The Chopard Mille Miglia 2016 XL Race Edition
The Chopard Mille Miglia XL Race Edition has been one of the nicest surprises I discovered at Baselworld 2016. Despite the fact that I am a big fan of modern and sport cars rather than classic ones, the Mille Miglia race represents, without a doubt, a milestone in the history of car racing and Chopard are strictly tied – and always will – to the Mille Miglia race. It is somehow unthinkable that, one day, the winner of the re-edition of this car race could be awarded a different timepiece than a Chopard watch.
Every year, Chopard launch a limited edition piece dedicated to the historic race that, this year, will take place between the 19th and the 22nd of May. That new chronograph is one of the most sought-after limited edition pieces among sport chronographs’ fans, it is a must-have-item for all gentleman drivers – among whom is also Chopard’s current president –. This year, there are two special reasons why this timepiece is getting more and more interesting and precious; only 1,000 pieces of it will be released and, moreover, it will also be equipped with an in-house built caliber.
The second piece of news that will contribute to the dramatic increase in value of this somehow vintage-looking chronograph is that the Chopard Mille Miglia 2016 XL Race Edition will be equipped with the new in-house built 03.05-CI caliber. For the last few years, Chopard have been an integrated manufacture and the presence of an in-house built chronograph movement hosted inside the case of a Mille Miglia timepiece will finally transform an already good sporty chronograph into an outstanding high-range one.
This is the reason why this one is the first Chopard timepiece that we have decided to tackle after Baselworld. Chopard have held nothing back; the 03.05-CI caliber is a very refined movement running at a frequency of 4Hz, sporting a visible column-wheel mechanism, guaranteeing up to 60 hours of power reserve and a COSC-issued chronometer certification.
The brand has adopted again every single feature that had worked well in the 2014 edition and it has further developed it or enlarged it. The size of the case has been increased to reach the 46mm, thus making this new timepiece the largest and manliest Mille Miglia watch ever crafted and, at the same time, it also makes it a classic chronograph, whose style completely clashes with current trends that still show us chronographs sporting cases that rarely exceed the 41mm-diameter-size. The two chronograph counters for the hours and the minutes have been crafted in a grey colour on a matted black background, a direct tribute to the contrasting tachometer and rev-counter that used to appear on the instrument panels of those English convertible cars from the 60s.
If you take a look at the sketch of the Chopard Mille Miglia 2016 XL Race Edition’s case middle, you will immediately notice some details that can’t be singled out in the picture, like, for instance, the shape of the lugs and the many bending radii on the case.
Watch-making is the only field where small changes have no particular meaning if taken one by one, but when actually mixed together, they can easily change both the perception and personality of a timepiece. You will notice in this picture that the crown has been re-designed, the Mille Miglia logo has left room for a classic (holed) three-spoke steering wheel. The Chopard Mille Miglia 2016 XL Race Edition is also the first timepiece where neither the case nor the dial will create that special “patina” but the leather strap itself. This patent is called “Suportlo” and will make the strap age gracefully and make it soon look like a vintage strap.
The dial of the new timepiece is less cluttered than the previous model’s, the Mille Miglia logo has now been moved to the 12 o’clock location but my suggestion is: why did Chopard not dare a bit more and inserted applied Arabic numbers and logo? The Chopard Mille Miglia 2016 XL Race Edition costs a tiny bit less than 10,000 euro (9,660 euro to be more precise), the retail price has grown a lot in comparison to the 2012 edition while the amount of released pieces has been halved and the technical package has dramatically improved. The mechanic components making this timepiece up have eventually made it jump to the same level of a LUC and allowed it to sit at the same table as other manufacture-crafted chronographs.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Chopard; Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®