t have been prouder.

The Tic and the Tac

The true epitome and symbol of the Rallye des Princesses is the RM 037 collection. Despite its roots in Formula One-inspired technology, Richard Mille has deftly attuned itself to a feminine audience, crafting timepieces that embody a woman’s desire for power, fun, and fabulous exclusivity. Among the collection, the Gold Carbon TPT truly stands out.

This model, with its fusion of composite material and precious metal, creates a lightweight yet durable accessory while also having a striking hybrid aesthetic. The dark damascene patterns and the radiance of gold leaves create a captivating hybrid look, making it a standout piece in the collection.

Final thoughts

The week was full of emotions, and we are still processing them. But what stays undeniable is we got immersed in a moto sport adventure surrounded by like-minded women and inspired by the roar of the engines. Plus, we managed to seize the moment and savor the beauty of the journey while strengthening our bonds of friendship.

(Photography by Mathieu Bonnevie)

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