This spring, Chopard will proudly reprise its role as main sponsor and official timekeeper of Italy’s world famous Mille Miglia classic car rally, a position it has held continuously since 1988. Each year, Chopard Co-President Karl-Friedrich Scheufele has demonstrated his passion for automobiles by competing in the gruelling, 1,000-mile contest that runs from Brescia to Rome and back-and each year the Maison produces a new Mille Miglia watch collection to celebrate what is regularly described as ‘the most beautiful race in the world’.
The Case And Dial
The Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Power Control uses a two-tone scheme with its combination of a steel case and 18-carat rose gold bezel and crown. The hands and hour markers are also in gold. Available in 500 pieces, the 43mm timepiece has a satin-brushed blue dial with a varnished blue aluminium bezel insert marked in 12 increments of five to facilitate elapsed time recording.
The Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Power Control uses design touches inspired by the automotive world. For instance, the oversized winding crown, recalls the chunky cap of a race-style fuel filler. The dial features a power reserve that is inspired by a fuel gauge. The straps take their cue from the motoring world, combining the classic, perforated leather favoured by gentleman drivers of the 1950s and ’60s with a rubber lining that replicates the tread pattern of a Dunlop racing tyre.
Turning the watch over, meanwhile, reveals an exhibition case back that allows a clear view of the Chopard 01.08-C mechanical self-winding movement. Made entirely in-house, the 251-part mechanism offers 60 hours of power reserve (the level of which can be monitored by the indicator at the nine o’clock position on the dial) and is chronometer certified for accuracy by the COSC, the official Swiss chronometer testing institute. The steel ring surrounding the sapphire crystal case back is marked with the ‘Brescia > Roma > Brescia’ route of the Mille Miglia and each of the 500 watches is engraved with its individual edition number. The movement beats at 28,800 Vph and has a 60 hours power reserve.
The watch is possibly more of a memorabilia for fans of the historic race. The 43 mm size means this is a rather legible but large timepiece. A base caliber for entry level Chopards, the time and date movement does the job and is COSC certified. Its finishing is mostly adequate for the price range. Within this collection, the most attractive case is actually the all black titanium. But then again, if a watch collector wants to pick up a Chopard, a LUC Chopard with Qualite Fleurieur might be a much better choice, or the Alpine Eagle which has the same movement as the Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro but a significantly more iconic case design.