ChopARd sets off for a classic

36th Mille Miglia enjoys the sights of a glorious Italian drive

Karl-Friedrich Scheufele and Jacky Ickx leaving the famous ramp of the Mille Miglia for the 1000 miles race..jpg

The 36th edition of, "La corsa la più bella del mondo” started under a clear blue sky as over 400 classic cars set off from Viale Venezia, Brescia and passed through more than 30 Italian cities and towns. San Marino, Roma, Siena, Parma, Milan and Bergamo were all en route before drivers headed back to the starting point. The first car, a BMW 328 from 1938, departed from the famous ramp on Viale Venezia, leading hundreds of classic cars for an incredible event through the greatest landscapes of Italy.

Designed exclusively for classic and vintage cars, the event is one of the world’s oldest motoring events. Mille Miglia began in 1927, taking place 24 times until 1957 and bringing international fame to luxury sports cars such as Alfa Romeo, BMW, Ferrari, Maserati and Porsche. The 1,743km trip has been a regularity race since 1977, meaning it’s now more of a rally than a race, with drivers maintaining average speeds throughout. The event is only open to cars produced before 1957 and selected from the models, which took part in the original rally.

Thousands of spectators lined the streets of Brescia to catch a glimpse of the drivers in this year’s rally, which welcomed drivers from 40 different nationalities, from five continents. The legendary driver Jacky Ickx drove alongside Karl-Friedrich Scheufele in a stunning classic Porsche 550A Spyder RS - on loan from the Porsche Museum. The car was specially created in 1956 and was destined to make its mark on the history of motorsports.

The Mille Miglia is a family story of passion for the Scheufeles, all the members of the family have taken part or attended the rally under the Maison Chopard flag. The annual meeting is a demanding mistress that requires constant attention and concentration in order to lead a car to victory.

Since 1988, Chopard has been the historic partner and official timekeeper of the legendary classic car event. 2018 saw Chopard celebrate its 30th partnership with the Mille Miglia. Several friends of the brand attended the 2018 race including actor Adrian Brody, who partnered the Porsche driver Timo Bernhard in position 301 on the ramp of Viale Venezia in a Porsche 356 from 1955. In total, Chopard took no fewer than five cars to the starting line. Albert Carreras, son of the famous tenor José Carreras drove the race with his co-pilot Jordi Pascual in a Mercedes Benz 300 SL, owned by the Scheufele family.

The close ties between Chopard and the Mille Miglia stem from a shared history that began 30 years ago. The initial connection was born from a personal passion for classic cars by Karl-Friedrich Scheufele. Under his leadership Chopard became the main sponsor of the Mille Miglia in 1988 and the watchmaker was one of the first brands to associate its name with the automobile world. For Scheufele, the links are entirely natural, “Lovers of fine cars often have a great weakness for precious timepieces and vice versa. Extreme precision and sporting elegance are important in both these fields,” he said at the event. The roar of well-tuned engines, the smells of rubber on hot tarmac are certainly in contrast to watchmaking, where atmospherically controlled rooms and deafly silence reigns supreme. However, closer inspection reveals a number of common factors between the two worlds, including the relationship with time, the passion for fine mechanical engineering, and the need for sustained concentration.

On Saturday, fans cheered as the first cars crossed the finish line in Viale Venezia, the winning team of Juan Tonconogy and Barbara Ruffini, ended the rally with 74,108 points. The Argentinian team started in 85th position driving an Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 GS "Testa Fissa" from 1933. Second place went to Giovanni Moceri and Daniele Bonetti from Italy in an Alfa Romeo 65 1500 SS from 1928 with 73,714 points. The third duo to reach the podium was Andrea Vesco and Andrea Guerini at the wheel of a beautiful 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Zagato, with a total score of 73,327 points. The most represented carmaker at the event was Fiat with 49 cars, followed by Alfa Romeo with 48, Jaguar with 35 and Mercedes-Benz with 33 cars.

The Chopard collection

This year’s rally saw Chopard launch a number of special Mille Miglia watch models, each with rubber lining inspired by 1960s Dunlop tyres.

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The Mille Miglia 2018 Race Edition

The stylish 42mm watch in stainless steel, equipped with a mechanical chronograph movement with automatic winding. The timepiece is presented on a black calfskin bracelet with red stitching and black rubber lining. Limited to 1,000 pieces.

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The Mille Miglia Racing Colours

A stunning limited edition 42mm watch in stainless steel featuring a lacquered (British Racing Green) dial. It’s presented on a black calfskin bracelet with green stitching and black rubber lining. Just 300 pieces available.

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The Mille Miglia GTS Power Control Grigio Speciale

43mm watch in titanium featuring a stippled anthracite grey ruthenium dial and equipped with a mechanical movement with automatic winding. The watch is presented on a grey Cordura fabric bracelet. Limited to 1,000 pieces.