Since 1988, Chopard has been the official timekeeper of the famous Mille Miglia endurance race – which features more than 400 classic cars competing on a thousand-mile course between Brescia and Rome.
Referred to by Enzo Ferrari as the “world’s most beautiful race”, it inspired an eponymous watch collection created by Chopard, which as of last year are now equipped with manufacture movements.
Following the launch of the Mille Miglia GTS collection in 2015, at Baselworld 2016 Chopard debuted the Mille Miglia GTS Automatic Speed Black. Presented in a 43 mm x 11.43 mm matte black DLC-treated steel case, the watch features bold red “Rossa Corsa” accents and oversized numerals recalling 1950’s dashboards. Additionally, it has engine-style finishing and a strap with a vintage 1960s Dunlop racing tire tread motif.
The dial is matte black, with a red lacquered sweep seconds hand, and white tip. Surrounding the dial is a bright red gasket, that boldly contrasts with the black background and white minute track, and white luminescent facetted baton-shaped hands, as well as the applied Arabic numerals and indexes, which are endowed with white luminescent material. A red arrow with white lettering, that reads “1000 Miglia,” frames the date window at 3 o’clock.
The sapphire crystal on the dial side has a distinctive, bright red gasket, as does the tinted crystal on the caseback. On top of the case is a graduated bezel, with raised, shiny numerals designed to stand out against the same color matte-finished black aluminum insert.
The screw-in caseback is secured by eight PVD-treated black screws and engraved with the inscription “Mille Miglia GTS Speed black.” The stainless steel crown measures 7 mm in diameter and is treated with a black DLC coating matching the rest of the case, as well as a relief engraved vintage-style steering wheel motif. Visible through the tinted caseback is automatic caliber 01.01-M which runs at 4Hz (28,800 vph), has 31 jewels, and a 60-hour power reserve.
The Chopard manufacture movement features unique grooved bridges, echoing the cooling fins on racing cars. The bridges have a grained finish, as opposed to Geneva stripes, and the edges are slightly chamfered but not polished. Along with the skeletonized oscillating weight, and other components, the bridges, and mainplate appear to have a gray ruthenium finish, as opposed to a lighter rhodium finish. The mainplate also features a circular-grained decoration. Notably, the screws are fully polished, providing a bright silver contrast with the primarily dark grey components.
As mentioned above, the Mille Miglia GTS Automatic Speed Black comes with a rubber strap inspired by 1960s Dunlop racing tires, with a bead-blasted DLC-coated blackened stainless steel folding clasp. (Ref. Ref. 168565-3002) Limited to 1000 pieces.
Chopard has taken their Mille Miglia collection and continuously improved on it since the late 1980s, and now with a proper in-house engine inside, the link between car and watch becomes more complete.
Retail is $6,900.