Just as every year, Chopard launches new iterations of its iconic racing chronograph, named after one of Italy’s most famous racing events, the Mille Miglia. This daunting open-road race was held between 1927 and 1957 and made history thanks to some of the greatest racing cars piloted by the bravest drivers imaginable. 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. Chopard has been the title sponsor for this highlight event of the year for 36 years and named its racing-inspired watch collection after it. New for 2023 is a limited edition of the GTS Chronograph with a charity incentive as parts of the proceeds are donated to the victims of the recent Emilia Romagna floods. Also joining the collection is a quartet of new models of the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph, with a new size and new colours.
The Mille Miglia road race
As said, the Mille Miglia event is one of the most famous endurance racing events in history. It was established by Counts Francesco Mazzotti and Ayma Maggi, and took place between 1927 and 1957 for a total of 24 times. It is comparable to events like the Targa Florio and the Carrera Panamericana, both also hosted on public roads. The name comes from the 1,000 miles or roughly 1,600 kilometres drivers would have to navigate, starting and finishing in Brescia, Italy. The route changed a bit over the years and was run both clockwise and counter-clockwise through the heart of Italy. The longest race was the 1947 edition, clocking in at 1,132 miles or just over 1,800 kilometres.
It was open to all sorts of racing cars and was dominated by Italian drivers. Legendary drivers such as Guiseppe Campari, Tazio Nuvolari, Achille Varzi, Alberto Ascari and Piero Taruffi all competed and won the Mille Miglia. In 1931, German driver Rudolf Caracciola became the only non-Italian pre-war winner, driving a Mercedes-Benz SSKL. After the war, it was Sir Stirling Moss who managed to beat the Italians in 1955, becoming the only post-war non-Italian winner. He did this in the iconic Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, and with Denis Jenkinson as co-driver, who famously wrote a 5.5m long rolling roadmap for faster and more accurate navigation.
The Mille Miglia came to an end in the late-1950s due to the hugely increased speeds becoming too great of a risk to divers and spectators. Thousands of people lined the streets, watching cars blast by at speeds of well over 200kph. It was inevitable crashes happened, as on public roads you have to deal with bumps, cracks, potholes and so on. Hit one, and you were almost guaranteed to be in trouble. Two fatal crashes in the 1957 race meant the end of the Mille Miglia.
But, in a renewed format, it made a return in 1977. It’s now a parade-like event running the original course from Brescia to Rome and back to Brescia, open to cars that registered or competed in the Mille Miglia between 1927 and 1958. It’s at this point where Chopard comes in, being the official title sponsor to the Mille Miglia Storica for 36 consecutive years now. Mr Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, an avid car enthusiast himself and co-president of Chopard, has competed in 35 editions so far.
Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Chronograph Limited Edition 2023
The new Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Chronograph Limited Edition for 2023 uses the familiar format of previous years. It comes in a rather sizeable 44mm wide and 13.79mm thick case made from Lucent Steel A223, an alloy exclusive to Chopard and developed over four years. This has a brighter shine than conventional steel and is also 50% harder, but best of all, it’s produced in a more sustainable process. The case is fitted with a fixed tachymeter bezel with an olive green insert, and topped by a box-shaped sapphire crystal. On the right-hand side, a set of knurled pushers is used to start, stop and reset the chronograph. These flank the crown, which has a motif of a classic steering wheel on it.
In previous years, we’ve grown accustomed to changing colour schemes for the annual limited editions connected to the Mille Miglia Storica event and this year is no different. Departing from the silver dials of the 2022 edition, this 2023 edition uses a rather handsome beige dial with a grained texture instead. The silver-coloured applied indices and hands are finished with Super-LumiNova inserts. Around the outer perimeter, there’s a sloped minute track in olive green to match the bezel. As this is a racing chronograph, the chronograph hands are finished with red tips to stand out a bit more. The Mille Miglia road sign logo incorporates the date window at 3 o’clock.
Hidden under the solid caseback, decorated with the Mille Miglia insignia, is an automatic chronograph movement based on the Valjoux 7750 calibre. This runs at a rate of 28,800vph and has a power reserve of 48 hours, provided by the central winding rotor. This comes with COSC-chronometer certification. The 100-piece limited edition is worn on a saddle-brown perforated leather strap, secured to the wrist with a Lucent Steel A223 folding buckle. It is exclusively available in Italy for EUR 8.610, with parts of the proceeds donated to victims of the recent Emilia Romagna floods.
Quick Facts – 44mm x 13.79mm – Lucent Steel A223 case – fixed tachymeter bezel with olive green insert – box-shaped sapphire crystal – solid caseback with Mille Miglia insignia – knurled pushers & crown – 100m water-resistant – grained beige dial – olive green minute flange – silver hands and indices with Super-LumiNova – red Mille Miglia road sign logo at 3′ – automatic chronograph based on Valjoux 7750 – COSC-certified chronometer – 25 jewels – 28,800vph – 48h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph – saddle-brown perforated leather strap with black rubber lining – Lucent Steel A223 folding clasp – limited edition of 100 pieces exclusively sold in Italy – EUR 8.610 (parts of the proceeds go to Emilia Romagna flood victims)
Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph
We’ve already been able to show you the downsized Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph in racing black, but there’s more to be discovered. Next to the black engine-turned dial, the most classic of the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph if you will, there are three models available with a touch of colour.
All are set in the more compact 40.5mm wide Lucent Steel A223 case, or in one instance a two-tone case made of Lucent Steel A223 and ethical 18k yellow gold. Technically they are no different so you still get the knurled pushers and crown, a box-shaped sapphire crystal, a sapphire crystal caseback and 50m of water resistance.
The three additional models do change things aesthetically though, as they come in Verde Chiaro, Rosso Amarena and Grigio Blue. Where the black dial has an engine-turned pattern on it, mimicking the finishing of instrument clusters in vintage cars, the light green, cherry red and grey blue dials have a circular satin-brushed finish. The subdials are encircled with polished rings on the inside and outside perimeter, and each dial has a tachymeter scale in black on a white background. The two-tone model also comes with gold hands, crown, pushers and bezel, to distinguish itself from the others. All dials are finished with the classic Mille Miglia road sign logo in red.
Chopard chose an automatic chronograph based on the ETA A322-11 (in itself an upgraded modular ETA 2894-2) to power the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph. This comes with COSC Chronometer certification, runs at a rate of 28,800vph and provides 54 hours of running time. It comes on either a black rubber strap with a vintage tire tread pattern for the black dial, or vintage brown perforated leather straps for the other three versions, all finished with a steel pin buckle. The prices range from EUR 9.580 in steel with a black dial, EUR 9.800 in steel with the cherry red or light green dial, to EUR 11.600 for the two-tone model.
Quick Facts – 40.5mm x 12.88mm – Lucent Steel A223 or bi-metal Lucent Steel A223 & ethical rose gold case – sapphire crystal front & back – knurled pushers and crown – 50m water-resistant – light green, cherry red, racing black or grey blue (two-tone model only) dials – rhodium-plated markers and hands – tricompax chronograph layout – automatic chronograph based on ETA A322-11 – COSC-certified chronometer – 37 jewels – 28,800vph – 54h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, date – black rubber strap with vintage tire tread pattern or perforated leather strap with pin buckles – EUR 9.580 (black dial) – EUR 9.800 (red or green dial) – EUR 11.600 (two-tone)
For more information, please visit Chopard.com