March 13, 2017
Chopard‘s latest release may not come as a surprise to many enthusiasts, but it brings an interesting update to their racing-themed Mille Miglia collection. For Baselworld 2017, the Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph ref. 168589-3002 brings some styling changes to the XL version of the classic model we reviewed here back in August 2016, most notable of which is a substantial reduction in case size from 46mm to 42mm wide. An interesting thing to note is that this particular model will be launched alongside a women’s model of the same series, the Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Ref. 178588-3001.
Both models will be available in 50m water-resistant stainless steel with the men’s version measuring in at 42mm, and the women’s at 39mm – which is a bit on the large side for women’s watches but becoming more common. Additionally, both models will come on the standard “Tire Tread” rubber strap that Chopard fans have come to know.
In addition to aesthetic similarities, both watches feature a self-winding, COSC Chronometer-certified, movement beating at 28,800vph with a 42-hour power reserve. You can clearly see through the display caseback in these release images the movement stamped with “ETA 2894-2” (right under the balance wheel). This ETA chronograph is distinct from the Valjoux 7750 and uses a module built on top of the well-regarded 2892-2 automatic movement.
There are a few things to note on the 168589-3002 compared to the older version. As previously mentioned, size is significantly reduced from the previous (and most closely resembling) iteration with a case that measured in at 46mm, whereas the newest model sports a popular size at 42mm. The chronograph registers have also brandished a change. Instead of the gray and black color tone, Chopard went with a consistent black tone throughout the dial. While many of the aesthetics of the watch remain from earlier versions, small changes give the piece some uniformity and consistency. The women’s model will be available in a mother-of-pearl dial, with a diamond studded bezel.
To be fair, the updated Mille Miglia doesn’t bring any over-the-top changes to the collection. The Arabic numerals are still their 1920s-dashboard-inspired selves, the date window still resides between the 4 and 5 o’clock indices, and the minutes, hours, and chronograph hands remain mostly untouched. Much of the retro-charm is still there, and I feel that the Mille Miglia logo fits the watch best in the very spot it remains. As before, the tachymeter remains inside the crystal, a feature that can make the dial feel busy, but that can arguably be boiled down to preference.
As an admitted Chopard enthusiast myself, I can be candid in saying that I’ve never been a fan of the chronograph subdials’ placement hindering or cutting into the numerals on the classic model. I’ve always found the style to fit a more modern design, and it just feels cluttered on a classically designed piece. I was hoping that this model would rectify the awkward “half numerals” on the bottom of the dial as much older versions of the timepiece did in years past.
Now, that said, what I do appreciate is the uniformity that this dial presents compared to the previous model. Deciding on coloring the Chronograph modules a sleek black brings a bit of a modern touch to a classic and reasonably retro design. Cut-off numerals or not, I would still enjoy wearing this Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph with a suit or a T-shirt, as I feel it is a great example of a watch that melds sporty and dressy in the same design.
Regardless of my personal preference, the Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Ref. 168589-3002 and the Ref. 178588-3001 are solid additions to the already well-received Mille Miglia collection. The aesthetic changes add to legibility and clarity, and getting in on the “his & hers” couple’s watches could prove to be a profitable move for Chopard who is already strong in jewelry, of course, and women’s pieces.
Even casual fans of motorsports will enjoy the Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph’s subtle nods to the industry during the ’20s and ’30s, and they will be able to do so while wearing a modern watch on their wrist. Price for the men’s Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Ref 168589-3002 is $4,900 USD, and the women’s Ref 178588-3001 is $11,900. chopard.com