There are plenty of watches tied to auto racing, with big brands acting as sponsors to big racing teams and making splashes with special editions. Chopard has taken a drastically different tack from some of its high-profile counterparts in the racing watch space. For some time now, the brand has focused its racing partnerships on two historic races: the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique and the Mille Miglia, the latter of which acts as the name for the brand’s line of sports watches. The Mille Miglia is a legendary 1,000-mile Italian road race (fine, it’s technically 1,005 miles), originally run from 1927 to 1957 as a true road race, and since 1977 as a celebration of classic cars taken at a slightly more leisurely pace. The race runs a round trip from Brescia to Rome and back, and is limited to models that actually entered one of the original races held from 1927 to 1957 — meaning it’s chock full of beautiful vintage automobiles. For 2022, in celebration of the 40th running of the modern Mille Miglia, the brand has released a pair of limited-edition Chopard Mille Miglia 2022 Race Edition watches, offered in stainless steel or two-tone stainless steel and ethical 18k rose gold.
Like prior years’ editions, the Chopard Mille Miglia 2022 Race Edition watches feature a 44mm case with a well-proportioned 13.79mm thickness. While it won’t wear small, it’s a thinner profile than most automatic chronographs, which means it might be a surprise on the wrist. The case’s design is straightforward, which allows the dial to do the talking. On both the stainless steel and the two-tone model, the case is brushed throughout, save for the crown, pushers, and bezel (which are all rendered in ethical 18k rose gold on the two-tone model). The screw-down crown, nestled neatly in the guards, features a steering wheel motif, while the piston pushers have a crisscross knurling. The crown looks designed to be easily gripped and helps to ensure 100m of water resistance. The bezel features a single groove around its side and a decidedly slim ceramic insert in blue with white demarcations inspired by midcentury Italian road signs. The slender bezel is sure to make known the 44mm diameter, though the short, wide lugs may offer some relief. On the reverse, the screw-down caseback features a polished Mille Miglia motif on a frosted background, surrounded by text including the course’s route, “Brescia > Roma > Brescia,” and limited-edition numbering.
Beneath the domed sapphire crystal, Chopard has updated the dial from last year’s Race Edition. The dial is driven by legibility, evidenced by the large hands and indices, along with the contrasting finishes. Surrounding the circular-brushed, silver-gray dial is a sloped chapter ring with five-minute numbering and hashes at each minute plus quarter-minute markings, sure to aid in to-the-second timing. The applied hour markers feature blue CVD-treated markers filled with Super-LumiNova; their design and color are mirrored by the large minute and hour hands. The dial features three subdials as dictated by the 7750 movement: a 30-minute counter at 12, a 12-hour counter at 6, and a running seconds at 9. The two chronograph counters feature partial radial grooving with a red-tipped hand matching the central chronograph hand in a nod to Mille Miglia Red (which, by the way, is a color used by General Motors on the Corvette). The running seconds contrasts those with a solid blued hand and a fully grooved surface. The dial is rounded out by a magnified 3 o’clock date (with the cyclops on the sapphire’s underside) and the Mille Miglia logo.
The Chopard Mille Miglia 2022 Race Edition is powered by a Swiss automatic chronograph movement. It’s not specified by the brand which automatic chronograph caliber this is but given the specs and dial layout, along with the brand’s use of ETA calibers in other models, the good money is on it being an ETA 7750. As specified by Chopard, the movement provides a power reserve of 48 hours and runs at 28,800 bph for a smooth sweep. Chopard has gone the extra step to have the movement chronometer-certified by COSC. While a chronograph is the obvious choice for any racing watch, the modern Mille Miglia is run as a regularity race, where the object is to complete each segment in a specific time at a specific average speed. Although the race officials use GPS, pressure pads, and timekeeping staff to track progress, it won’t hurt teams to have a chronometer-certified chronograph along for the ride to keep their own time. Completing the package, this year’s Race Edition is fitted with a racing strap with a brown leather topside and blue rubber backing with a tread pattern taken from 1960s Dunlop racing tires.
While Chopard may be receiving more acclaim these days for its beautiful Alpine Eagle collection, sleeping on the Mille Miglia is a rookie mistake. Chopard’s interest in motorsports is as deep as it is sincere: as in years past, Chopard Co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele will take part in the race in his family’s 1955 Mercedes Benz 300 SL, this year with his daughter Caroline-Marie at his side. The Chopard Mille Miglia 2022 Race Edition is a racing watch from a brand that loves racing, as well as a classic chronograph with an approachable design that commemorates an epic Italian tradition. While 1,000 pieces of the stainless steel Race Edition will be produced, just 250 of the two-tone steel and ethical 18K rose gold model will be made. The Chopard Mille Miglia 2022 Race Edition watches are available now through authorized dealers with pricing set at $7,700 for stainless steel and $11,400 for two-tone. For more details, please visit Chopard’s website.