INTRODUCING: Chopard Mille Miglia 2022 Race Edition
Sexy, rally-inspired timepieces not just for fans of the vintage car race.
Flooring the pedal in old racecars feels like a universe away from the Cannes- and celebrity-induced world of glitz that Chopard inhabits, especially if the company was wearing its hat as a jeweller for the rich and famous. But if the Mille Miglia race (Italian for ‘Thousand Mile’) and, consequently, the annual limited edition watches that bear its name are anything to go by, the desire to rev classic cars down bucolic Italian country roads is just as wired in Chopard’s DNA as the need to shine at any glamorous red carpet-do.
Indeed, Chopard’s co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, a lifelong petrol-head, once admitted to having a passion for cars before his obsession with watches took over. It was his passion for motor racing that got Scheufele involved with the Mille Miglia vintage car rally in 1989, which in turn inspired him to create Chopard Mille Miglia commemorative watches. In the beginning, the watches were issued only to race competitors. (Until today, all participating drivers still receive a Mille Miglia watch engraved with his or her car’s number.) But of course, it didn’t take long before commercial runs of Mille Miglia editions were produced to satiate public demand for the dynamic and luxurious sports collection.
This year, Chopard continues its yearly rollout of the collection with the Mille Miglia 2022 Race Edition. Sheathed in blue and grey, the watches are available in 1,000 pieces in stainless steel, and 250 pieces in bi-metal stainless steel and 18k ethical rose gold. Despite the new models’ inherently luxurious disposition, evident from their well-constructed cases, refined finishing, and solid chronograph engines inside, there is a distinctly retro feel about the Mille Miglia 2022 Race Editions.
The watches’ 44mm cases amplify the throwback-inspired qualities: huge stopwatch-like chronograph pump pushers (in ethical gold for the bi-metal model), old-style tachymeter scale on the bezel, and tri-compax chronograph totalisers with a snailed pattern that contrasts against a circular brushed grey dial. Between the two variants, we’d go for the full stainless steel model for its ‘cleaner’ aesthetic that better conveys the collection’s sportive spirit. It must be said, though, that the regal embellishment on the bi-metal version isn’t that far-out or ostentatious either.
Although they have evolved over the years, Chopard’s Mille Miglia watches are always distinguished by two key design signatures. The first is its rubber strap, which is stamped with the Dunlop tyre pattern. On these new models with calfskin straps, the motif appears on the underside rubber lining. The second feature is the Mille Miglia’s red arrow logo, which you can find at three o’clock, next to the date window.
On the screw-down caseback, which looks uncannily like a tyre rim, you can find more hat-doffs to the race. The caseback is engraved with the Mille Miglia logo, the rally’s ‘Brescia > Roma > Brescia’ route, and the watch’s limited edition number. Although you don’t see it, underneath the hood is a powerful and precise COSC-certified automatic chronograph movement with 48-hour power reserve.
Given its history, the Mille Miglia 2022 Race Edition may have been made for fans of the vintage car rally. Even so, as a machismo-laded, retro-inspired chronograph from a prestigious brand with proper technical chops, the watch has enough qualities to get neutrals over the line.
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