Chopard celebrates 31 years of partnership with the Mille Miglia endurance race this May. One of the longest-standing alliances in the world of classic motorsport, the event is celebrated with the release of two limited edition Mille Miglia watches; one in stainless steel and the other in two-tone steel and rose gold case. We introduced the steel version just before Baselworld 2019, but seeing both models in the metal proved a very different – and agreeable – experience.
Brescia to Rome and back
The 2019 edition of Italy’s legendary Mille Miglia endurance race starts on 15 May as 430 vehicles complete the 1,000-mile loop from Brescia to Rome and back. The four stages of the endurance race will take participants through some of Italy’s most scenic countryside and towns pushing the limits of their historic vehicles, which as regulations stipulate, have to be models that took part in the 1000 Miglia between 1927 to 1957.
Once again, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, co-president of Chopard, will be competing in the Mille Miglia with his 1957 Porsche 550 A 1500 RS SPYDER. A collector of vintage cars, a racer, and sponsor of two of the most prestigious classic car racing events, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele’s passion for automobiles is well nurtured.
Sporty chic chrono
Like the beautiful historic cars in the race, the curvaceous contours of the Chopard Mille Miglia 2019 Race Edition bring the spirit of the classic car rally to the wrist. Its large 44mm case with the mandatory tachymetre bezel and piston-style chronograph pushers set the racing tone. The contrasting satin-brushed and polished finishes add a touch of distinction, and details like the tread embossed on the heads of the chrono pushers and the steering wheel on the crown will delight petrol heads.
As far as two-tone watches go, the rose gold and steel Mille Miglia has to be one of my favourites this year. The contrasts between the black aluminium insert on the tachymetre scale, the matte brushed steel case middle and the polished rose gold bezel, piston and crown are eye-catching but not gaudy. The features of the two-tone watch are more salient, more distinctive and gentlemanly without being dazzling.
Curiously, the press release photographs of this watch did not do justice to the dial. In fact, when you see it in the metal, the greyish tone of the official pictures has nothing to with reality. The dial is a much warmer golden-brownish colour (described as ruthenium-coloured thanks to a galvanic treatment, which doesn’t really help you conjure the colour) and the snailed decoration adds a dynamic sense of motion. The main dial and the three sub-counters are all snailed with the 12-hour and 30-minute elapsed time registers picked out in black with red hands.
By keeping the small seconds counter at 9 o’clock in the same tone as the main dial, the two black vertical chronograph registers really stand out. The tri-compax arrangement of the counters is counterbalanced with a date window at 3 o’clock covered by a magnifying glass – a nice detail for gentlemen drivers whose eyesight might not be what it used to be. The red 1000 Miglia arrow is positioned just to the left of the date window and the sloped chapter ring for the minutes features a visible white transfer. The hands and the applied hour indices are all treated with a generous application of Super-LumiNova.
No matter how beautiful the contours of a race car appear, it all comes down to the engine. Housed inside its 100-metre water-resistant case is an automatic chronograph calibre based on the 7750 architecture, with COSC-chronometry certification. As you know, the Mille Miglia race is not just about peak speeds, but regularity and constancy. The engines of the two watches purr at a regular frequency of 28,800vph / 4 Hz for 48-hour stints, maintaining a steady variation in rate of +4/-6 seconds per day. The sealed caseback is stamped with a 1000 Miglia arrow logo against a checkerboard flag and the limited edition number of the watch.
Completing the racing touch, both watches come with perforated calf leather straps, reminiscent of the holes you find on driving gloves and a black rubber lining inspired by the tread of 1960s Dunlop racing tyres. The Ref. 168571-3004 in stainless steel is a limited edition of 1,000 pieces while Ref. 168571-6002 in 18-carat rose gold and stainless steel is a limited edition of just 250 pieces. The steel model retails for EUR 6,800. The price of the rose gold/steel model is EUR 9,950. More details at chopard.com.