Watchmaker and jeweller Chopard has a long been associated with classic cars, owing to its co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, who is a passionate collector of vintage automobiles. As a result, Chopard has been a sponsor of the Mille Miglia classic-car rally since 1988 – with Mr Scheufele himself taking part each year.
Chopard has released a commemorative edition for each Mille Miglia since, this year’s Mille Miglia 2020 Race Edition is very much in the style of the classic Mille Miglia edition, but more restrained with a black diamond-like carbon (DLC) coated steel case – or dressed up with a rose-gold bezel.
Though based on the standard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph, the 2020 edition has been given an all-black treatment, which Chopard has also recently applied to its L.U.C ultra-thin dress watch. The DLC-coated case is matched with a dial in muted colours that’s also been sandblasted for a matte, grained finish, as have the hands, which results in a coherent, clean look.
This year’s version feels more contemporary than many earlier editions of the Mille Miglia chronograph, many of which were dressed in bright, racing colours like green or red. And its dark case finish also makes it feel a little smaller, which is helpful for a relatively large watch.
But while the watch looks good and is a limited edition, it’s priced a little steeply at US$6,700 in steel (and an extra US$1,700 for the gold bezel), given the modular ETA 2894 movement inside. For comparison, two recently launched watches with the same movement: the BR 05 Chrono with a more complex case costs about 10% less, while the Longines Heritage “Tuxedo” is half the price.
First taking place in 1927, the Mille Miglia, or “Thousand Miles”, is one of the grand events of classic motor racing. Originally a race, it was converted into a rally in the late 1950s after several fatal crashes. Today it is open only to classic cars produced before 1957, making it both a rally and a gallery of some of the world’s best vintage cars. The 2020 event, for instance, included several examples each of the Mercedes 300SL “Gullwing” and Porsche 356.
And that explains the design of the Mille Miglia chronograph. Slightly retro with its pump-style pushers, the 42 mm case is rounded, with domed, double-stepped bezel, and dial with large Arabic numerals, giving the watch a resemblance to a dashboard instrument.
While the 2020 edition retains the same design, it has been pared back, while preserving some thoughtful details. The use of contrast is rather effective in making the watch appears livelier as well as preserving legibility. The dial markings are in gilt print that gives the dial a warm, vintage-esque feel, something that’s amplified on the two-tone version. The dial retains a functional, legible appearance, with matte hands and clear Arabic hour markers – and the traditional Mille Miglia flag emblem under 12 o’clock.
Underneath the grey-tinted sapphire back is a chronometer-certified ETA 2894, which is an ETA 2892 combined with a chronograph module. It’s a fuss-free, reliable movement, but isn’t the fanciest. And it also has a 42-hour power reserve, which is relatively short by modern standards where three days is increasingly the norm.
Key Facts and Price
Chopard Mille Miglia 2020 Race Edition
Ref. 168589-302 (steel)
Ref. 168589-6002 (steel and gold)
Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 12.67 mm
Material: DLC-coated steel or with 18k rose gold
Water resistance: 50 m
Movement: ETA 2894
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, and chronograph
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours
Strap: Black calfskin strap with rubber lining
Limited edition: 1000 in steel; 250 in steel and gold
Availability: At Chopard retailers and boutiques
US$6,700; or 9,240 Singapore dollars (steel)
US$8,400; 11,600 Singapore dollars (steel and gold)
For more information, visit Chopard.com.
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