The Mille Miglia (“a thousand miles” in Italian) is an open road race that originally took place from 1927 to 1957. Covering roughly 1,000 miles, it took participants from Brescia to Rome and back in a loop that guaranteed the loveliest views of the Italian countryside. Because of this, it is also called the most beautiful race in the world.
Although the race was discontinued due to safety concerns, it made a return in 1977 as a regularity event, the Mille Miglia Storica. Open to classic car models that had taken part in the race’s original form, with an additional requirement that participating vehicles be produced no later than 1957, the Mille Miglia today is an exuberant celebration of a bygone era in motorsports.
Chopard has supported the Mille Miglia as its main sponsor and official timekeeper since 1988, and its co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele frequently participates in the race as a driver. The brand’s support for the race extends to watchmaking, of course ‒ Chopard has produced limited edition timepieces that pay tribute to the race and its spirit annually since 1988. The 2019 version of this line, which dates back over three decades, is the Chopard Mille Miglia 2019 Race Edition timepiece.
This year’s variant is themed on vintage automobile racing, rather than today’s high octane motorsports. To that end, it’s styled classically, beginning with a 44-millimetre wide case that bears gentle curves reminiscent of vintage cars. Silvers, blacks and greys dominate the watch, with the monochromatic colourway punctuated only by dashes of red on the chronograph hands and the Mille Miglia signature at three o’clock. The result is legibility and a quiet, confident vibe. A calf leather strap ‒ perforated like classic driving gloves ‒ completes the package design-wise.
Given its vintage motor racing roots, it’s no surprise that this watch is equipped with a chronograph complication. The tachymeter scale that’s on the bezel is par for the course as well, naturally. With these, the wearer isn’t just able to time specific events, such as the time taken to travel one mile, but also instantly read off its related rate, in this case the car’s speed in miles per hour.
A simple date display that’s underneath a magnifier on the sapphire crystal rounds out the timepiece’s complications. The icing on the cake? The watch’s movement is COSC- certified, and has a fairly decent 48-hour power reserve.
The Chopard Mille Miglia 2019 Race Edition is available in a limited run of 1,000 pieces in steel. A reference in steel and rose gold is also available in a 250-piece limited edition.