The Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Power Control ranks among the more expensive, higher-positioned pieces in the brand’s collection dedicated to the historic Italian automobile race that Chopard has been sponsoring for three consecutive decades now. Let’s d(r)ive in.
The Mille Miglia Audience
Reviewing a Mille Miglia watch has always felt like a challenge, and I finally figured out why that is — because aBlogtoWatch is a site dedicated to the world’s watch lovers — and the Mille Miglia is a collection dedicated to the world’s car lovers (with an appetite for quality watches). As such, the Chopard Mille Miglia collection is privileged to live in its own little bubble that is kept inflated by the car and classic car enthusiast scene. If you think about it, it’s the watch that speaks loudest to many car enthusiasts looking for a luxury watch (or, more humbly, “a nice watch”) to silently express to their peers they too have high-octane fluid running in their veins. Is a Rolex Daytona, although a race-inspired watch, commonly accepted to say the same about its wearer? Definitely not. More to the point, basically, every other luxury watchmaker that wants to attract car lovers tries to do so through an association with a car manufacturer — and that, at the risk of stating the obvious, is a much narrower circle than that of car lovers, in general.
And so, that’s where the Mille Miglia comes into the picture. The Miglia Miglia line has been a long time cookin’ in the cauldrons of Chopard, reaching its peak only recently with the introduction of Chopard’s in-house calibers made available in some select pieces. Other references are offered at a lower price point with sourced calibers. The Chopard 01.08-C caliber offers 60 hours of power reserve matched to a higher 4 Hertz frequency (some of the competition drops this to attain such extended power reserve), boasts COSC certification, and carries a characteristic Chopard aesthetic to separate it from movements made by suppliers of the watch industry.
At $9,690, is this two-tone model with gold in it optimistically priced given the competition? Yes. Will that put its specific target audience off? I don’t think that would necessarily be the case. Here’s why. The Mille Miglia audience has cars at its heart to an equal or greater extent than watches. However, this is not to imply they don’t know how to spot or obtain a great watch, but rather to say that their next watch purchase might be made in subordination to their love of cars. The prospect of a generic luxury watch their neighborhood wears won’t have them reaching for their wallets. And where Omega has Bond enthusiasts and wannabe astronauts, and Rolex has first-time luxury watch buyers and a bunch of other segments, Chopard, with its Mille Miglia line, has car enthusiasts — especially classic car enthusiasts. This is far from being a representative survey, but I feel safe in saying every larger classic car event I’ve been to in Europe or the U.S. had plenty of Mille Miglia watches around. Plenty.
No matter how much Rolex tries to communicate the link the Daytona has with racing, or how many racing dial Speedmasters there will ever be, Chopard, in the eyes of many, owns the sub-$10k segment of automotive inspired luxury watches.
Thirty years with Mille Miglia and its tight collaboration with Porsche’s Le Mans team wasn’t for nothing. The Mille Miglia has little-to-no competition in its segment — and it is under no pressure whatsoever by dive watches or dress watches offered at the same price. And that’s because it offers competitive build quality, movement specs, and enough uniqueness in its styling and execution to keep said competitive offerings in its rearview mirror.
Specs & Wearability
Chopard has really figured out how to make a watch look and feel solid both inside and out. From the dial through the case down to the quality of the strap and the double-folding buckle, the Mille Miglia GTS feels like a complete package — in contrast with what some would probably expect from a “themed” watch. Just because this is a “car-stuff-inspired” watch, no corners have been cut: Everything is as good as it should be on what will likely be the only watch for many of its customers. Apparently, Chopard understands that if you have the funds to surround yourself with nice automobiles, you probably have an eye for quality — “that’ll do” won’t do here.
The massive applied indices and deep, concentric brushed dial exude quality, as do the massive hands sweeping over them. Chopard, a company that for long has relied on suppliers for its watches now offers a wide range of watches to the brim with bespoke details. From the typography to the quality of all larger and smaller components, disposable ones like the strap and everlasting ones like the movement, the Mille Miglia has become more of its own thing that it has ever been — which is just as well, since it had nearly 30 years to perform this transformation.
