CHOPARD Mille Miglia Race Watches 1997 - 2014: Which is the Best?

Feb 09, 2015,21:12 PM

CHOPARD Mille Miglia Race Watches 1997 - 2014 Retrospective

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”.

Jay Leno

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 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

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Comments: view entire thread


1997 or 1998, for me. Great souvenirs!

 By: amanico : February 9th, 2015-22:16
The 2009 has the same spirit, for me. Excellent idea, to recap all the versions! Best, Nicolas

1997 and 1998 Editions

 By: MTF : February 10th, 2015-02:04
Nico 1997 edition was in the vintage 'Classic' style that they brought back for 2014. I would EXPECT you to like that. ;) 2014 I left out the ones without GMT movement because I don't like the date window at 'half-past-four' that you get with the straight...  

The 2014 is not bad at all! How could I miss it???

 By: amanico : February 10th, 2015-03:00
With a Dunlop strap and badaboum, a killer! Best, Nicolas

Period Correctness?

 By: MTF : February 10th, 2015-03:13
Nico, How can you ask for rubber strap with the Mille Miglia 2014 Race Edition? That would not be correct for the period. The watch pays tribute to the oldest cars from the 1920s and 1930s. That is why the usual 1960s Dunlop Racing style rubber strap is r... 

This one ...

 By: nilomis : February 10th, 2015-03:51
Just because it carries the last name of my most recent granddaughter: Now, family matters aside, the 2014 looks almost perfect: My only complain is the date (also called Nicolas syndrome). Without the date ... Perfect. Cheers, Nilo ...  

Your grand-daughter is called Competitor?

 By: MTF : February 10th, 2015-04:05
:-) Perhaps she is little Miss Ferrara or a Roma by name? Thanks for your vote for the 2014 Edition.. I did not like the Chopard Mille Miglia 2014 Race Edition at first look. It seemed wishy-washy in pale colours compared to recent trends for more red and... 

Good guess but ...

 By: nilomis : February 10th, 2015-04:38
I believe that my daughter reject the "Competitor" as a name. She also reject the 100m!!! Little Miss Ferrara (I'm so absented minded that I triple check before I did the original post) is the correct name. About straps, I agree with your taste to Barenia... 

Are you psychic?

 By: MTF : February 10th, 2015-04:44
Shell Cordovan is great material for racing apparel and maybe you know something about future designs for CHOPARD and Porsche Motorsport watches? ;) As the MM 2014 Race Edition is a tribute to vintage classic racing, they must use calfskin. I like Barenia... 

Great report and excellent reference for all PuristS,

 By: timerider : February 10th, 2015-12:25
this is a real treat! The 2012 is my idea of a great balance of all the elements and so classy IMHO. I own the 1998 and will always own it as it is the first watch my wife ever purchased for me. I just hope to get over to Italy one day and enjoy the race ... 

I'm gonig to count that as a vote for 2012

 By: MTF : February 10th, 2015-16:03
timerider, With the 1998 edition, you were and are a captive audience; it is a matter of the heart. ;) But your description of the 2012 edition is from the soul. It was on my shortlist and in fact, came 2nd after the 2013 edition. Regards, MTF

Great minds...

 By: CaliforniaJed : February 10th, 2015-15:10
think differently! The ’97 and ’98 examples seem to me the quintessential Mille Miglia watches. And I like 2012, MTF. It would be my favorite, in fact, but for the GMT complication, which seems superfluous on this watch. My favorite, though, is the 2008 G...  

Counting the vote for 2008 but also teasing with another

 By: MTF : February 10th, 2015-16:08
Jed, I count your vote for the 2008 limited edition. Just to be 'ornery' I tease you with a non-limited 2008 Mille Miglia watch disallowed entry to the voting race. Regards, MTF ...  

i don't know, which one and why i should choose, but ...

 By: only5402 : February 10th, 2015-22:59
... what a great job to do this thread, so that we can find all these watches here! regards Stephan

We need your help and vote because...

 By: MTF : February 11th, 2015-04:12
Stephan, First, we are a community so your personal opinion matters to our participants. Second, we are interested in which style of Mille Miglia Race watches are popular. There are 2 lines - Classic and Modern Racing and 3 types of functions previously o... 

so i vote for the 2004 version and for a next time version ...

 By: only5402 : February 11th, 2015-07:32
i think it could be a one near by this 2004 modern/classic design, but without GMT and tachy bezel. regards Stephan

Well, MTF...

 By: marcelo : February 16th, 2015-17:55
Before reaching your criteria I had already and in a heartbeat chosen the Mille Miglia 2013. ;) Marcelo

Thanks for your vote for 2013

 By: MTF : February 16th, 2015-18:07
marcelo, When you chose 2013, was it in real life or just our fantasy league? :-) If you liked the 2013 edition, what do you hope for the 2015 version....? Eh? Regards, MTF

Fantasy, MTF.

 By: marcelo : February 18th, 2015-17:59
Unfortunately. :-( About the 2015 edition, I hope to be surprised. ;) Best! Marcelo

Dichotomy between expectation and surprise

 By: MTF : February 19th, 2015-00:59
marcelo, Now, you made me philosophical. From Chopard, we EXPECT nothing less than perfection. How can we be SURPRISED when we already expect that? Actually, I think the 2015 Mille Miglia watches may even surpass 2013..... For aesthetic and technique. Our... 

Great overview! Thanks! Several of the Chopard Mille Miglia models call out to me.

 By: ThomasM : February 19th, 2015-05:57
Of course, getting one as a Valentine's gift from a dearly beloved, with cert and manual signed by Dr. Zagato himself, makes one particular variant just extra extra special to me... :-) Thanks for the overview!

The 2004 GMT style is ace

 By: Alfalund : February 21st, 2015-23:29
Particularly this black/red design with the carbon fiber dial - special Dubai 250 limited edition 2007 MM GMT Dubai Edition ...  


 By: Gary Dudley : March 17th, 2019-10:46
I own an 8141 from 1988, it was attached to car number 215 a Porsche 955 and it is confirmed on the back of the watch that it was a true Mille Miglia 8141. However, the red arrow is not on the face of. the race models, I believe that the commercial or aft... 

8141 Mille MIGLIA -Event presentation watch

 By: derfphantom356 : July 10th, 2019-06:44
Gary I was after much trawling interested to read your note on the participant presentation watch I took part in the MILLE MIGLIA in 1987/88/89 in 1955 PORSCHE 550 Spyder with event number 193 and still have my watch with no red arrows and the start numbe...