For 2015, on the Caribbean Island of St. Barthélemy, the colorful blue and orange accented on white strap Richard Mille RM 60-01 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Regatta “Les Voiles de St. Barth” limited edition watch becomes the latest equatorial treat from Switzerland’s highest-end modern sport watch. I travel to the exclusive island getaway in what is sometimes still called the “West Indies” to experience the “Les Voiles de St. Barth” regatta race, now in its sixth year, with title sponsor Richard Mille. It proves a good opportunity to check out their new and not wildly-priced (for the brand) cheery-styled yachting watch.


Mr. Richard Mille with Richard Mille RM 60-01 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Regatta Les Voiles de St. Barth watch and other models in St. Barthelemy for “Les Voiles de St. Barth” yachting race.


It’s a warm, tropical afternoon in mid April as our chartered plane makes the rapid descent to the small airport on St. Barths, located in the Island’s “major” city of Gustavia. From above, I can see the sailing boats competing right off the coast during what was the second day of the 6th annual Les Voiles de St. Barth – a high-end boat racing event inspired by France’s Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. St. Barths is technically part of France, and the French-speaking Island’s small streets and charming cafes easily remind you of views in the south of France, only with a more “islandy” vibe well-suited for the Caribbean getaway. One of Richard Mille’s few Caribbean dealers is located on the island.

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Richard Mille RM 60-01 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Regatta Les Voiles de St. Barth watch


The cargo capacity of the airplane we flew in on during the 15 minute flight from the neighboring island of St. Maarten was so small that my luggage arrived on the next flight without even as much as a courtesy notice from the airline. Assured by one of the carefree staff in the baggage claim area that my luggage would probably come on the next flight, I had no choice but to relax in the air conditioned waiting room for what was thankfully only about 30 minutes. During this time, I had ample time to inspect the less-then-surprisingly wealth of watch advertising, including one for Richard Mille pitching the finely made sport watches as “high performance machines for your wrist.” Just over a small range of hills past the airport into the ocean, the regatta continued in full swing as sailors from around the world fought the wind and the waves.


Like a number of tropical getaways in the Caribbean and around the world, luxury brands like Richard Mille have found a unique atmosphere where the world’s elite wealth comes on vacation – and looking to shop. Richard Mille, especially, has fared well over the last several years with its $100,000 to $1,000,000 (and over) timepieces which emphasize technical superiority and bold designs over all else. It is anything but a conservative brand, and its collectors know the company for their prices as much as their products. Nevertheless, as Richard Mille delves deeper and deeper in to ultra luxury watch territory, their following seems to expand. Each year, at least a few new Richard Mille timepieces come with price tags of $500,000 to over $1,000,000, and the brand continues to grow. Is it all hype, or are the the world’s most privileged watch buyers not only getting their money’s worth but a brand that really speaks to them?


In a recent article, I discussed the value proposition of a Richard Mille watch in more depth, here, when speaking about the Richard Mille RM 025 Tourbillon Chronograph Diver. The RM 025 and this Richard Mille RM 60-01 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Regatta have an extremely similar case, even though the price is very different. In fact, at just over $150,000, this limited edition Richard Mille RM60-10 Automatic Chronograph Regatta for Le Voiles de St. Barth is literally hundreds of thousands of dollars less than the more pricey tourbillon-based watch above. Anyhow, I recommend the above article to consider some of the more intricate details in Richard Mille watches and how, in many instances, it takes a hefty premium to pay for this level of refinement and manufacturing precision. While Richard Mille may represent an aesthetic not all collectors love, they are at the top of their game when it comes to producing bold, modern sport watches.

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I might never be a Richard Mille customer, given their retail prices, but I am a fan. I will also say that in most instances, Richard Mille watches are much better looking in person than in pictures. An excellent example is this Richard Mille RM 60-01 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Regatta Les Voiles de St. Barth watch which doesn’t look especially handsome in marketing images with its white strap and blue and orange accents. On the wrist, however, in this stunning tropical vacation island setting, the colors and design work together fluidly for a timepiece presentation that feels extremely appropriate for the surroundings. It’s just not something that translates well in doctored marketing photographs or computer graphics. The same is true with many of Richard Mille’s other more colorful timepiece offerings. In addition to the limited edition Les Voiles de St. Barth watch there is another version of the RM 60-01 here with green and red accents on a yellow strap so that you can compare how it looks to the newest limited edition model.


