Chopard’s latest Mille Miglia GTS Power Control fuses three big trends in watchmaking today: firstly, it is a collaboration piece with Bamford; secondly, it plays with contemporary bead-blasted and frosted textures; and thirdly, it has an incredibly long name! Christened the Mille Miglia GTS Power Control Bamford Edition Desert Race, this latest collaboration has been conceived by Geroge Bamford as the off-road cousin of the Mille Miglia. A limited edition of 50 watches, the Bamford makeover gives the watch an edgy, gritty, contemporary spirit.
As our readers know, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele (co-president of Chopard) has been involved as the official timekeeper, partner and competitor of the famous Italian Mille Miglia race for 36 years. A daunting open-road race held between 1927 and 1957, the Mille Miglia made history thanks to some of the greatest racing cars piloted by the bravest drivers of the day. The event returned in 1977 as the Mille Miglia Storica, a classic car event eligible for pre-1958 cars that registered or raced the original Mille Miglia. You can read the full story in Robin’s article.
The model chosen for the Bamford touch is the sporty 43mm Mille Miglia GTS Power Control that debuted in 2015, complete with a power reserve indication on the dial inspired by dashboard gauges and an in-house movement. George Bamford, founder of the London-based customisation firm, shares KF Scheufele’s passion for cars and watches, and the new GTS Power Control is, in fact, the second collaboration between the two, following the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph in 2021 with its signature Bamford touch of dark surfaces and bursts of bright orange.
George Bamford is also a racing fan and competed in a Meyers Manx buggy in the latest desert off-road edition of the National Off Road Racing Association’s (Norra) held in May 2023 in Baja California, Mexico. Exposing the new ‘Desert Racer’ to the hostile conditions of a desert race, Bamford wore and tested the watch during its baptism of fire. Needless to say, the watch performed impeccably.
Like other GTS Power Control models, the case measures 43mm across and has a thickness of 11.43mm. While it shares many similarities with an earlier Grigio Speciale edition, the rosso corsa (racing red) accents associated with the Mille Miglia race are replaced with signature Bamford orange accents. The case is made of lightweight yet sturdy bead-blasted titanium and features a black aluminium inlay with orange numerals in the titanium bezel. With short lugs for a better fit, the rubber strap features a woven effect and is secured to the wrist by a folding clasp in DLC bead-blasted steel. The 100m water-resistant case has a screw-down caseback with eight black PVD-treated screws and a tinted crystal with an orange gasket offering a view of Chopard’s automatic movement.
The dark frosted dial also has a gritty asphalt-like texture and features bright orange accents on the oversized Arabic numerals at 12 and 6, the digits on the date wheel, the 5-minute intervals on the flange, the Bamford inscription and the ‘empty’ section of the fuel gauge/power reserve indicator. All the sanded and metallised hour markers, including the orange ones at 12 and 6, are treated with black Super-LumiNova, as are the large dagger-shaped hour and minute hands. A nice touch, the central seconds hand is also lumed and has three orange stripes at its tip. Another difference with the Grigio Speciale is the elimination of the red 1000 Miglia arrow framing the date aperture.
The ‘Desert Racer’ is powered by Chopard’s automatic COSC chronometer-certified calibre 01.08-C.movement. Beating at a frequency of 4Hz/28,800vph, the movement delivers a power reserve of 60 hours.
Availability & Price
The Mille Miglia GTS Power Control Bamford Edition Desert Racer is a limited edition of 50 watches and will be available through Bamford Watch Dept. It retails for EUR 11,200.