Chopard has been involved in the Mille Miglia classic car race for many years. The brand has produced watches inspired by this historic race in the past. And this year is no different with the release of two Chopard Mille Miglia 2020 watches.
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Both watches feature blue dials and matching blue straps in leather (with a tire tread pattern on the underside). Each piece also includes the Mille Miglia red and white race logo around the date window in both the Chronograph and time only (with power reserve) versions.
Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Chrono, Automatic, Stainless Steel Ref. 168571-3007, 44mm
The GTS Azzurro Chrono features a screw down crown, 100 metres water resistance with a 48 hour power reserve and COSC certification. Production of this watch is limited to 750 pieces.
I feel like this watch is too big. There I said it. As chronographs go it is well-executed and the colour, the Mille Miglia logo integrated around the date window and overall design is very well put together. Is it important that the Chronograph registers are legible and that the watch can perform its timing functions with ease? Yes, of course. And part of this is a function of overall watch size.
The chronograph pushers are indeed a nice size and the cross-hatch knurled surface is tactilely pleasant. In my opinion, the 44mm is just a little bit out of sync with modern tastes. That’s especially so when making a watch honouring a race event which ran from 1927 to 1957, in an era of smaller timepieces.
Chopard is not listing the movement calibre for this piece – which would point to an outsourced movement. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I wonder if this gave them less freedom with sub-dial locations. And from there, the dial design balance in general. That in turn would be a factor in the 44mm design. I don’t think this piece is necessarily thoughtless. It works. But to me, it lacks the thoughtfulness of the other piece in this release, the Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Power Control.
Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Power Control, Automatic, Rose Gold, Stainless Steel, Ref. 168566-6002, 43mm
Housing the Chopard 01.08-C COSC-certified movement with a stainless steel case and rose gold crown and bezel, this watch struck a chord with me right away. The power reserve indicator features a fuel gauge. Although that has been done before, I’m sure, it doesn’t seem kitschy or contrived here.
This calibre provides 60 hours of power reserve. The watch also features a screw down crown, 100 metre water resistance and a sapphire crystal caseback to view the in-house calibre.
Bringing the case size down to 43mm was also a spot-on move. Unlike the chronograph I didn’t find myself thinking about case size at all. It just felt right. When you place a piece on your wrist you shouldn’t have to question its dimensions. It should feel natural, like the case size isn’t a consideration at all.
I felt the whole piece had a refined balance, making elements like the rose gold and the Mille Miglia logo around the date window seem, like its size, unquestionable. Everything “fits” at 43mm. What difference does 1mm make? In this case everything (apparently). The bold 12 and 6 numerals create balance against the power reserve indicator and the Mille Miglia logo-adorned date window. To me the Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Power Control, limited to 500 pieces, is the star of this pair of releases.
The Mille Miglia was a rally race from Brescia to Rome and back covering 1,000 miles over four days, which ran from 1927 to 1957. This year marks the 38th re-enactment of the race with entrants driving a car model that actually ran (or was entered and registered to race) in the original race series to qualify.
Coined as “the most beautiful race in the world” the Mille Miglia is an event to behold, with 400 cars participating in 2020. Scheduled for early this year but postponed due to COVID-19, the race is currently scheduled for this coming weekend, Oct 22-25.
Involved in the Mille Miglia classic car rally since 1988, Chopard is the lead sponsor and official time keeper of the event. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard, is a vintage car collector and has previously participated in the race himself.
So the new Chopard Mille Miglia watch collection is a nice starting point to a much-anticipated weekend of racing and celebration coming up in Italy.
IMAGE UP TOP: Actor Ben Dahlhaus wearing Chopard’s new Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Chrono yesterday at the start of the storied road race in Italy, image by Adam Fussell, courtesy Chopard
(Knar Jewellery in Oakville provides watches for these reviews. Colin Potts is founder of Watch off the Cuff, a watch repair service based in Milton, Ontario, and a member of the Horology Society of New York in support of advancing the art and science of horology.)