For a relationship to last for three decades, it must be something rather magical. Indeed, the partnership between Chopard and the Mille Miglia classic car rally is a special one. This year, to commemorate such a joyous landmark, Chopard had decided to create a limited edition timepiece. Cue the Chopard Mille Miglia 2018 Race Edition.
The Mille Miglia, for those who are not into cars, is a special classic racing event to commemorate the endurance motor sport racing that was held between 1927 to 1957. It was revived in 1982, in which it became a classic car road rally event. True to its nomenclature, the race lasts for 1,000 mile (1,600 km), from Brescia, to Rome, and back.
The Scheufele’s family is a fervent supporter and participant of the Mille Miglia. In a recent interview, legendary racer Jacky Ickx, told us that Chopard Co-President, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele has participated in almost all of the Mille Miglia races that were held since its revival. In fact, the relationship was so close that Chopard is the official partner and official timekeeper of the famous classic car rally since 1988. Since then, Chopard have presented a limited edition timepiece for the race, and this year’s watch is even more special – to celebrate the brand’s 30th year of partnership with the race itself.
Chopard Mille Miglia 2018 Race Edition
The Case, Dial, and Hands
The 42mm timepiece is what we expect of a normal chronograph. The watch features a rounded case, with a crown and two pump pushers at the right side of the watch. The size is pretty elegant and appropriate for a sports-related timepiece in this era. This is also marketed as an instrument for gentlemen drivers, and the size allows the watch to display its various functions large enough for users to view.
The main highlight for the Mille Miglia 2018 Race Edition perhaps lies in its dial. The watch is fitted with a dashboard-inspired circular-grained anthracite dial, with white transfer-printed railroad markings and tachymeter scale surrounding it. It is also paired with white luminous numerals, as well as three rhodium plated sub-dials which adds contrast to the grey dial. The dial is also printed with a conspicuously red Mille Miglia logo at the 12 o’clock position, and it is finished with a date window at the 4:30 position. The layout of the dial is simple, and the contrast certainly makes it easier for the users to tell the elapsed time from the chronograph function. We certainly appreciate the little details involved, and we also think that the contrast adds a nice touch to the timepiece. Our only qualm is perhaps the fact that there is a date window at the 4:30 position; we think that with this sub-dial layout, the watch will look symmetrical with the omission of the date window (or perhaps, re-positioning the date window to the 6 o’clock position). However, some users appreciate the usefulness of the date window, and we reckon it still boils down to personal preferences eventually.
The entire package is completed with the luminous sword hands on the watch. There is also an additional hand for the chronograph and/or tachymeter function, and the red tip on the hand adds a nice touch to the racing pedigree of the watch.
The Mille Miglia 2018 Race Edition is fitted with a Chronometer-certified (COSC) movement. The self-winding calibre beats at 28,800 vph, and it boasts a decent power reserve of around 42 hours. The movement can be viewed from the exhibition caseback, although a large portion of it is blocked by the printed inscription on the crystal.
The movement is adequately finished, although one should not expect it to be as elaborate as the L.U.C collection. At its price point, we find that it is reasonably done.
In terms of function, as mentioned, the watch has a chronograph function and an additional date display. This is pretty much what a watch as such is intended for, and we think that the functions are sufficient for a gentleman driver that is taking part in the Mille Miglia.
The Competitive Landscape
In the competitive landscape, there are some watches that has a certain degree of racing pedigree.
The new Mille Miglia 2018 Race Edition is a good-looking watch, no doubts about that. It is available in two variants: the first in stainless steel, and the second in two-tone (18k rose gold and stainless steel). The former is priced at CHF 5,450 (approximately S$7,711), while the latter retails at CHF 7,750 (approximately S$10,965). The stainless steel model is limited to a production of 1,000 pieces, and the more exclusive two-tone variant has a production run of 100 pieces.
Between the two pieces, the two-tone variant gets our pick. We think that the 18k rose gold adds a nice touch and contrast to the timepiece, and it accentuates the elegance of the Mille Miglia race. It is also much rarer than the stainless steel piece, which we believe collectors and/or classic car racing drivers will appreciate. After all, exclusivity is the name of the game within this community.
So on to other watches linked to racing:
The TAG Heuer Monza is certainly one of the first watches that will come to mind. Named after the famed racing circuit in Italy and produced to commemorate Niki Lauda, the black PVD watch is certainly a piece for motoring enthusiasts. It is a tad different from the Mille Miglia, but the racing pedigree remains. It is priced at US$5,250 (approximately S$7,182), which is not too far off from the stainless steel variant of the Mille Miglia 2018 Race Edition.
Moving up the price ladder, we have the Speedmaster Racing. This model – unlike the “Moonwatch” – is fitted with Omega’s Co-axial movement. The watch’s dial pays homage to the original “racing dial” that was featured in the vintage Speedmasters. Again, this is a modern looking piece, which is a tad different from the Chopard. This is priced at S$11,700.
Finally, we put the Mille Miglia 2018 Race Edition vis-à-vis with its predecessor – the 2017 Race Edition. The 2017 edition features a different dial layout, and its aesthetics is noticeably more contemporary as compared to its successor. It is slightly larger at 44mm too. In addition to that, the watch is fitted with a COSC-certified movement, although it comes with a solid caseback. It is priced slightly lower though, at S$6,840.
Overall, we think that the Mille Miglia 2018 Race Edition is a nice watch. In fact, we think that it is a notch up against its predecessor. The watch comes with some nice features, such as the use of a black calfskin strap (with rubber lining inspired by 1960s Dunlop racing tyre tread) and the presence of an exhibition caseback. We also think that the classic design looks much better, and it is certainly more versatile for different occasions.
What are your thoughts? Is the 2018 Race Edition the best Mille Miglia timepiece from Chopard currently? Let us know in the comments section below.