2017 edition of the Mille Miglia
Chopard hits the road for 90th anniversary of “the world’s most beautiful race”
Chopard has been the historical partner and official timekeeper of the Mille Miglia since 1988. The legendary car rally was first run 90 years ago. From 18th to 21st May 2017, we will see 440 teams competing over one thousand miles (mille miglia) on a historical route running from Brescia to Rome and back via Padova, San Marino, Sienna, Parma and Verona. This competition is restricted to vintage cars that took part in one of the historical races between 1927 and 1957.
Although the Mille Miglia route varies from year to year, two constants are present: the 1000 miles (mille miglia) distance and the Italian-style ‘la dolce vita’ that is inexorably linked with the competitive spirit. Passionate drivers arrive from around the world to renew their acquaintance with superlative chariots that collectors and museums have loaned for the race.
As a matter of personal principle, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Chopard co-president has driven in every race since 1988 as a passionate driver of collector’s cars. With his personal support, Chopard became the main sponsor of the Mille Miglia and is now associated 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.”
This year, his co-driver is the double Le Mans Champion Romain Dumas, in a Porsche 550 Spyder RS loaned by Porsche Museum.
To celebrate the 90th anniversary race, Chopard will field 4 cars with close friends and relatives driving. For 2017, Sponsor Team Chopard is getting serious and represented by 18 cars among which, 14 are Zagato cars led by Andrea Zagato, an old friend of Chopard.
Mille Miglia 2017 Race Edition Watches
Chopard presents the Mille Miglia Watch Collection steeped in racing spirit. Every year, limited and numbered series are created. The Mille Miglia 2017 Race Editions features an engine-turned dial and counters inspired by historical car dashboards.
They are powered by a high-precision horological ‘engine’, chronometer-certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). Throbbing at 28,800 vibrations per hour, this mechanical self-winding chronograph movement 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 editions are 1,000 watches in stainless steel and 100 pieces in a bi-coloured stainless steel and 18-carat rose gold deluxe version.
The two case versions are made of stainless steel but the “upgraded” variant has 18K rose gold accents for the crown, bezel and pushers.
Our eyes are immediately drawn to the dial at first viewing. The circular brushed (perlage) patterns are inspired by classic car sheet metal dashboards.
The Mille Miglia red arrow logo is familiar signage to the drivers, as are the hour markers in black for the steel model and gilded metal for the bi-coloured variant.
The hands indicating time follow the same black or gilded metallic colour codes. The three chronograph hands are highlighted with red. While the all-steel watch has a red bezel insert between the black rehaut ring and tachymeter scale, the bi-coloured variant has a 18K rose gold bezel insert.
The numerals are as legible as on vintage Jaeger or Smiths dashboard instruments.
The pushers are shaped like brake pedals with non-slip pattern for that old school motoring look.
Finally, the all-steel model is fitted with black rubber straps with Dunlop racing tyre tread pattern and the bi-coloured variant has a black Barenia calfskin strap; both supplied with Chopard steel folding clasps.
Overall, both Mille Miglia 2017 Race Editions embody the spirit and essence of the original racecars between 1927 – 1957. They are superb celebratory chronographs that are both attractive and affordable. The steel version is a 1000-piece limited edition and the steel-gold variant is a 100-piece limited edition.
Mille Miglia 2017 Race Edition (Steel) Ref.168571-3002: $6,840
Mille Miglia 2017 Race Edition (Rose Gold / Steel) Ref.168571-6001: $10,100
Mille Miglia Classic XL 90th Anniversary
Mille Miglia Classic XL 90th Anniversary Ref.161299-5001: $43,880
For those with a few more lire in their portafoglios, Chopard has conjured up an excellent tribute to the 90th Anniversary of the race: 90-pieces of the Mille Miglia Classic XL 90th Anniversary Limited Edition.
That is a different racing class altogether with a L.U.C 03.07-L manual wind chronograph movement attired in a solid gold case.
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Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).