Although Chopard has been in the business of making vintage-inspired, motorsports-inflected chronographs for far longer than the current industry trend, the brand’s Mille Miglia chronograph line has largely shied away from using the worn, faux-patina look that defines so much of the current genre. The latest entry in the Mille Miglia line fully embraces the fauxtina aesthetic, however, with a warm and rounded dial design that charmingly echoes the feel of the classic Italian road race that inspired it. Named for the crucial Raticosa Pass road, famed as one of the finest and most pivotal segments in the Mille Miglia’s route from Brescia, Italy to Rome and back, the new limited edition Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa fully embraces the romantic dolce vita atmosphere and retro charisma of the race that shares its name.
Like many models in the series, the Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa will likely wear slightly large thanks to the design of its 42mm polished stainless steel case. The straight longish lugs, vertical case sides, and wide rounded smooth bezel certainly harken back to the Mille Miglia’s ‘50s heyday, but the cleanliness and simplicity of this design does little to break up its visual profile in images. That said, there is still a fair amount of visual nuance in the case design, particularly in the sloping taper of the piston style pushers and the intricately engraved steering wheel motif on the crown. The Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa’s sapphire display caseback is designed for the widest possible visual aperture, but interestingly this window extends well past the boundaries of the movement within. Chopard does decorate the exposed spacer ring with radial brushing, engraved text, and a nicely rendered engraved Mille Miglia emblem, but all in all it’s a potentially confusing stylistic decision. While the overall case design is a modernized version of ‘50s stylistic themes, the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa’s water resistance is decidedly retro as well, with a rating of only 50 meters.
Chopard offers the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa with a pair of dial options, each of which give the watch a markedly different character. Both variants share the same layout as the rest of the Mille Miglia Classic sub-line, with stylized midcentury printed Arabic numerals, broad sword hands, and a light and rounded approach to dial text that calls to mind vintage Italian road signs. Both versions also share a new khaki lume fill, introducing a warm aged look to the design in images. The white dial model offers the more authentically vintage look of the pair, with a dial surface both the color and texture of an eggshell in images. This creamy off-white tone offers a light and nuanced backdrop for crisp black dial text, without the sense of fauxtina becoming overpowering in photos. The black dial, on the other hand, takes a bolder and more dramatic approach. Rather than a light matte texture, this black surface is shot through with sharp radial brushing, while the subdials receive azurage finishing for added visual complexity. The result will likely be more dynamic and attention-seeking on the wrist, but the use of the same khaki aged tone for both the lume and all dial text may prove controversial among enthusiasts. What may prove even more controversial for both models, however, is the 4:30 date window. While this date display is matched to the dial surrounding it, a no-date variant might have felt cleaner and less visually crowded.
Chopard gives few details about the powerplant inside the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa, but based on previous iterations of the line this is most likely a lightly modified version of the ETA 2894-2 automatic chronograph movement. The view through the display caseback is handsomely decorated, with perlage across the bridges, blued screws, and a signed rotor topped with Côtes de Genève. The movement here is also COSC chronometer certified for accuracy, but power reserve performance remains at an ETA-standard 42 hours at a 28,800 bph beat rate. Chopard pairs the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa with its rubber-lined retromodern take on the classic small hole leather rally strap. Here, the leather is a deep distressed saddle brown, with noticeable crinkling highlights in images. The black rubber lining is a Chopard signature, featuring an inner texture copied directly from the tread pattern of ‘60s Dunlop race tires. Overall, the strap is an intriguing blend of old and new, and a solid complement to the warm aged look of the watch itself.
With a mellow patinated look and fine typographic detail, the limited edition Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa offers one of the Mille Miglia series’ most nostalgic designs to date. Only 500 examples of each dial variant will be made, for a total edition size of 1,000. The Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Raticosa is available now through authorized dealers at an MSRP of $5,900. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.