Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Chrono
The Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Chrono is new for 2020. The Genevan watch brand is the main sponsor and official timekeeper of the famous Italian classic car rally, the Mille Miglia. Angus Davies explains why this new model proves the perfect companion for sartorially astute gentlemen.
Since 1988, Chopard has been the main sponsor and official timekeeper of the world-famous Mille Miglia. Each year, the prestigious house produces at least one limited edition Mille Miglia model, however, on this occasion, Chopard has indulged would-be wearers with a choice of two octane-rich timepieces. The Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Power Control and its sibling, the GTS Azzurro Chrono, are named after the Italian word for blue, ‘Azzurro’ and pay a respectful nod to the home of the iconic 1000-mile classic car rally.
While the Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Power Control is achingly gorgeous, I have decided to direct my editorial gaze towards the Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Chrono. The chronograph and the minute repeater are the only complications which invite the wearer to interact with the movement. The notion of sliding a lever or pressing pushpieces sates my compunction to fiddle. Indeed, I find pressing the pushpieces on a chronograph quite cathartic.
The Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Chrono is one of the brand’s more affordable models and yet it exhibits an extraordinary degree of refinement. The dial features a circular satin-brushed epidermis and its blue skin tone exhibits a prepossessing beauty.
Both the hour and minute hands, as well as the indexes, are rhodium-plated and lined with Super-LumiNova. They proclaim meaning with notable lucidity. Three subdials populate the dial. A 12-hour chronograph register is positioned at 6 o’clock, while its counterpart, a 30-minute chronograph register, resides above. Both of these subdials feature snailed tracks and smooth centres, while a smattering of red adorns the tip of each hand. A small seconds display sits at 9 o’clock. It features snailed detail and a rhodium-plated hand sans colour.
An aperture at 3 o’clock reveals the prevailing date, expressed with black numerals set against a white disc. The aperture is framed with the famous 1000 Miglia direction arrow. The slender central chronograph seconds hand again features a red tip. A minuterie is presented on the rehaut and proves useful when reading off minutes and seconds.
Despite the repeated use of red throughout the dial, the Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Chrono exudes a seemly, restrained character. There is nothing brash or uncouth about this model, it is evidently a gentleman racer.
Presented in a 44mm stainless steel case, the Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Chrono exudes masculinity. Both the upper surfaces of the case and the underside are highly polished, while the flanks are satin-finished.
The lugs arc sharply downwards near their tips, helping to mitigate the sense of scale. When I have seen other brands adopt similar styling, the inside of the lugs has sometimes proved a tad sharp; no such problems afflict the Chopard. Indeed, every surface is baby-soft smooth.
While this model may be one of Chopard’s more accessible creations, the case execution shows no sign of debasing. The brand makes cases in its own production facility in Geneva and evidently understands how high-end quality can be delivered even on modestly priced watches.
The interaction of light with the dial and the watch case often differentiates the mundane from the exceptional. In this instance, the light interacts with the lugs wonderfully, creating a bewitching blend of black and white tones.
Consistent with many Mille Miglia models, the flank of the crown features a period steering wheel, presented in relief. The adjacent ‘pump’ pushpieces are embellished with a crosshatch pattern, augmenting grip. The bezel pairs blue and grey tones and is marked with a tachymeter scale, a useful function when calculating the speed of a vehicle over a measured mile.
Sidestepping the current trend for exhibition case backs, the Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Chrono has a solid case back featuring the Mille Miglia arrow, the text ‘Brescia > Roma > Brescia’ and the individual edition number out of 750 pieces produced.
Chopard has shrewdly focussed on this model’s touchpoints. This is perfectly illustrated with the blue calf leather strap with matching stitching. Its upper membrane features perforations said to be inspired by racing gloves of yesteryear. The strap is lined in blue rubber, encompassing a period tyre-tread motif. Lastly, Chopard has chosen to fit the strap with a polished and satin-brushed stainless-steel folding clasp. The resultant strap ensemble provides a sumptuous means of uniting the strap with the wearer.
At the heart of this model is a self-winding chronograph movement. The balance has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4 Hz) and the movement contains 240 parts, including 25 jewels. Assuming the mainspring is fully wound, the watch will run autonomously for 48 hours. The movement is chronometer-certified (COSC) providing independent assurance of the calibre’s timekeeping capabilities.
Owing to the solid case back, I was unable to appraise the finissage.
The Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Chrono admirably fulfils its role as a timepiece and, more specifically, a chronograph. The dial proves highly legible, the watch is comfortable to wear and precision is guaranteed, courtesy of the independent scrutiny of COSC. However, this timepiece transcends mere functionality. Beyond the lucidity of the dial, there are wonderful examples of considered design.
The chronograph registers attractively blend snailed and smooth detail. The hands relating to the chronograph feature a delightful soupçon of red, whereas the hour, minute and seconds hands all eschew colour. This means of differentiation proves both practical and attractive. Personally, my favourite aspect of the dial is the circular satin-brushed dial surface. It imbues the watch with a handsome appearance.
The Mille Miglia associations will undoubtedly appeal to admirers of classic cars and motorsport. However, when wearing this model away from the track, the wearer will find the watch ideally suited to an array of social settings. Its blue tones would beautifully complement a jeans and polo-shirt ensemble as well as providing the perfect accompaniment to a dark blue two-piece suit from Savile Row. This latter garment exhibits timeless styling and rejects the futility of fashion, traits its shares in common with this Chopard creation. The Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Chrono may be this year’s Mille Miglia themed watch, but its appeal will undoubtedly last for many years to come.
- Model: Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Chrono
- Reference: 168571-3007
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 44mm; height 13.79mm; water resistance 10ATM (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front; solid case back.
- Functions: hours; minutes; small seconds; date; chronograph
- Movement: Mechanical self-winding chronograph; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 25 jewels; power reserve 48 hours.
- Strap: Blue-coloured calf leather strap with rubber lining, paired with a polished stainless steel folding clasp
- Price: £6,460 (RRP as at 16.5.2020)
- Limited Edition: 750 pieces