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Richard Mille - ICE

Richard Mille ICE

At the end of February, Richard Mille cemented its position in the world of motorsport – in particular classic cars – with a new sponsorship of the ICE St Moritz

The glamorous international concourse of elegance is famously staged on the frozen Lake St Moritz, making for a dramatic showcase of 48 vintage cars set against a glistening, pristine white backdrop, the Piz Nair massif pitched high in the distance. (And fact: the ice is roughly 45cm thick, and like the cars, is put through its paces as soon as thickness reaches 27cm. Crash tests with 7,700kg weights are carried out and special 3,500kg snow-track vehicles fitted with safety floats drive across the surface). 

In 2023, the ICE St Moritz really felt like it hit its stride. After a test edition in 2019 and stalling for two years during Covid, ICE only had its first fully-fledged event last year. It seemed the right time for Richard Mille to come on board as lead sponsor in a multiyear, headline sponsorship. The event attracts motorsport’s great and good, from big collectors to the beau monde and their crème-de-la-crème classic cars, of course. Cue the ICE’s futuristic-looking Best in Show winner, a copper coloured 1970s Lancia Stratos Zero HF; or the Mercedes C111 prototype, just one of two models in existence and which is usually tucked away in the Mercedes-Benz Museum (and among a handful of the money-can’t-buy cars at the event). Over two days, the cars race on a special lake circuit – notably in the mornings when there’s less chance getting stuck in slush – where they’re assessed and judged. 


The I.C.E St. Moritz © theicestmoritz.ch

Meanwhile, Richard Mille had its own tent at the event, pitted between two car world heavyweights – leading car auctioneers RM Sotheby’s and Ferrari Classiche. The former displayed a gorgeous 1963 Porsche 356 B Carrera, with Ferrari fans admiring two cars – a 1969 Ferrari Daytona 365 GTB and a c1990 308 GTB, both which clients can take onto its Corso Pilota ice driving course. At the RM tent, to the chagrin of passerby and rubberneckers, no watches were on display, but which is perhaps understandable with only 5,300 watches produced annually and waitlists galore.

And while petrol heads will undoubtedly be in there element here, the ICE St Moritz’s will also appeal to design aficionados. Its co-founder Ronnie Kessel told World Tempus, quoting a car designer who had attended the inaugural edition in 2019: “The ice emphasises the line of the cars. When you see the white surface, you actually see the car as the designer imagined them - when they were created 30, 40 years ago and now here sliding through the corners. It’s exactly as they were pictured when they were created. There’s no other place where you can see cars on a white surface.“ 


The I.C.E St. Moritz © theicestmoritz.ch

Mechanical-heavy, design-led and wall-to-wall glitz: the ICE was the perfect event for which to entertain Richard Mille’s top clients, some of whom in January had already been given an ice-driving warm up, courtesy of a bespoke McLaren event that the watchmaker had hosted in Lapland. It’s just one of many motorsport partnerships and unique experiences from the “A Racing Machine on the Wrist” watchmaker, whose automotive ties range from Ferrari to Le Mans Classic. 

At the event’s conclusion, Peter Harrison, Richard Mille’s CEO of EMEA, said: “This year’s event was nothing short of remarkable. We witnessed some of the best classic cars in the world in action, ice driving on the frozen lake against the breath-taking backdrop of St Moritz. With automotive being embedded within our brand's DNA, we are extremely proud to partner with such a prestigious event like The ICE. Additionally, their quest for excellence and passion for bringing something new and innovative to their world is synonymous with ours.” 

An extraordinary partnership that should only go from strength to strength in coming years.


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