The story of the worlds most beautiful car race (Mille Miglia) dates back to 1927 when two aristocrats wanted to compensate for the loss of the Italian Grand Prix by their hometown of Brescia. Today, Mille Miglia is one of the world’s most celebrated races and this 2017, celebrates its 90th Anniversary. It’s a race with a difference and is different because it brought racing back to the roads instead of the tracks.
In 1957 Mille Miglia was discontinued for safety reasons and 20 years later was revived under the name Mille Miglia Storica positioning itself as the world’s most prestigious classic car endurance race. Since 1977, there was a rebirth of sorts, when it became a regularity race for classic and vintage cars and has never looked back ever since.
The initial connection was born from a personal passion for classic cars nurtured by Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard. Under his leadership, Chopard became the main sponsor of the Mille Miglia in 1988 and one of the first brands to associate its name with the automobile world. For Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the links are entirely natural: “Lovers of fine cars often have a great weakness for precious timepieces and vice versa. Extreme precision and sporting elegance are important in both of these fields.”
Today, the race is reserved for models of which at least one had taken part in the original race between 1927 and 1957. Needless to say, this makes the race highly exclusive; nothing short of a dream event and without a doubt the biggest date on the Italian sports calendar. This year, the event took place between 18 to 21 May, 2017, with 440 teams competing over a distance of around 1,600 kms on a historical route running from Brescia to Rome and back via Padova, San Marino, Sienna, Parma and Verona.
One of the best things about these collaborations is the fact that new watches, inspired from the aesthetics of automobiles make their way on the wrists of aficionados. Chopard is the official timekeeper and world sponsor of the Mille Miglia offering new interpretations of its unique and instantly recognisable design watch collection annually. The brand has created a collection of luxury sports watches that have become an unmistakable sporting emblem. It’s unique design has made this collection one of the greatest classics of contemporary watchmaking.
Mille Miglia 2017 Race Edition
The Mille Miglia 2017 Race Edition features an engine-turned dial and counters inspired by historical car dashboards. It is powered by a high-precision horological ‘engine’, chronometer-certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). Throbbing at the frequency of 28,800 vibrations/hour, this mechanical self-winding chronograph movement endowed with a 48-hour power reserve drives the hours, minutes, chronograph, tachymeter and date functions. The high-performance mechanism is housed inside a 44 mm case with a case-back secured by eight screws, engraved with the famous chequered flag that is waved as the cars pass the finish line, along with the arrow-shaped Mille Miglia logo and the “Mille Miglia 1927-2017” anniversary inscription. The edition comprises 1,000 watches in stainless steel and 100 in stainless steel and 18-carat rose gold.
Price in Australian Dollars:
Stainless steel version: RRP AUD $9,690
Stainless steel and 18 carat rose gold version: RRP AUD $14,320
Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph
The Mille Miglia Classic models pick up the aesthetic codes of the oldest cars having taken part in the Mille Miglia race between 1927 and 1940. Here, the tachymetric scale printed on the dial of the men’s timepiece allows to calculate wearer to time vehicle speed. The watch features a sports chronometer-certified mechanical self-winding chronograph movement with a 42-hour power reserve.
Price in Australian Dollars:
39mm, silver dial, white strap, stainless steel case: RRP AUD $6,800
39mm, white mother of pearl dial, white strap, diamonds on bezel, stainless steel case: RRP AUD $17,210
42mm, silver or dial, black strap, stainless steel case: RRP AUD $7,090
Mille Miglia Classic XL 90th Anniversary Limited Edition
The 90-piece Mille Miglia Classic XL 90th Anniversary Limited Edition is offered in a 46mm rose gold case. Size is definitely not an issue here. Chopard has balanced the design codes and appeal of the watch extremely well, still classifying it as a ‘Classic’ that appeals to a very different kind of audience. Understandably, it pays tribute to the spirit of this vintage race that has endured for 90 years. The design lends the watch an unmistakable presence on the wrist. It sports a high-end COSC certified L.U.C chronograph movement, which is designed, developed, and produced entirely in-house.
The fully integrated column-wheel chronograph L.U.C Calibre 03.07-L features a flyback function and Chopard patented devices such as the Variner balance-wheel, an anti-skid for the coupling clutch, an optimal zero-reset and a small seconds reset mechanism. It is endowed with a 60-hour power reserve. The exceptional care devoted to its finishing earns it the right to carry the Poincon de Geneve quality hallmark.
Price in Australian Dollars: RRP AUD $56,410
Quite befitting to the watchmaker and the race itself, Chopard is celebrating 90 Years of Mille Miglia in true Chopard style!