Chopard's Mille Miglia collection combines the charm of historical race cars with the precision of COSC-certified calibers. Fans of watches and motorsport alike value these watches, and the different special editions are true collector's items.
The Mille Miglia collection from the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Chopard pays tribute to the eponymous classic car race that takes place in northern Italy every year. Fittingly, the different designs all take their inspiration from the dashboards found in historical racing cars. There are dials that resemble tachymeters or r.p.m. counters, crowns built to look like fuel caps, and chronograph push-pieces designed after an engine's cylinder heads. This theme flows all the way down to the rubber straps, which mimic the treads of Dunlop tires from the 1960s.
Chopard splits this collection into two categories. The first is the classic Mille Miglia – a retro racing chronograph with three subdials and a date display. The second group is the Mille Miglia Gran Turismo. It has a more modern design and is available as a three-hand model in addition to a chronograph.
That being said, these sports watches have more to offer than beautiful exteriors alone: Their inner workings are just as impressive. Most feature chronometer-certified calibers from the ébauche manufacturer ETA. Some limited edition models even use in-house calibers, which are, of course, also COSC-certified chronometers.
The stainless steel, rose gold, or titanium cases measure between 42 and 46 mm in diameter, resulting in fantastic men's watches. However, Chopard also offers a 39-mm version of the Mille Miglia for women.
|Mille Miglia Classic XL 90th Anniversary||29,000 USD||L.U.C 03.07-L1||Flyback chronograph|
|Mille Miglia GTS Power Control Gold||15,000 USD||Chopard 01.08-C||Date, power reserve indicator|
|Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph 39||9,100 USD||ETA 2894-2||Chronograph, date, diamonds|
|Mille Miglia Racing Colors||4,500 USD||ETA 2894-2||Chronograph, date|
|Mille Miglia GTS Automatic||4,100 USD||Chopard 01.01-C||Date|
|Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph||3,800 USD||ETA 2894-2||Chronograph, date|
The collection's original model is the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph. This edition has been part of Chopard's catalog since 1988 and has remained largely unchanged ever since. Chopard has always imagined this timepiece as a retro stainless steel racing chronograph with a design based on the dashboard instruments found in historical race cars. A tachymeter scale is another permanent feature of this collection. You'll find it on the bezel of older timepieces. Current models have this scale around the outer edge of their dials.
Chopard has equipped this watch with different movements over the years. For example, earlier versions use the Valjoux 7750, which has since been replaced by the ETA 2894-2 in more recent models. Both are COSC-certified chronometers that provide their timepieces with a small seconds dial, date display, and minute and hour counters.
Plan to spend some 3,800 USD on a current Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph. You can purchase well-maintained pieces from previous generations starting around 2,700 USD. Limited editions like the Mille Miglia Classic XL, which was created in honor of the rally's 90th anniversary, demand much higher prices. This 18-karat rose gold watch uses the in-house L.U.C caliber 03.07-L1 and costs about 29,000 USD.
The Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph 39 shines in pure white. Unlike the standard 42-mm case, this timepiece measures only 39 mm in diameter, making it an attractive women's watch. Since both versions feature identical technology, their prices are very similar. The 39-mm white edition sells for around 3,900 USD. If you'd prefer something a bit more opulent, this timepiece is also available with a diamond-studded bezel for about 9,100 USD.
Each year, Chopard releases a new Mille Miglia model in anticipation of that year's race. Most Race Editions are limited to runs of 1,000 pieces and stand out thanks to their dial designs. Some have guilloché engraving, while others have a perlage or shimmery sunburst finish. Their numerals are inspired by fonts from the mid-20th century.
Fans of motorsport are sure to enjoy the Racing Colors series from 2018. Its dials come in the colors introduced in 1910 to help tell the different drivers' nationalities apart. There's the "Speed Silver" for Germany, "Rosso Corsa" (red) for Italy, "British Racing Green" for the UK, "Speed Yellow" for Belgium, and "Vintage Blue" for France.
Prices for the annual race editions mostly fall between 2,600 and 7,500 USD. The watch's condition and movement have the biggest effect on its price. Those with an ETA or Valjoux caliber tend to cost less than those with an in-house caliber.
Watches in the Mille Miglia Gran Turismo series put a modern spin on the classic models. While they follow the same principles, Gran Turismo watches use race cars from the 60s, 70s, and 80s as their inspiration. This line contains chronographs based on the Valjoux 7750 as well as three-hand models. The latter features in-house calibers made in the company's factory in Fleurier, Switzerland. What's more, these "simpler" timepieces come with the option of an additional power reserve indicator. You can choose from a stainless steel, rose gold, or titanium case.
The most affordable models have three hands and are made of stainless steel. Be sure to set aside anywhere from 3,500 to 4,500 USD for one of these timepieces. On the other hand, stainless steel chronographs demand around 5,300 USD new and 4,200 USD pre-owned. If you prefer titanium, that price climbs to about 6,200 USD. Watches made of 18-karat rose gold require a larger investment of 15,000 to 17,000 USD.
The Mille Miglia (Italian for "1,000 miles") was one of the world's first endurance road races. The inaugural race took place in 1927. Since then, this rally has evolved into an annual event. The route takes drivers from the northern Italian city of Brescia to Rome and back. It all came to a sudden end in 1957. That year, the Spaniard Alfonso de Portago was driving his Ferrari 335 S when a damaged tire caused him to crash into the crowd at full speed. The accident resulted in the deaths of Portago, his co-driver, and nine spectators, including five children. The resulting public pressure led to the event's organizers banning the rally.
The race was resurrected in 1977 under the name Mille Miglia Storica. Today's version of this classic car rally is reserved exclusively for cars used in the races that took place between 1927 and 1957. Instead of focusing on speed, the modern Mille Miglia is more about a passion for restored classic cars and getting to know like-minded individuals.
Chopard's CEO, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, always participates. In fact, he helped make Chopard the race's official timekeeper in 1988 – a role they still play to this day. The luxury watch brand pays tribute to this rally in the form of a watch collection and by releasing a new limited edition for each race.