Mille Miglia, which has been recognized as one of the most important races in motor sports history, celebrates its 90th birthday this year. Chopard, one of the indispensable brand partners of the organization, achieved a great success in Baselworld 2017 with the Mille Miglia Classic XL 90th Anniversary model which has been designed in memory of this special occasion. The model, which the watch authorities as well as the brand’s fanatics define as the most refined version of the Mille Miglia timepieces produced up to now, marks the history of both the brand and the famous car race.
Mille Miglia, first run in 1927, is now considered as one of the most prestigious races in the world of motor sports. The race, which emerged as a kind of speed test in its early days, has been repeated every year as an official organization since 1977. The race, which takes about 1000 miles from the center, features a spectacular route accompanied by the beautiful landscapes of Italy.
Chopard’s first meeting with Mille Miglia took place in 1988. The brand partnership, which started as a result of the brand’s co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele’s enthusiasm for motor sports, continues today with its entire splendor.
The new model, prepared for the 90th anniversary of Mille Miglia, is presented in an 18K pink gold case designed with a diameter of 46mm. I can say that I am very pleased that this special model is being offered in a solid gold case as I really like classic sports chronographs in solid yellow or pink gold. In the meantime, there is no doubt that will be Purists who would like to see this model in a stainless steel case, or those who would say "if only it was in white gold...". The thickness of the case is 13.12mm.
The lugs are designed to be relatively short and curved to compensate the case’s bold dimensions and heavy feel due to the solid gold structure. The chronograph pushers, made in the form of a piston and the classic three-spoke racing-style steering wheel embossed winding crown nicely express the model’s Mille Miglia spirit. The case sports an anti glare coated sapphire crystal on the front side and a solid gold caseback with a sapphire display -to reveal the magnificent movement that I will talk about later in the article- at the back side. The caseback is fixed to the case with 8 miniature screws allowing the timepiece to be water resistant up to 50 meters.
The model features a white dial made of porcelain with a very smooth surafce. The indices are designed in large Arabic numbers in vintage font style to match with the model’s retro character. Pink gold chapters are added to the chronograph sub-dials formed in 3-6-9 layout. A tachymeter scale is placed on the outside of the dial. The hands are also designed in pink gold. I am not going to say anything negative about the dial however; I still think that a dial with improved legibility would surely be a better choice for a motorsports inspired, Tri-Compax chronograph timepiece like this one.
At the beginning of my writing, I mentioned that the Chopard Mille Miglia Classic XL 90th Anniversary model was accepted as one of the most refined Mille Miglia versions ever. One of the most important reasons why this definition sounds right is the movement used in the model. That movement which reminds me of a Supercharged engine is the brand’s Caliber Ref. LUC 03.07. The 28 jewels movement consists of 300 parts in total. Manufactured by Chopard’s Haute Horlogerie L.U.C, the hand-wound movement is equipped with the Flyback chronograph function. The bridges of the movement are manufactured in nickel silver alloy suitable for micro-machining while the components at the lower part are mostly steel and rhodium plated. The movement, which can be enjoyed through the sapphire crystal display caseback, bears the Hallmark of Geneva seal – a first in the history of Chopard Mille Miglia Collection.
This beautiful timepiece comes on a brown color aged look calf strap which I strongly believe would grow a stunning patina over time. The strap is secured with a Chopard signed folding clasp made of 18K pink gold like the case.
Produced for the 90th anniversary of the legendary Mille Miglia automobile race, Chopard Mille Miglia Classic XL 90th Anniversary is offered with a limited run of only 90 units. The model, described as the most refined version among the models included in the Mille Miglia collection, defines the brand’s outstanding heritage and know-how in traditional luxury watchmaking. The model retails at 39,000 CHF.