By Sharon Robb
ASPEN, Colo., December 10, 2018--Luxury Swiss watch brand Richard Mille will make its debut as the official timekeeper for the St. Regis World Snow Polo Championship
The much-anticipated snow polo tournament featuring Argentine 10-goalers Pablo MacDonough and Gonzalito Pieres and 8-goalers Alejandro Novillo Astrada and Nic Roldan is set for Dec. 17-22 at Aspen Valley Polo Club and Rio Grande Park.
Richard Mille is also sponsoring one of the six teams in the field and will be introduced on Monday, Dec. 17 during the team presentation, draw and cocktail party at the St. Regis Aspen Hotel, that features a Richard Mille Boutique.
The Richard Mille Polo Team will feature its Brand Ambassador Pablo MacDonough, making his Aspen snow polo debut. His teammates are Aspen Valley Polo Club co-founder and tournament co-host Marc Ganzi and Martin Pepa. Richard Mille is also title sponsor of the celebrity polo team of Alexa Dell, Sterling Jones and MacDonough for the Celebrity Polo Chukker.
It is Richard Mille's latest foray into the polo world. The brand has worked with MacDonough since 2011 and created the RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo MacDonough for its Brand Ambassador.
The RM 053 Tourbillon, created in collaboration with MacDonough, features a highly skeletonized plate, meaning that the ultra-light movement is less exposed to the centrifugal and centripetal forces generated during matches. The watch was specially designed in order to protect the tourbillon movement from mallet blows. The 'armour-plated' case in titanium carbide is double-embossed, and the two windows at its base, angled at 30 degrees, ensure maximum readability.
“I am so used to wearing my RM 053, it now feels like part of my arm," MacDonough said. "It is light and comfortable, and it feels strange not to wear it. It would be like playing without a helmet or a mallet. It’s rare to see a watch on the polo field as this is an extreme sport. Other players don’t wear them as they are too delicate. Normally, I am the only guy with a watch during a match.”
Richard Mille was first the Official Timekeeper of Polo Cup Saint-Tropez in 2013. It had an official presence at the club's major tournaments which included The International Polo Club Saint-Tropez and The Open de Saint Tropez. Finalists competed in the Richard Mille Cup and Polo Gold Cup.
In 2015, the Swiss watchmaker also joined forces with the Chantilly Polo Club which Richard Mille is still affiliated with.
Richard Mille founded his company in 1999. From the outset, the brand applied a three-part philosophy: the sharpest cutting-edge technology, three-dimensional constructions shot through with pure mechanics, and hand-finishing. This strategy has never wavered, and the Richard Mille name has imposed itself with instantly recognizable timepieces.
In front of an expected sellout crowd and worldwide ChukkerTV audience, five days of events will be held during the final stop on the 2018 World Polo Tour.
Polo action takes place Tuesday through Thursday at Aspen Valley Polo Club and Rio Grande Park. Two preliminary qualifying round robin games will be held Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Aspen Valley Polo Club in Carbondale.
Action moves to Rio Grande Park in Aspen on Wednesday for Media Day and game for fifth and sixth place at 1:15 p.m. followed by a Celebrity Polo Chukker at 2:30 p.m. The final and subsidiary games are Thursday at 1 and 3 p.m. followed by a VIP tent party. Each night a dinner for players and sponsors will be held. Activities conclude Saturday with the inaugural Snow Ball.
For the sixth consecutive year, Aspen Valley Polo Club owners Melissa and Marc Ganzi, named to The Salonniere 100 annual list of the nation's best party hosts in Aspen for 2017 and 2018, will host the star-studded event along with polo ambassador and St. Regis Connoisseur Nacho Figueras and his wife Delfina.
The snow polo tournament is a major sports attraction for the local community and fans from all over the world. The breathtaking scenery, venue and great polo action is a major allure for the Aspen community and surrounding areas.
Rio Grande Park is Aspen's largest multi-functional park within the city's limits and just minutes away from the St. Regis Aspen Resort.
The sport was first played on a frozen lake in St. Moritz, Switzerland, created by Swiss hotelier and polo visionary Reto Gaudenzi in 1985 and has been growing in popularity ever since, attracting thousands of spectators and top players from around the world. In addition to St. Moritz, it's played in winter sports communities Aspen, Cortina, Italy, Kitzbuhel, Austria, Courchevel, France and Tianjin, China. In the U.S., snow polo is held exclusively in Aspen.
With the breathtaking 12,965-foot summit of Mount Sopris as a backdrop, Aspen Valley Polo Club is one of the busiest and fastest growing USPA-sanctioned clubs in the nation with a membership increase of 75 percent over five seasons.
Since Marc and Melissa Ganzi founded the club in 2014, polo has increased in popularity in Aspen and surrounding cities with the club’s offerings of various weekly grass and arena tournaments, Gladiator Tuesdays and Asado, Kids Polo, The Polo School and Polo On Demand.