On the occasion of the Salon Rétromobile, Chopard is reinterpreting its emblematic chronograph through an exclusive edition of 100-piece numbered timepieces in Lucent Steel™) dedicated to French 'gentlemen drivers'.

Emblematic of Chopard’s passion for motorsport, the Mille Miglia collection welcomes a new model issued as a numbered 100-piece limited edition and available in France. The Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph French Limited Edition will be unveiled at the Salon Rétromobile held from January 31st to February 4th in Paris. Its 40.5 mm-diameter case is made of Lucent Steel™, Chopard’s exclusive high-quality alloy made with a recycling rate of at least 80%. In addition, this timepiece is equipped with a chronograph movement featuring chronometer-certified precision, an ultra-legible tricolour dial and a superb ‘glass box’ crystal giving it a magnificently retro look. Competitive spirit and a self-surpassing ethos; energy and dynamism; speed and style: such are the attributes of the famous Italian 1000 Miglia classic car race – sponsored by Chopard since 1988 – that the Manufacture’s artisans have instilled into this new model eagerly awaited by collectors.

 ‘The most beautiful race in the world’ is inextricably linked with France, not least because it was the success of the Le Mans 24 Hours – first held in 1923 – that helped to inspire four automobile enthusiasts from Brescia to establish the 1000 Miglia. During the 30-year life span of the original 1000 Miglia, French-built cars took part in more editions and won more classes than those from any other country outside Italy. It’s a record to be proud of – and one that is well deserving of being commemorated in the very special Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph French Limited Edition.

Watches and cars: marvels of engineering

Like a timepiece, a vehicle is a marvel of engineering, as all devotees of watchmaking and automobiles know – and Chopard even more so, since the Maison has been inextricably linked with the automobile world since it became world sponsor and official timekeeper for Italy’s celebrated 1000 Miglia way back in 1988.

Reflecting his family’s passion for competition, the Maison’s Co-President, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, has personally taken part in the race every year since, covering more than 30,000 competition miles since 1989.

Within the framework of this partnership – the longest in history between a watchmaker and a motorsports event – the Mille Miglia collection was created, capturing the essence and spirit of what Enzo Ferrari called ‘the most beautiful race in the world’.

The Salon Rétromobile devoted to classic cars – of which this 2024 edition is held in Paris from January 31st to February 4th – offers Chopard the opportunity to reinterpret its Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph model in an exclusive numbered 100-piece limited edition specially presented in the French national colours.

Dynamism and ergonomics

True to the aesthetics of the historic cars registered for the 1000 Miglia, the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Edition France timepiece has a case measuring 40.5 mm in diameter, an optimally ergonomic size when driving, while also remaining as attractive with evening wear as when worn over a racing suit.

Made from Lucent Steel™, the case features all the characteristics associated with Chopard’s exclusive alloy that took a full four years to develop. Named after its luminous, gently reflective appearance that gives it an almost incandescent shimmer, Lucent Steel™ is not only of surgical quality but is 50 % harder than conventional steel – making it uniquely capable of handling the knocks, bumps and scrapes of competitive driving. Responsibly produced with 80% recycled content, Lucent Steel™ is REACH-certified, as well as being naturally anti-allergenic, ensuring it is highly dermo-compatible and pleasant to wear.

The bezels, crowns and pushers are made in this same material with contrasting polished and satin-brushed finishes. Moreover, the pushers are knurled to create a motif recalling brake pedals, while the crown features more notches to enhance the grip. On either end of the case, the lugs are welded – a token of fine craftsmanship sure to be appreciated by devotees of meticulous watchmaking. Finally, the pin buckle picks up the play on polished/satin-brushed finishes featured on the case.

Powerful aesthetics

Preserving strong cues from the automotive world, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele personally devised the design of this model inspired by the colours of the French flag. The midnight blue, white and red transfers on the circular satin-finished silver-toned dial serve twin aesthetic and technical purposes: as well as proudly symbolising the three national colours, they ensure that the indications are perfectly legible. The white minutes track and tachymeter scale – both essential for making speed and distance calculations – remain prominent within this meticulous layout, while the hour-markers as well as the hours and minutes hands are coated with Grade X1 Super-LumiNova® to ensure the high degree of legibility required for night-time driving.

The chronograph seconds hand is red for both practical and style-driven reasons, echoing the famous red 1000 Miglia logo applied to the dial. A true exercise in ‘practical beauty’, the dial is protected by a deep, glass-box sapphire crystal secured by a slim bezel. Watch glasses of this type procure an obvious aesthetic advantage by giving the dial a sense of perspective. They serve to maximise the depth of the dial opening, as light pours in from above as well as from the sides, creating exquisite shimmering effects.

Finally, the timepiece is fitted with a perforated calfskin strap matching the blue hues of the dial and reminiscent of traditional driving gloves.

A watch ‘engine’ with certified precision

The sapphire crystal case-back is adorned with crossed flags: one a black and white chequered racing and the other in the French national colours. It affords a view of the self-winding chronograph movement certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute and endowed with a 54-hour power reserve.

A keen amateur driver himself, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele recognises the importance of being equipped with an accurate chronograph while taking part in events such as the 1000 Miglia, where a few fractions of a second can mean the difference between success or failure in a timed stage.

With the new Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph French Limited Edition, accurate adjustments are also guaranteed by slip-resistant knurled pushers which, as well as being convenient, also add to the watch’s undeniable allure.

This model is clearly intended for drivers seeking to surpass themselves – much in the spirit of the Maison’s legendary ambassador and longstanding friend, six-time Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx.

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