If you're sitting behind the wheel of a vintage grand touring car at the start of Italy's Mille Miglia road rally this May, you'll need a watch to keep you up to speed. The Mille Miglia GT XL Chrono from Chopard is up to the task. Its precision chronograph will keep you on the pace from leg to leg, while an engraved map of the course on the back will keep you from making any wrong turns.
If you aren't one of the lucky ones in this year's rally, don't sweat it. The Mille Miglia will also work perfectly on the wrists of international racing enthusiasts who appreciate sport coupes and classic driving watches, but are relegated to the interstate.
The race that Chopard honors began in 1927. Starting in Brescia, drivers raced south through such towns as Verona and Assisi. Once in Rome, they headed back north through Siena and Bologna, before arriving back in Brescia some 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) later. Strict rules governed the race, particularly that only unmodified, regular production cars could be entered. Sadly, the race was stopped in 1957 after an accident killed a driver, navigator and 11 spectators. In 1977, the Mille Miglia was revived, not as a race, but as a road rally. Once again, strict rules applied and only makes and models that raced in the competition between 1927 and 1957 could take part.
So why is Chopard so enamored? In 1988, the company became a sponsor of the rally, and Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the co-president of Chopard, has been a regular driver. It was at this time that Chopard introduced the Mille Miglia collection and the Geneva-based company has been producing the line—and other driving watches—ever since.
The latest version of the Mille Miglia, released in 2007, celebrates the 80th anniversary of the road race. It is available in stainless steel ($6,640) or rose gold ($19,060) with an antireflective sapphire crystal beneath which the large Arabic numerals are located. It also features a self-winding chronograph—the hour, minute and second sub-dials are located on the face—and a magnified date window.