Again, getting on for ten grand, everyone in their right mind will expect luxurious details — but it’s not with every brand that you do actually get them across the entire watch. With the polished sides and brushed top, polished middle section and perlage decorated small bridge, even the folding buckle is a thing of beauty that displays proper attention to detail. Stitched leather on the outside, the inside of the strap features the vintage Dunlop tyre pattern that has become a trademark element of the Mille Miglia and a key, though underestimated element of its success. I, personally, would certainly get another strap with the pattern on the outside for the full car-themed experience.
Although Chopard has taken its sweet time with developing its in-house calibers for its non-L.U.C watches, the Mille Miglia GTS makes up for the wait. Although large plates dominate the Chopard 01.08-C caliber, combined with the open-worked rotor and the rather fantastic-looking caseback, the overall caseback view is right on the money. Performance, as we mentioned, is also in line with reasonable expectations.
One area with plenty of room for improvement is in two-tone versus all-steel models. Swiss luxury watch brands love to charge massive premiums for gold, and the Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Power Control is no different. In all-steel it retails for around $6,800 — in other words, the gold bezel and crown add a whopping $3,000 to the price, while the movement, dial, and all other components remain unchanged. The indices are rhodium-plated and not solid gold either. There is a solid gold version for around $21,400, to boot, where the middle-case and caseback are in 18k rose gold, too. Wow.
Sure, the 43mm-wide and, at 11.43mm, impressively thin Mille Miglia GTS case looks mighty from all angles, including from the strap-profile shot that you see directly above. That’s some proper machining work right there. That said, I can’t help but feel that such a massive premium will be a turn-off for those who only like the look but don’t care much for the “added prestige” of a bit of gold or the hardship of handling gold experienced by Swiss manufacturers. Plot twist: the two-tone version is, to my eyes, the nicest looking version of the Mille Miglia GTS, rivaled only by the wilfully cool Grigio Speciale.
Water-resistance is a proper 10 bar (100-meter equivalent) combined with a screw-down crown for added safety. Not so durable is the aluminum bezel insert — though, when surrounded with notoriously soft 18k gold, using ceramic would hardly make a difference. And if you like classic cars, you probably like patina too, something you won’t ever get with a ceramic bezel insert. The use of aluminum might be a dealbreaker for some, while for others its satin look will mean a nicer integration with the overall aesthetic when compared to the glossy look of ceramic. Although I would love to have the scratch resistance of ceramic, aluminum, to my eyes, looks better on the GTS than I imagine the forced high-tech aesthetic of ceramic would.
In summary, the Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Power Control is a superb-looking and -feeling watch that exudes quality from every angle, both inside and out. It also comes across both upon first impression and extended wear as a properly considered and thought-through timepiece, one that clearly has decades of evolution as its foundation. You just don’t make a watch like this on the first try — not even close.
Priced at just under the five-figure mark, the value proposition of this high-end Chopard Mille Miglia lies in its global recognition as the car lover’s watch, topped off with the not-so-global recognition of the expensiveness of its added 18k gold bits. Even though they aren’t afraid to charge for it, Chopard deserves praise for the level of quality it attains and maintains in its watches, which gives them a subtle edge over many of their competitors. So, in essence, if you are a well-heeled car lover who wants just one nice watch to wear for years on end while also extended your primary hobby into the timepiece on your wrist, you won’t be disappointed in the Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Power Control line. Again, the Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Power Control is priced at $9,690 and you can learn more at the brand’s official website.
>Model: Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro Power Control reference 168566-6002
>Size: 43mm-wide, just 11.43mm thick
>When reviewer would personally wear it: When in my car, when thinking about being in my car, and basically any other time outside formal occasions.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Car lover with an eye for quality and the budget to back that up.
>Best characteristic of watch: Nice execution, good wearability and looks despite the larger size, lots of bespoke designs.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Pricey.