While the colors of the Richard Mille RM 60-01 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Regatta Les Voiles de St. Barth limited edition are playful and almost toy-like in their appearance, a simple glance at the watch is enough to allow you to appreciate that this is a serious wrist machine. The Richard Mille RM60-01 case is quite massive, measuring 50mm wide, with a steep thickness to match. With that said, the finely machined titanium case is impossibly comfortably on the wrist. I find that this is true of many Richard Mille timepieces – ergonomics are part of the value proposition, and you’ll never wear a watch so large that you’ll forget is there.


Richard Mille himself takes a more lackadaisical approach to discussing his watches and the regatta here in St. Barths, even though at heart, he is seriously emotionally invested in his products. The always relaxed racing enthusiast admits he is personally more interested in motorsports than boat racing, but the participation with Les Voiles de St. Barth has been a great success to him – especially because the Americas have proved one of Richard Mille’s most important markets, being run out of Los Angeles by John Simonian, who is Mille’s longtime friend and trusted distributor.


The Richard Mille RM 60-01 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Regatta Les Voiles de St. Barth Limited Edition watch will only be available for sale in the Americas, which includes North America, South America, and the Caribbean. Unlike some of the more niche-appeal regatta watches out there the Richard Mille RM 60-01 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Regatta is a relatively straight-forward timepiece with versatile use. Rather than a dedicated countdown timer style chronograph popular among some regatta watches, the Richard Mille RM 60-01 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Regatta has a traditional chronograph, but one that happens to measure up to 24 hours. Actually, that is not entirely correct, because while the chronograph is operating, there is a way to use it as a countdown timer as well. This is via a clever design of the right subdial which operates at the chronograph minutes tracker. Rather than a hand it uses a disc. Read the outside of the chrono minutes subdial and you read minutes counting up until 60. Read the inside disc and you’ll read the minutes counting down.


Other features in the automatic movement are GMT hand (with a dedicated pusher on the case to adjust the second time zone), a big date indicator, and a month indicator (it is an annual calendar). The case has a bi-directional rotating bezel used for navigation purposes, given the various compass and other markings on it, and the case also has a special crown locking ring rather than a screw-down ring.


Speaking of the rotating bezel – operating the bezel on the Richard Mille RM 60-01 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Regatta is a pleasure, as it turns and clicks with wonderful tactile feedback and sound. A close look at the bezel as well as other parts of the case and dial reveals how nicely printed the markers are in their bright colors.


Through the rear of the Richard Mille RM 60-01 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Regatta case is a view of the modern-looking automatic mechanical movement with its black-colored plates and distinct “spline screws” that Richard Mille is known for. Over the sapphire crystal window is a Les Voiles de St. Barth logo referring to the limited edition timepiece’s connection to the event.


Back to the dial, you, of course, have a skeletonized view of the movement, but legibility is assured thanks to proper texturing and application of crisp detailing (as well as, in this case, bright colors). This isn’t the first Richard Mille watch with colors to taunt away toddlers playing with Fisher Price toys, but in my opinion, the “extreme” color palette only adds to the niche appeal of limited edition models such as this.

You can’t blame the Richard Mille RM 60-01 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Regatta Les Voiles de St. Barth for not matching a suit. To sport this mega sports watch correctly, you’ll need to be perfectly comfortable in shorts. Attached to the case is a white high-quality rubber strap with titanium buckle. If this element proves too “bright” for daily wear, Richard Mille often sells alternative straps in a range of colors to fit the RM 60-01 case style.


While I have plenty of expenses that are of paramount importance before saving up for a Richard Mille, I am never shy to admit I am keen on the brand. It isn’t that I want to rock a Richard Mille to inform people I can afford one – not at all. It is rather than I really appreciate the approach Richard Mille takes to producing modern, mechanical sport watches, and they appeal to the watch lover in me. Unfortunately, it turns out that I have expensive tastes.


The competition and celebration around the 2015 Les Voiles de St. Barth are probably enough to inspire a few dozen watch lovers to seek out the unique look and fun appeal of the Richard Mille RM 60-01 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Regatta made for this event that will be produced as a limited edition of 100 pieces. It is really an ultimate lifestyle watch, because it is the type of luxury product that isn’t about gold or diamonds, but the mere celebration of a time, a place, a look, and an activity for those people who can participate in it. Price for the Richard Mille RM 60-01 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Regatta Les Voiles de St. Barth Limited Edition watch is $160,000.

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