Celebrating The Eternal Affair Of Horology And Motorsports – Chopard Mille Miglia

10 Aug, 2023 Chat 0
Celebrating The Eternal Affair Of Horology And Motorsports – Chopard Mille Miglia

Imagine speeding through Italy’s picturesque landscapes alongside other legendary vintage cars, crossing treacherous roads, and heading towards a destination 1000 miles away. That is exactly what the Mille Miglia is — a historic and iconic endurance race that has captured the hearts of motorsport enthusiasts worldwide, echoing the bygone era of motorsport’s golden age. Its history is etched in the annals of racing folklore, and its allure has captivated enthusiasts for decades.

Mille Miglia Race 1957
Mille Miglia, 1957

This legendary event, known for its rich heritage and challenging course, is a symbol of endurance, elegance and precision. Among the many luxury brands that have embraced the spirit of the Mille Miglia, Chopard stands out as a special partner, becoming synonymous and almost indistinguishable from the legendary event. So, here we are exploring the history of the Mille Miglia race, delving into Chopard’s long-standing association with the event. Starting from their sponsorship to the brand curating watches exhibiting the same mechanical craftsmanship inspired by the vintage cars that draw in patrons and visitors worldwide, here is everything you need to know about the tale of Chopard and Mille Miglia.

The Mille Miglia — A Triumph of Endurance

The Mille Miglia, which translates to ‘Thousand Miles’ in Italian, was an open-road endurance race initially in Italy from 1927 to 1957. The race spanned a distance of approximately 1,000 miles; the route travelled from Brescia to Rome and back, passing through picturesque landscapes and treacherous roads. The race quickly gained a reputation for being one of the most challenging and prestigious events in the motorsport world.

Mille Miglia race
Mille Miglia race
The picturesque landscapes on the route of the Mille Miglia race from Brescia to Rome

The race was open to many cars, attracting top drivers and famous automobile manufacturers. Although the original race was discontinued in 1957 due to an incident that took the lives of 11, it made a reappearance in 1982 with permission only given to those vehicles which were previously registered to drive in the event, reinvigorating the flames of racing among enthusiasts and eager onlookers.

And just six years later, in 1988, Chopard came into the scene.

The Chopard Connection

In 1988, Chopard decided to honour the spirit of the Mille Miglia by becoming its official timekeeper and sponsor. This partnership began a long and cherished relationship between Chopard and the legendary race.

chopard watches
Chopard became the official timekeeper and sponsor of the Mille Miglia race in 1988

Chopard’s decision to associate with the Mille Miglia was not merely about branding; but a celebration of shared values. The world of precision timekeeping in motorsports mirrored Chopard’s dedication to creating exquisite and accurate timepieces. Additionally, the elegance and style of the Mille Miglia were synonymous with Chopard’s commitment to crafting watches that blend sophistication with precision engineering.

The Chopard Mille Miglia Watch Collection — An Ode to Motorsport

Chopard introduced a dedicated watch collection inspired by the spirit of the race to commemorate their partnership with the Mille Miglia. These timepieces captured the essence of classic cars and their drivers, and each piece was designed with a blend of automotive and horological elements.

The early models in the Mille Miglia collection showcased various design elements reminiscent of vintage cars. For instance, the dials featured racing stripes, and the straps were often crafted from leather, resembling the interior of classic automobiles. The cases themselves embodied the elegant curves of classic car bodies. Over the years, the Chopard Mille Miglia collection evolved, incorporating new materials, advanced complications, and cutting-edge technologies. The brand continued to pay homage to the world of motorsport while infusing modernity into the timepieces. Chronographs became a prominent feature in the collection, reflecting the precision required in racing events. Additionally, the Mille Miglia collection expanded to include limited editions inspired by specific car models, notable milestones in the race’s history, and collaborations with renowned automotive manufacturers.

