The Mille Miglia, like any other half-decent race or rally, is all about timing. Much more than a straight, speed-fuelled dash to the finish line, the iconic Italian event began as a 1,000 mile road race from Brescia to Rome and back again in the 1920s. Over the years it has gone through many incarnations, but the art of timing has always remained the race’s beating, ticking heart.
So who better to partner with than Chopard? World sponsor of the Mille Miglia, Chopard has been the official timekeeper of the event since 1988. And, every year, the Swiss maison produces a new timepiece to commemorate all of the drivers and daredevils ever to have taken part. This year — and with the rally taking place this week — the Mille Miglia 2021 Race Edition Chronograph has pulled up to the start line.
And what a watch it is. The endless stream of classic cars may turn heads as they tear down the Adriatic Coast and across the Raticosa Pass — but our eyes are fixed firmly on the wrists of the drivers. A chronograph is an essential piece of operational equipment for any serious rally contestant, and every team taking part in the Mille Miglia has been presented with the latest Race Edition before they set off.
Like every other timepiece in the Mille Miglia collection, this latest automatic winding chronograph is resolutely sporty and completely reliable. With a 48 hour power reserve, stop-seconds function and both water-resistance and glare-proofed sapphire crystal, it’s primed and prepared for even the tightest turns and longest stretches of the rally.
This 1000-piece stainless steel version (there is also a 250-piece steel and ethical 18-carat rose gold model), features a slick, greyed dial — with brass base, galvanic grey treatment and circular satin-brushing completed by dial-maker artisans. With three subtle subdials, it also boasts a white-lacquered tachymeter scale — the perfect tool to help racers calculate the average speed during the 1000 Miglia rally.
Around the dial, the bezel takes its visual cues from the dials and gauges of classic automobiles. The case-back, additionally, is secured with screws, and bears a chequered flag, the 1000 Miglia logo and the inscription ‘Brescia > Roma > Brescia’ to further reinforce the relationship between the timepiece and the history rally.
But our favourite touch — as with all other Chopard Mille Miglia timepieces — is that little red arrow. Perhaps the most famous motif of the storied race, it points to the semi-instantaneous date display at 3 o’clock — legible through a date magnifier. And, like the hot-blooded Italian racers who established the event almost one hundred years ago, it serves to signify the unbridled passion that powers this magnificent race.
Chopard Mille Miglia 2021 Race Edition
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