When it comes to international adventure, there are three brands that stand out as clear leaders in their respective fields. Each combines traditions, technologies and cultures from around the globe and inspires luxury travel experiences – Richard Mille to visit their groundbreaking stores and the ambassadors who travel the world testing time-pieces, Relais & Châteaux to stay in their properties and Royal Huisman for yachts to sail the seven seas. These are innovative brands, loved by those that value quality, all of which pose fascinating histories, unique products and in various ways explore dynamic locations.
Since its inception at the turn of the Millennium, the first timepiece to bear the Richard Mille name perfectly represented deep respect for the culture, skills and traditions of fine watchmaking. However, the Richard Mille brand extends far beyond traditional watchmaking, embodying a philosophy that beautifully harmonises innovation and technology of the future with tradition and craftsmanship from the past. Travel has been a significant factor in achieving such a symphonic harmony of the two contrasting components.
Richard Mille’s aim “to create a new, ultra-high-end luxury segment within the high-end watch business” was realised through an original and pragmatic approach, very different to traditional marketing strategies. Decades of experience in the industry, sensitivity to ergonomics and a passion for racing cars culminated in the evolution of racing machines for the wrist.
Research and development are at the heart of what this brand does, ensuring each product works to meet new performance challenges. As function is the paramount focus the R&D team travel the world taking inspiration and learnings from leaders in technological advances such as the F1 and aerospace arenas –an innovative approach with outstanding results. These global influences make their way back to Les Breuleux in Switzerland where the manufacturing and production take place and is home to over 130 expertly skilled watchmakers. Close attention is paid to bespoke architecture, all crafted using hyper technology, carbon and quartz composite materials.
These watches literally travel the world as they are tried and tested by the brands’ partners in extreme conditions – from the high-pressure heat of Rafael Nadal in the grand-slam tennis championships to navigating the seven seas by Pierre Casiraghi, son of Princess Caroline of Monaco and Stefano Casiraghi, passionate sailor, and the first navigator partnering with the Richard Mille brand. As a sporting connoisseur Mille has chosen well.
Rafa Nadal refused to wear a watch until introduced to the brand in 2008. Together they built the lightest tourbillion in the world and Nadal has since repeatedly won major titles with a Mille on his right wrist, defying gravity and previous expectations. US golf ambassador Nelly Korda won the women’s Australian Open earlier in the year. Bubba Watson – who has one of the most powerful drives ever seen – has been with the brand since 2010, wearing the RM 038 Bubba Watson Tourbillon, the highly skeletonised RM 055 and, most recently, the RM 38-01 G-Sensor Tourbillon, which can measure his swings (up to 20 Gs of acceleration).
Nelly Korda, another winning brand partner, wore a Richard Mille timepiece when she participated in the Lacoste Ladies Open for this first time last year – and won! Racing driver Fernando Alonso wears the RM 67-02.
And it’s not just sports stars, the brand has recently launched a new watch with Pharrell Williams, the RM 52-02 Tourbillon Pharell Williams. Spot film stars including John Malkovich and Margot Robbie on the Hollywood red carpets with a Mille.
The brand hosts renowned worldwide events including the Chantilly Arts & Élégance, voiles de St. Barth and Les Mans Classic. When in NYC, be sure to visit the breathtaking RM two-story, 4,200-square-foot storefront at 46 East 57th Street.
Relais & Châteaux
Spanning 60 countries on five continents, the strong heritage of this brand extends throughout the world. The Relais & Châteaux Restaurants and Hotels are destinations in which the expression of culinary arts blends with the cultures and terroirs (earth or soils) of the world. Offering everything from safaris, to culinary courses, thermal spas, golf holidays, romantic honeymoons, family breaks, winter ports and wine tasting, loyalty to R&C will take you far and wide.
The exclusive chain has been operating resorts, boutique hotels, villas and top restaurants since the 1950s. With its headquarters in Paris, the team bring quintessential French sophistication, art de Vivre, chic taste and epicurean expertise to everything they do. And as the standards for entry to their listings are some of the strictest around, you’re guaranteed only the best and most interesting places to stay, including historic landmarks like castles and upmarket townhouses.
Gourmet food is at the heart of everything they do and thrilling, memorable meals is the chief goal. With a commitment to exposing guests to the finest produce and cooking, these properties are a dream for lovers of haute cuisine and many itineraries are hinged on the foodie experiences en route.
While many of the locations are historic, they make planning your next trip a thoroughly modern venture. Their own app enables travellers to search and book some of the most decadent spots on earth, at the touch of a button. Each property is a ‘Maison’, with a view to making visitors feel fully at home, cosseted and fully welcomed. It’s a personal vibe, with each Maître de Maison bringing his or her own personality to the ambience and treating guests as valued family. And it’s this added special ingredient that makes the brand’s ethos so very special and personable.
Whether you seek opulent adventure, bucket list exploration, or pampered relaxation, the international experts can tailor the perfect itinerary in the Americas, Oceania, Asia, Europe, the African and Indian ocean coasts, the Caribbean and Europe. The world is your oyster (and you’ll be sampling a few as you travel too).
This brand combines modern technology with traditional craftsmanship, seafaring style. Founded in 1884 Royal Huisman has evolved from a modest builder of wooden workboats, moving on to steel, then aluminum builds, to become multiple award-winning creators of some of the finest super-yachts in the world. So much so, it was awarded a Royal charter by Queen Beatrix in 1984.
If you’ve always dreamed of exploring the oceans, there’s no more opulent way to do it, than this. Unlike large scale cruise liners, these vessels offer a ‘spirit of individuality’. It’s bespoke, steeped in mariner heritage and sumptuous – an elusive combination.
Custom yachts – both grand scale cruisers and traditional style schooners – are created in their Netherlands based shipyard. Here they make and deliver the dreams of many. Travel broadens the mind and takes you to new places, but the navigating the sea provides vistas and adventures impossible from the land. And with your own luxury yacht, you can travel anywhere, whenever and for however long you wish, with all your own comforts. The team provide ongoing after service and advice, day and night, and refits can be carried out at the shipyards – always on time and within budget.
Expect the plushest of interiors with soft hides, deep pile carpets, exquisite furnishings, detailed upholstery and handcrafted veneers. Share your vision with Royal Huisman and they’ll share a stunning outcome, turning a voyage into the epitome of luxury.
There are land-based experiences to be hand with Royal Huisman too. As part of an annual calendar of high-end events, owners are invited to exclusive dinners and functions. Following the Royal Huisman, global yacht launches will take you to glittering international boat shows, including the recent Lotus world premiere at Monaco Yacht Show 2019. And you’ll get plenty of inspiration for your next commission. Attending the brand’s own Bucket Regattas from the water makes a great focal point when planning the latest cruising itinerary – and it’s especially exciting when a sister vessel wins.