The 35-year partnership has resulted in exquisite watches that perfectly combine the immaculate aesthetics unique to Chopard and the excellent mechanism reminiscent of the cars racing in the Mille Miglia. While design differed for each model, some of the prominent automotive-inspired design elements include:

A Sporty Dial

The dial in most watches closely resembles the speed gauge on a car’s dashboard, giving the timepiece a sporty edge while still keeping it functional and classy. Many models also came with a basic HMS system while resembling the speed gauge. For instance, the Mille Miglia GTS Power Control “Desert Racer” (reference 168566-3019) features a dial resembling the dashboard, complete with a retrograde fuel gauge, which is a power reserve indicator in disguise.

Chopard Mille Miglia watches
The dial in Chopard Mille Miglia watches exude a sporty edge while still keeping things functional and classy

Automotive-Inspired Straps

Many of the models, mostly the newer ones, were crafted with Dunlop tire patterns in the rubber straps, further adding to the automotive elements of these timepieces. On the contrary, the older ones can be characterised by the straps that are reminiscent of the fabric interior of the cars, giving the watches a classic and vintage touch as well.

Chopard Mille Miglia

The rubber strap on a Chopard Mille Miglia is detailed with tire patterns as a nod to the automotive inspiration of the watch

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Present Chopard Mille Miglia Collection — Evolution and Innovation

In the present day, the Chopard Mille Miglia collection represents the perfect blend of heritage, elegance and innovation. The watches now boast impressive mechanical movements with COSC-certified chronometer accuracy, ensuring exceptional timekeeping performance. Some models include a tachymeter function, further highlighting their motorsport-inspired features. Luminous materials and anti-reflective coatings make the timepieces legible during night-time driving.

Boasting these features are two of the most popular models in this collection — the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph and the Mille Miglia GTS collections.

Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph

Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Automatic in steel
Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Automatic in steel
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The Classic Chronograph is a timeless watch that captivates everyone at first glance. Available in four shades, these watches feature the main dial that tells you the time, three sub-dials that let you control the chronograph, and a scale surrounding the flange that acts as the tachymeter. The clear markings and interesting finishing, with the clean horizontal setting of the sub-dials, add visibility and style to these timepieces. They also feature a date complication.

Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Racing (Reference 161276 5001)
Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Racing in a 45mm rose gold case and is driven by an automatic movement that promises 42 hours of power reserve
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Much like the other watches in the Mille Miglia collection, Classic Chronograph is crafted in steel, with a few gold models as well. With reliable automatic movement, this collection is as meticulously crafted as it is visually pleasing.

Chopard Mille Miglia GMT Chronograph in a 42mm steel case
Chopard Mille Miglia GMT Chronograph in a 42mm steel case
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Chopard Mille Miglia GTS

This incredibly diverse range combines all the stunning elements of automotive craftsmanship and combines it with horological excellence. From the impressive dial to the comparatively more spacious case, with each model boasting a case size of 43mm or higher, the collection embodies the spirit of racing to its core, making it perfect for connoisseurs of luxury timepieces who also seek the thrills of high speed.

Mille Miglia GT XL Power Control watch by Chopard
Chopard Mille Miglia GT XL Power Control with date and power reserve indicators on the dial
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With some models featuring sub-dials to retrograde dials that resemble the fuel metre in automotive, the GTs watches combine the two worlds in the most ingenious way possible. Additionally, the tachymeter on the flange of all the models further makes it the perfect partner to carry while racing. The textured straps also add to this concept and lend a more sporty and adventurous feel to the watches.

Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Automatic (reference 168565-3001)
Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Automatic (reference 168565-3001)
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In Conclusion

Since its inception, the Chopard Mille Miglia collection has been a testament to the brand’s unwavering commitment to driving innovation and horological craftsmanship. As the Mille Miglia race continues to unfold, the Chopard Mille Miglia collection keeps pace, evolving with the times while staying true to the enduring spirit of the road. One thing is for sure — with each new release, Chopard reinforces its legacy as a master of merging mechanical artistry with the thrill of the open road, capturing the essence of the Mille Miglia in every tick of the watch.


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