For a few years now, Zandvoort has been hosting one of the best Historic Grand Prix races, a fantastic event with international historic race cars from a wide range of categories. Think Historic Formula 1, vintage touring cars, Le Mans legends, one-of-a-kind demos and lots of racing legends behind the wheel. All staged at the Zandvoort International Circuit, the venue of 34 Grand Prix races between 1952 and 1985. This year, one of the main sponsors of the event was Chopard with a special watch.
This year was the 7th edition of the Historic Grand Prix in Zandvoort, an event that has quickly grown into a fan favourite and an internationally renowned get-together for vintage racing. Participants and visitors bring everything from small British GT’s to thunderous American powerhouses, Le Mans legends and, of course, vintage Formula 1 cars.
This sheer amount of categories ensures something for everyone, and even bike enthusiasts could get their kicks with this year’s Camathias cup for sidecar racing motorcycles. Besides all these semi-professional racing classes (the Historic Formula 1 is an official FIA sanctioned championship), each year you get the chance to witness various special demos. No jetpacks or silly stunts here, but a demonstration of legendary and priceless cars, often being pushed hard. This year, a pair of 1961 “Sharknose” Ferrari 156’s and the Le Mans-winning Jaguar D-type (1955), Jaguar XJR-9 (1988) and BMW V12 LMR (1999) also made an appearance over the weekend.
The event is really laid-back, often under a sunny sky, with open paddocks, various free grandstands or dune pitches around the track, and a grand terrace on the pit building. I vividly remember peeking into the engine bay of a Maserati 250F (yes, the Fangio-car) while it was being fired up before a race. Hearing, smelling and feeling a 64-year-old racing car starting and revving is quite something special, and this event allows you to get super close to most of the cars present, a rather unique experience.
But, how do watches play into all of this? Well, every race or racing event needs to have an official timing partner, doesn’t it? And after a few years of absence, Chopard is back as the title sponsor to the Historic Grand Prix. It doesn’t end there though, as Chopard, together with the renowned watch and jewellery dealer Gassan, introduced a special Limited Edition of the iconic Mille Miglia, dedicated to Zandvoort. The watch itself is technically identical to the other Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph models.
The fully polished, 42mm wide steel case is identical to other models in the collection, the changes in this special edition are purely aesthetic. A bright orange rally style strap for instance, which is a nod to the Netherlands’ colour of course. Zandvoort is mentioned on the dial with a white-on-orange print below 12 o’clock, and a black outline of the racetrack is printed on the glass covering the movement on the back. Next to that is the logo for the Historic Grand Prix. A second strap is supplied with the watch, in black with orange stitching. The black dial has a circular, satin-brushed finishing, which is combined with highly contrasting white markings.
The Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Zandvoort 2018 Edition is powered by the same movement as in the other versions of the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph; an ETA 2892 with a module on top by Dubois-Depraz. The automatic movement is COSC-certified, beats at 28,000vph (or 4Hz frequency) and can store up to 42 hours of power when fully wound.
The watch is limited to 25 pieces, 11 of which were presented to the winners of each class during the event. One extra piece has been auctioned off for charity (with a hammer price of EUR 18,000), another was presented to a person who has paid a significant contribution to the world of motorsport. This year to Roland Bruynsraede, former Formula 1 Race Director for the FIA. The remaining 12 are available through Gassan in Amsterdam only at a price of EUR 5,530. For more information go to Chopard.com.