October 7, 2021
Over the past several years, Bamford Watch Department’s signature blacked-out minimal custom aesthetic has made appearances on watches from Rolex to TAG Heuer, Zenith, and even Casio, winning a dedicated enthusiast following in the process. Bamford’s latest collaboration partner is independent brand Chopard, which offers up its Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph for customization. With a legacy in vintage auto racing and stylistic roots in ‘50s Italian motorsports, the Mille Miglia series isn’t the most obvious candidate for an ultramodern monochrome reimagining, but the end result is distinctive, bold, and instantly striking. With its intriguing visual blend of classic and modern cues coupled to excellent finishing, the limited-run Chopard Mille Miglia Bamford Edition offers up one of the most unique and handsomely aggressive takes on the Mille Miglia line to date.
Measuring in at a sporty 42mm across, the stainless steel case of the Chopard Mille Miglia Bamford Edition follows the same rounded midcentury pattern as the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph, but substitutes the standard polished look for a fully bead blasted DLC coated finish in deep gunmetal gray. While the cheerful dolce vita spirit of the original lives on in the wide rounded bezel and simple curving lugs, this warm vintage form takes on a more purposeful and aggressive tone in images thanks to its dark matte finish. Elements like the stout piston pushers and broad steering wheel-motif crown have a more function-forward feel here, while the darker color and matte finish will likely visually slim this design somewhat on the wrist. Like the standard model, the Mille Miglia Bamford Edition offers a sapphire display caseback, and the water resistance rating remains a fragile 50 meters.
In typical Bamford fashion, the dial of the Chopard Mille Miglia Bamford Edition reimagines the dial of the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph in a stark monochrome look with pops of vibrant color. The color of choice is a bright, almost neon traffic-cone orange in initial images, highlighting the outer tachymeter scale, the central chronograph seconds hand, and the subdials with vibrant dynamic contrast. The 9 o’clock chronograph minutes subdial incorporates the color particularly well, breaking up the scale into three 10-minute segments in orange, black, and a neutral sky gray. Like with other forms of minimalism, the strength of a monochrome design hinges upon fine nuances, and the Mille Miglia Bamford Edition succeeds here on the visual balance between its shades and the variety of its visual textures. True black is relegated to accents in initial images, forming the base for the outer tachymeter ring, the Mille Miglia’s broad sword handset, and the azurage surfaces of the subdials. A design including such a saturated orange, deep blacks, and a pure white might come across as unsophisticated or overwhelming visually, and to preserve a more nuanced low-contrast look the highlights of the Mille Miglia Bamford Edition’s dial are almost exclusively in a pale neutral gray. Everything from the dial text to the lume in the line’s stylized midcentury Italian-inspired printed Arabic numerals uses this subtler tone, while the main dial surface forms an anchoring visual midpoint in a deep and grainy matte concrete gray. The only exception to this balanced and charismatic colorway is the 4:30 date display, which uses slightly disruptive bright white text and notably affects overall dial symmetry. Beneath the new ultramodern colorway, the dial of the Mille Miglia Bamford Edition is still identical to the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph, and the vintage warmth of the rounded dial text softens the overall look in initial images to create a more approachable feel.
Like the standard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph, the Chopard Mille Miglia Bamford Edition is powered by a modified version of the long-serving ETA 2894-2 automatic modular chronograph movement. In terms of decoration, this movement is nearly identical to standard production Mille Miglias, but the use of a smoked gray crystal for the display caseback gives a new visual character to the familiar mix of Côtes de Genève and perlage. Performance is similarly unchanged from regular production variants, with a COSC chronometer certification for accuracy thanks in part to an annular balance featuring a spring with a flat terminal curve. Power reserve is slightly disappointing for this price range, however, with a 42 hour rating at a 28,800 bph beat rate. Chopard pairs the Mille Miglia Bamford Edition with a textured black rubber strap featuring dial-matching orange contrast stitching. With its woven surface and vibrant highlights, this is a natural complement to the dial in initial images, and sharply reinforces the Bamford Edition’s more modern and aggressive ethos.
Featuring an impressively nuanced new colorway and masculine matte texturing throughout, the new limited Chopard Mille Miglia Bamford Edition is a sharp and stylish departure from the line’s traditional aesthetic touchstones, with a bold and intriguing new personality. Only 33 examples of the Chopard Mille Miglia Bamford Edition will be made, and the watch is available now through authorized dealers at an MSRP of £6,950. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.