Chopard Mille Miglia Bamford Edition

Precision, Winter 2021

If ever you find yourself accused of spending too much time messing about in old cars, point your complainant in the direction of Karl-Friedrich Scheufele – the co-president of watch and jewellery house Chopard recently revealed that he has taken part in the Mille Miglia every year since 1989, clocking up an impressive 32,000 miles in the process.

Scheufele, who owns a stable of classics that range from a Ferrari 750 Monza to a Mini Cooper and from a three-litre Bentley to a Porsche 911 2.7 RS, signed a deal in 1988 that made Chopard the main sponsor of the celebrated Italian rally, a role it has maintained ever since – thus establishing one of the longest-lasting partnerships between a watch brand and a car event in the history of motor sport (beaten only, we believe, by Rolex and its backing of the Daytona 24 Hours).

Chopard Mille Miglia Bamford Edition

Chopard’s latest Mille Miglia is a striking grey and orange number, created in partnership with Bamford WD

Along the way, Chopard has made a tradition of producing a new Mille Miglia watch every year, a special, numbered example of which is presented to every competing crew.

But this year the line-up of new Mille Miglia watches is greater than ever. Firstly there are the 44mm Race Edition chronographs with slate-grey dials that can be had with steel cases (an edition of just 1000) or in steel and gold (250 examples); the special Raticosa models that celebrate the Mille Miglia’s famously challenging Raticosa pass (500 each with black or cream-coloured dials) and a third take on the theme that, unexpectedly, features Chopard teaming up with independent watch customiser George Bamford’s Bamford Watch Department.

The partnership resulted from a dinner table conversation during which Bamford (son of JCB tycoon Lord Bamford) and Scheufele discovered their mutual passion not only for old cars, but also for the Mille Miglia –a discussion that evolved into a ‘lockdown project’ to design a Chopard watch combining the typical design codes of a Mille Miglia model with the type of tuning tweaks for which the Bamford WD has become famous.

The result is what you see here –a classic Mille Miglia chronograph with a decidedly modern twist.

Chopard Mille Miglia watch rear

The Mille Miglia Bamford Edition features diamond-like- carbon-coated stainless steel cases

Bamford says the dark grey, diamond-like-carbon (DLC) treated case was inspired by a Chopard watch worn by Ryan Reynolds in the Netflix movie 6 Underground, a look that led on to the similarly toned dial and darker grey Cordura strap.

Once those understated basics were established, Bamford then turned to the screaming orange instrument needles typically used on classic Porsches, applying the colour to the chronograph hands, one of the subdials and the strap lining to not only liven things up considerably, but to also create a watch with a high degree of legibility that’s genuinely practical to wear at the wheel of a car.

The general consensus is that it’s an outright winner – the only drawback being that a mere 33 examples are to be made, one to represent each year of Chopard’s involvement with the Mille Miglia. Why didn’t they just make it a nice round mille (as the Italians call 1000)?

Chopard Mille Miglia Bamford Edition