Which is the best Chopard Mille Miglia Race Watch?
This review hopes to conclude with The One (to date). This retrospective look at Mille Miglia (MM) race watches begins from 1997 because that is when they started using mechanical self-winding movements for all MM models and also marketed limited edition annual models. Prior to that, only competitors and guests had access to MM race watches.
Jacky Ickx and Karl-Friedrich Scheufele
In 1988, Chopard supported the revived Mille Miglia race for the first time and issued the Chopard Mille Miglia Chronograph for race competitors as souvenirs. Every year since then, a Chopard souvenir has been reserved for competitors taking the form of watches except for two years. A key-ring was presented in 1989 and cuff-links in 1992. In 1990, a steel split-seconds pocket chronograph was presented.
For more than 25 years, the Scheufele family has participated every year in the 1000-mile race from Brescia to Rome and back. All entrant cars were constructed between 1927 and 1957 are of priceless value but still challenge each other along an ancient and picturesque route.
Chopard is proud to be World Sponsor and Official Timekeeper for this legendary street race, „la corsa pìu bella del mondo”.
Reasons to have a retrospective review of the MM Race Collection
A study of the MM collection gives insight into the evolution of watchmaking technique and aesthetics because it is rare in haute horlogerie that a new model for the Collection is rolled out annually for more than 20 years. These are not SWATCH watches or cookie cutter timepieces.
Road Testing and Test Bench for Racing
Another reason is that Chopard treats the Mille Miglia Race Edition watch as a test bed for technical and design teams using cutting edge developments. This is similar to what racing teams do for the automobile industry. The Mille Miglia design codes include the colour Red associated with Black and the Mille Miglia arrow logo. The vast majority of Mille Miglia Race Editions are chronographs with tachymeter scales and luminescent features for legibility.
In 1994, the first Chopard rubber straps appeared with design inspired by 1960s Dunlop Racing tyre treads. This evolved until the rubber strap was integrated into the case in 2011. The insistence on mechanical self-winding movements evolved into a requirement for COSC chronometer certification for all models from 2000 onwards.
Current Mille Miglia Watch Collection
The Mille Miglia Collection today comprises two lines: Classic and GT XL. The Classic is inspired by the older group of cars in the Mille Miglia race (1927 - 1940) with their classic vintage cues. The GT XL is inspired by the 'younger' group of cars (1941 - 1957) with more technical design codes.
2006 Mille Miglia GT XL experiment in NOT using a chronograph movement......
2006 Competitor's Edition #001
With advances in industrial materials science, stylistic developments have followed like the black anodised aluminium bezel in 2012. Classic 'mushroom' pushers were introduced in 2013 with strong comeback of red accents. The Chopard collaboration with Zagato must have also influenced the exciting red-line highlights recently.
2014 Mille Miglia Race Edition
The Mille Miglia Chronograph 2014 is imbued with more Italian flavour than any of its predecessors with its red tachymeter scale and hands, white dial and green minute circle; the colours of the Italian flag.
It pays tribute to the oldest cars taking part in the race: from the 1920s and 1930s. That is why the usual rubber strap with a 1960s Dunlop Racing tyre-tread motif was eschewed and replaced by overstitched Barenia calfskin. The calfskin is reminiscent of the bonnet straps on the ancient motorcars.
The contemporary Mille Miglia 2014 watch is dominated by vintage detailing. The slender cursive dial fonts are inspired by the racing numbers from the 1920s. The lugs holding the strap are welded rather than screwed on. This traditional technique considerably complicates the task of producing and polishing the case of this model.
The slight curve of the case band also evokes the vintage look.
The red arrow-shaped Mille Miglia logo appears on the dial as well as on the sapphire crystal case-back.
My Favourite Chopard Mille Miglia Race Edition watch (1997 - 2014)
With 18 watches to choose from since 1997, I had to apply strict elimination criteria:
As a sportive watch for a race with long daily sectors, it has to be a chronograph and a 12-hour chronograph at that.
The tachymeter scale should not interfere with the other dial markers, thus, a clear outer bezel is ideal.
Legibility is paramount especially when the driver is also in the vintage category like his car. That is why I prefer white font on black or charcoal dial.
The chronograph sub-counters should be a different colour from the time portion of the dial. Ideally the chronograph indicator hands should be different from the time indicator hands.
It is de rigueur that hands should be long enough to reach their markers.
I like my dial-side sapphire crystal to be unblemished by printing or laser-etching and preferably enhanced with anti-glare coating.
Added value functions like GMT indicator are bonus points, but if provided, should not interfere with the main chronograph functions.
Finally, the watch should evoke a deep primordial response with sporty red-lining and Vroom Vroom.
This is the Mille Miglia...„la corsa pìu bella del mondo”; it should g-r-o-w-l like a supercharged 4 cylinder behemoth...at least visually with lots of red.
Best Chopard Mille Miglia Race Edition Watch (to date): The 2013 Edition !!!
Sexy mushroom pushers with cross-hatched 'pedals' next to Classic racing logo on the crown.
Elegant Dark Charcoal dial with silver-white sub-counters.
Red chronograph hands with white-tipped central seconds hand give excellent legibility. All hands are long enough to reach their markers.
The GMT indicator arrow does not distract and the 24-hour 2nd time zone markers also do not interfere with the primary functions of the timepiece. I like the way they are off-set from the regular hour markers.
The two chronograph counters are emphasised by being bigger than the running seconds indicator.
Finally, the redline is evocative of the racing line....
Mille Miglia 2013 Race Edition Chronograph with GMT function Ref. 168555-3001
I wonder how they could top this in 2015?
Which Year is your favourite and why?
This message has been edited by MTF on 2015-02-24 06:11:17