Italian Stallions: A Closer Look At Chopard's 2019 Mille Miglia Watches
The Mille Miglia, one of racing’s most anticipated events, inspires Chopard’s sport-luxe watch collection
It’s an annual affair bringing together classic car owners and drivers on a four-day journey through the Italian countryside. Sound too good to be true? For Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, co-president of Chopard, it’s a reality. An avid classic car collector and driver, Scheufele began a partnership between Chopard and the race more than 30 years ago, and it’s still going strong.
The Mille Miglia Race
The race’s name is officially the Mille Miglia Storica, meaning Thousand Mile Historical. The modern-day race is a tamer version of the original Mille Miglia that took place from 1927-1957. The earlier version was an open road speed endurance race, drawing as many as 5 million spectators along its course. Unfortunately, the safety of both the drivers and spectators became a primary concern after two fatal crashes in 1957.
A Family Affair
Today, the Mille Miglia Storica is a four-stage road rally endurance race, and Scheufele has had many driving partners, including racing legend Jacky Ickx. This year, for the first time, Scheufele’s daughter Caroline-Marie accompanied him in his Gullwing Mercedes. Only cars built from 1927-1957 are allowed to participate, and each of the 400+ vintage vehicles is no less than spectacular. The cars follow a course from Brescia to Rome and back.
Precision and elegance are balanced seamlessly in the Mille Miglia collection, introduced in 1988 when Chopard became the world sponsor and official timekeeper of the event. This year, Chopard has launched not one, not two, but three additions to its Mille Miglia line, all of which are limited editions: The Mille Miglia GTS Power Control, the Mille Miglia Chronograph Zagato 100th Anniversary Edition, and the Mille Miglia 2019 Race Edition. Let’s take a look.
Mille Miglia GTS Power Control
The Mille Miglia GTS Power Control watch is an automatic-winding certified chronometer. Its design is “heavily inspired by the style and evocative atmosphere unique to the world of historic motoring,” Chopard said in a statement. The design is substantial yet sleek, with a bezel inscribed with a seconds counter. Of note is the 60-hour power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock, echoing the design of a fuel gauge in a car. At 3 o’clock, the date window appears in an aperture in a Mille Miglia-stamped red arrow. Red, by the way, is the official color of the annual event.
The watch comes in two versions, both in limited editions of 500 pieces. There’s a steel and ethical rose gold cased watch with a ruthenium grey dial fitted with a cognac perforated calfskin strap. An all-steel version has an elegant blue dial and a blue perforated calfskin strap. Both watch straps have rubber lining, with its design based on a 1960’s Dunlop tire used for racing.
Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Zagato 100th Anniversary Edition
If you don't know what Zagato is, you should, if you're in the car racing scene. Zagato has been producing exceptional designs for cars since 1919 (hence the 100th anniversary). They're also the last remaining independent Italian car designer. While Chopard admits to a "healthy rivalry" while they're racing, off the track, the two brands have mutual respect and share a passion for "attention to detail, mechanical cleverness, elegant aesthetics, and naturally ensuing harmony."
The COSC-certified chronograph comes with all of the technical heft one would expect from Chopard, but the real attention-grabbing feature is its bold red dial. The lacquered dial is further enhanced by a Z pattern motif, creating an eye-catching play of light. The chronograph counters stand out in solid red, and a big Z logo sits at 12 o'clock. It's a bold statement watch, with its steel case measuring 42mm across and a bund strap. It will also be very rare, just 100 pieces will be made.
Mille Miglia 2019 Race Edition
To commemorate this year’s Mille Miglia, Chopard has issued the 2019 Race Edition watch in both stainless steel and in two-tone rose gold and steel. It's a sturdy watch at 44mm and truly crafted to be a racing tool. The chronograph, which is COSC certified, counts eighths of a second, and, of course, the watch has a tachymeter scale on the bezel.
Bold pushers enhance the watch's sporty look, and the top of the crown has an engraved steering wheel. The watch's perforated leather strap is lined in black rubber with a 1960's Dunlop tire motif, as it is in the GTS Power Control model. The watches are limited in production to 1000 pieces in stainless steel, and just 250 in the two-tone rose gold and steel version.