Partner and official timekeeper of the famous Mille Miglia race for over 30 years now, Chopard has created some extraordinary timepieces inspired by the classic car rally. As a tribute to the 100th anniversary of ZAGATO, the last independent Italian car designer and initiator of the Total Design Studio concept for brands such as Porsche, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo and Bentley, the maison is introducing a new 100-piece limited edition timepiece called the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Zagato 100th Anniversary Edition.
Mille Miglia also known as “the world’s most beautiful race” is one of the most celebrated car series organized today. It was at this race, the healthy rivalry between Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard and Andrea Zagato, grandson of the founder of the family company dating back to 1919, quickly turned into a sincere friendship, obviously sustained by a common passion for mechanical excellence and aesthetic genius in showcasing it. Chopard thus became the official sponsor of the Scuderia Sports Zagato, while Zagato inspired Chopard to produce limited editions of its Mille Miglia watch collections. The spirit of the race – which sees gentlemen drivers vying with each other during the day, yet all too happy to share their experiences once they cross the finish line – had worked its magic and, especially since the resulting rapprochement between the two Maisons, it appeared almost self-evident.
This 42 mm steel-clad piece exudes a deliberately vintage spirit, with curves inspired by irresistible oldtimers. Piston pushers, a vintage wheel hub-shaped crown, and long, straight lugs enhances the sporty look of the watch. Through the sapphire crystal caseback, wearers are able to witness the intricate workings of the movement. The case back is also decorated with a “Rossa Corsa” red arrow-shaped Mille Miglia logo and the Zagato 100th Anniversary logo. The mechanics are impeccable, with reliability and precision guaranteed by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). Powering the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Zagato 100th Anniversary Edition Watch is an in-house chronograph movement. It offers 42 hours of power reserve and runs at 4 Hertz (28,800 vph).
Particular attention was paid to the details composing the style of the piece, starting with a dial with a motif resembling the Z for Zagato in a magnificent lacquered red, a favourite hue of both the Milan-based designer and the Mille Miglia. As a reminder of the authorship of this watch, logos of the two Maisons appear at 12 o’clock, surrounded by baton-type hour markers painted with Super-LumiNova® –– as are the hands – so as to ensure perfect readability in all circumstances. Located at 6 and 9 o’clock respectively, are the snailed 12-hour and 30-minute chronograph counters in red (achieved by galvanic treatment). The third sub-dial at 3 o’clock displays the continuous second. A date window has been placed between 4 and 5 o’clock.
Unlike many racing chronographs out there, Chopard has included the tachymetric scale on the dial itself, rather than the bezel. Printed in white, it resides on the sloped edge of the dial creating a sense of depth. The result is a must-have accessory serving to calculate the average speed during the race and one that Zagato has put to good use in the past, winning the historic Mille Miglia race a record eight times in 24 participations!
As a reference to the straps used to lash down oldtimer car trunks, a bund strap with tone-on-tone stitching – like the Zagato upholstery – has been chosen for this watch worthily representing the heyday of the early automobile industry. At the time, some drivers preferred this type of strap enabling them to wear their timepiece securely wrapped around the sleeve of their rally jacket. In the evening, the bund strap gives way to an elegant black calfskin version that enhances this watch sported by the perfect gentleman driver, still under the spell of the gently undulating landscapes evoking the famous Italian dolce vita. All it takes to prolong the magic is a simple glance at his Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Zagato.