Start your engines

Chopard's special edition timepiece celebrates the enduring legacy of the Mille Miglia

Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Chrono.

Like how Chopard annually creates the Red Carpet high-jewellery collection for the Festival de Cannes, the luxury brand releases limited-edition watches to celebrate the Mille Miglia -- the most beautiful race in the world.

Created in 1927 by two aristocrats in Brescia, Italy, the Mille Miglia had racing cars competing on roads rather than tracks. Due to safety reasons, it was discontinued in 1957.

Following its revival, Chopard has been the main partner and official timekeeper of the classic car endurance race since 1988.

The partnership is driven by Chopard co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, who is an avid classic car enthusiast and 31-time Mille Miglia competitor.

Starting and ending in Brescia, the 38th edition of the re-enactment of the historical race was held last October.

A chronograph is an essential operation equipment for rally contestants, and the competing teams were provided the latest Mille Miglia 2020 Race Edition.

The Mille Miglia collection expresses the inextricable link between classic cars and mechanical timepieces.

Starting and ending in Brescia, the Mille Miglia is a classic car race that passes through beautiful towns and countryside in Italy.

Besides two versions of the 2020 Race Edition, the collection includes Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Power Control with a power reserve indicator based on an automotive fuel gauge, and Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Chrono with a sub-dial layout evoking a classic car instrument cluster.

Italian for blue, azzurro was the chosen colour for the dials because of its similarity to the shades of some of the world's great classic cars.

The steely blue hue contrasts beautifully with the Mille Miglia red used for detailing the hands as well as the instantly recognisable 1000 Miglia direction arrow that frames the date window.

Other car-inspired design elements include the steel case with its sides grooved in the style of an engine's piston, while the smoothly-sloping strap lugs are reminiscent of the curvature of hand-crafted coachwork.

The oversized winding crown, meanwhile, recalls the chunky cap of a race-style fuel filler, and the chronograph's pushpieces are deeply engraved in the manner of the anti-slip pattern often applied to the control pedals of competition cars.

Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Power Control.

Limited to 500 pieces, the 43mm Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Power Control offers a distinctive, bi-colour look thanks to its combination of a steel case and 18ct rose gold detailing to the winding crown, bezel, hands and hour markers.

The sapphire crystal on the caseback allows a clear view of the meticulously-decorated mechanical self-winding movement, made entirely in-house and certified by the COSC, the official Swiss chronometer testing institute. The steel ring surrounding the sapphire crystal is marked with the "Brescia > Roma > Brescia" route of the Mille Miglia.

Limited to 750 pieces, the 44mm stainless steel Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Chrono has a solid case back featuring a chequered flag pattern topped by a Mille Miglia arrow, while the "Brescia > Roma > Brescia" legend is marked around the edge.

Its face features a central chronograph hand with a trio of dashboard-like sub dials designed to separately record periods of 60 seconds, 30 minutes and 12 hours.

Robust pump pushpieces ensure the mechanism is quick and easy to stop, start and re-set even when wearing driving gloves, and the varnished blue and grey bezel insert is marked with a tachymeter scale to enable speed and distance calculations.

Even the straps take their cue from the motoring world, combining the classic, perforated leather with a rubber lining that replicates the tread pattern of a Dunlop racing tyre.

Starting and ending in Brescia, the Mille Miglia is a classic car race that passes through beautiful towns and countryside in Italy.

Do you like the content of this article?