Chopard’s Mille Miglia collection welcomes a new design with the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph model. It adopts a 40.5 mm case made from Chopard’s exclusive Lucent Steel™; an ultra-legible dial in a selection of colours inspired by automotive bodywork and a superb ‘glass box’ crystal for a magnificently retro look. Competitive spirit and sense of camaraderie; energy and dynamism; speed and style: such are the attributes epitomising Italy’s celebrated 1000 Miglia Italian classic car race that Chopard has been annually expressing for the past 35 years through the watches of the Mille Miglia collection. The new 2023 model is no exception to this philosophy.
Watches and cars: marvels of engineering
Like a timepiece, a vehicle is a marvel of engineering, as all devotees of watchmaking and automobiles know – and Chopard even more so, since the Maison has been inextricably linked with the automobile world since it became world sponsor and official timekeeper of Italy’s celebrated 1000 Miglia way back in 1988.
Reflecting his family’s passion for competition, the Maison’s Co-President Karl-Friedrich Scheufele has personally taken part in the race every year since, covering more than 30,000 competition miles since 1989.
The partnership – the longest in history between a watchmaker and a motorsports event – has now seen the creation of 35 watches in the Mille Miglia collection, all capturing the essence and spirit of what Enzo Ferrari called ‘the most beautiful race in the world’.
Renewing the automobile passion, the competitive spirit and the emotions of the 1000 Miglia with each new edition, the Maison’s designers have constantly pushed the limits of their creativity. With the new Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph models, they now draw inspiration from the incomparable style of classic cars and the multiple details of their finishes.
Dynamic, luminous and comfortable
One especially significant change from previous editions can be seen in the construction of the case: smaller and thus more aligned with the aesthetic of the historical cars competing in the 1000 Miglia. With its 40.5 mm diameter, the watch is also less intrusive when driving, while looking just as good with evening wear as it does with a race suit.
Made from Lucent Steel™, this all-new ‘bodywork’ features all the characteristics associated with Chopard’s exclusive alloy that took a full four years to develop. Named after its luminous, gently reflective appearance that gives it an almost incandescent shimmer, Lucent Steel™ is not only of surgical quality but is 50 per cent harder than conventional steel – making it more than capable of handling the knocks, bumps and scrapes of competitive driving. Lucent Steel™ is also REACH-certified as being responsibly produced with 80% recycled content and naturally anti-allergenic, ensuring it is highly dermo-compatible and pleasant to wear.
The bezels, crowns and pushers of the three Lucent Steel™ models are in this same material, while those of the bi-material model are made from ethical 18-carat yellow gold. Moreover, the pushers are knurled to create a motif recalling brake pedals, while the crown features more notches to enhance the grip. On either end of the case, the lugs are welded – a token of fine craftsmanship sure to be appreciated by devotees of meticulous watchmaking. Finally, the pin buckle has been redesigned compared with previous models, picking up the play on polished/satin-brushed finishes featured on the case.
Dials in race car colours
Preserving strong cues from the automotive world, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele has personally selected four colours inspired by race cars. These are sure to appeal to classic car enthusiasts of all ages – not least the new generation of younger drivers making its presence more strongly felt on the circuit.
The Lucent Steel™ models feature dials named Verde Chiaro (light green) and Rosso Amarena (cherry red), each with a circular satin-brushed finish, or in Nero Corsa (racing black) with an engine-turned finish. Meanwhile, the bi-material version in Lucent Steel™ and ethical gold has a dial in circular satin-brushed Grigio-Blu (grey blue).
These colours evoke the paintwork and interiors of classic cars, while the satin-brushing and engine-turning refer to the distinctive backgrounds of dashboard instruments and the texture of upholstery.
All the dials feature prominent white minutes tracks and tachymeter scales – both essential for making speed and distance calculations – while dial markings and hour and minute hands are coated with white Grade XI Super-Luminova® to ensure the high degree of legibility required when navigating after dark.
The central sweep-seconds hand is red-tipped both for practical and aesthetic purposes – as well as to complement the famous red ‘1000 Miglia’ logo applied to each dial.
A true exercise in ‘practical beauty’, the dial is protected by a deep, glass-box sapphire crystal secured by a slim bezel. Watch glasses of this type procure an obvious aesthetic advantage by giving the dial a sense of perspective. They serve to maximise the depth of the dial opening, as light pours in from above as well as from the sides, creating exquisite shimmering effects.
A watch ‘engine’ with certified precision
The back of each watch is fitted with a sapphire crystal affording a view of the self-winding chronograph movement certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute and endowed with a 54-hour power reserve.
A competitive driver himself, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele recognises the importance of being equipped with an accurate chronograph while taking part in events such as the 1000 Miglia, where a few fractions of a second can mean the difference between success or failure in a timed stage.
With the new Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph, accurate adjustments are also guaranteed by slip-resistant knurled pushers which, as well as being practical, also add to the aesthetic appeal of the watches.
During the heat of competition, racers will appreciate the 4 Hz frequency of the movement, the stop-second function, a tachymeter scale as well as the layout of the three 12-hour, 30-minute and small seconds subdials.
This model is clearly intended for drivers seeking to surpass themselves – much in the spirit of the Maison’s legendary ambassador and longstanding friend, six-time Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx.
A strap inspired by the automotive world
The Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph model featuring a Nero Corsa dial is teamed with a rubber strap bearing a distinctive pattern based on the tread of 1960s Dunlop racing tyres, while its moisture-wicking lining recalls the black streaks typically left on road surfaces by cars being pushed to their limits.
The other three models are fitted with rich brown calfskin leather straps evoking traditional driving gloves. All four are secured by buckles made from Lucent Steel™.
In presenting these new creations, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele said: “This year’s watches represent the 36th variation on the collection. Even more than previous ones, they reflect the unique atmosphere of the 1000 Miglia. One of the challenges for this year’s event will be deciding whether to choose a Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph model that complements my car – or to choose a car that complements my favourite version of the watch.”