As Zagato celebrates 100 years, Chopard pays tribute to its long-time racing partner and friend with a special edition Mille Miglia chronograph limited to only 100 pieces.

Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Zagato 100th Anniversary Edition

The meeting of Karl-Friedrich Chopard and Andrea Zagato was a fortuitious one.

One was the fourth-generation watchmaker of the house of Chopard and its co-president at the time of meeting, and the other, the grandson of the founder of the last independent Italian car designer, which was also the initiator for the Total Design Studio concept for Porsche, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo and Bentley.

Their meeting took place at another significant event – the Mille Miglia race, aka the most beautiful race in the world. Zagato would inspire Chopard to create its now iconic Mille Miglia watch collection and thus was born a historic partnership between the watchmaker and car designer, all thanks to the celebrated rally.

This year, as Zagato celebrates its 100th anniversary, Chopard has taken upon itself to pay tribute to its long-time racing partner and friend with a special edition chronograph limited to only 100 pieces. This timepiece would naturally be a Mille Miglia watch, given the circumstance of their meeting, on top of it being a classic chronograph timepiece.

Combining a dial enhanced with Zagato’s emblematic Z pattern and red-lacquered colour, a beautifully curved 42mm steel case and a leather bund strap evoking the car designer’s upholstery, this new timepiece bears a striking resemblance to its racing-car inspiration.

Spirit of Zagato on a Chopard timepiece

This special edition differs from the original Classic Chronograph initiated in 2017 through a deliberately vintage spirit, with curves inspired by irresistable oldtimers. It beats to the rhythm of a mechanical movement with automatic winding certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC).

Based on this chronograph calibre built for performance, Chopard and Zagato designed a sleek watch ideally suited to endurance road racing enthusiasts. Particular attention was paid to the details composing the style of the piece, starting with a dial with a motif resembling the Z for Zagato in a magnificent lacquered red, a favourite hue of both the Milan-based designer and the Mille Miglia.

As a reminder of the authorship of this watch, logos of the two Maisons appear at 12 o’clock, surrounded by baton-type hour-markers painted with Super-LumiNova® -– as are the hands – so as to ensure perfect readability in all circumstances. The sporty nature of the chronograph is further enhanced by the black aluminium inner bezel bearing a graduated tachymeter scale.

The result is a must-have accessory serving to calculate the average speed during the race and one that Zagato has put to good use in the past, winning the historic Mille Miglia race a record eight times in 24 participations!

As a reference to the straps used to lash down oldtimer car trunks, a bund strap with tone-on-tone stitching – like the Zagato upholstery – has been chosen for this watch worthily representing the heyday of the early automobile industry. At the time, some drivers preferred this type of strap enabling them to wear their timepiece securely wrapped around the sleeve of their rally jacket.

In the evening, the bund strap gives way to an elegant black calfskin version that enhances this watch sported by the perfect gentleman driver, still under the spell of the gently undulating landscapes evoking the famous Italian dolce vita. All it takes to prolong the magic is a simple glance at his Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Zagato.

Learn more about the timepiece at the official Chopard website here.

(Photos: Chopard)