The introduction of in-house calibres to the Mille Miglia “motor sport” collection marks an important step for Chopard; one which co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, by his own admission, has been looking forward to for quite some time. He is, after all, a racing driver himself, a collector of classic cars, and engineered the brand’s partnership with Porsche Motor Sport, now in its second year. Putting the cherry on the cake, Chopard is also revving up the Mille Miglia collection, which is fast approaching its 30th anniversary, with the launch of an original range: Mille Miglia GTS (for Grand Turismo Sport).
The three models on offer are a chronograph, a power-reserve, and a three-hand chronometer with date display. The power-reserve and the chronometer are fitted with Calibres 01.08-C and 01.01-C respectively. Both are COSC-certified (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres), beat at 28,800 vph, deliver a 60-hour power reserve and are made at Chopard’s Fleurier Ebauches workshop. All three share the stylish and sporting credentials that put them firmly at the heart of one of the brand’s iconic collections. “Dedicated to Italy’s most famous and closely followed classic car race, the Mille Miglia GTS Automatic, Power Control and Chrono watches are designed as wrist-worn auxiliary navigation instruments,” notes Chopard, which has partnered the race since 1988, also the year it launched the collection of the same name.
Promoting responsible luxury
“The next stage will be to produce our own Mille Miglia GTS chronographs in the Fleurier Ebauches workshops,” comments Karl-Friedrich Scheufele. “Currently we cover 20% of our needs in terms of mechanical calibres and this proportion is increasing each year. We are also working on an in-house movement for our women’s timepieces. Given the enthusiastic reception that greeted our Happy Sport automatics, this is another step forward for Chopard.” Not that the brand intends forcing the pace, even if its Fleurier Ebauches facilities are almost fully operational, with production aimed at 15,000 movements a year. “We’re in the process of expanding volumes,” adds Scheufele, “although at this stage our rate of growth is governed less by space or machinery and is more a question of finding qualified staff. With regard to our movements’ reliability, we have every reason to be satisfied given the scale of our undertaking when we set up Fleurier Ebauches six years ago.
While the Mille Miglia GTS collection can claim a special place in Karl-Friedrich Scheufele’s heart this year, another watch is equally important in his eyes, and that is the Chopard L.U.C XPS Fairmined. “We have carried on with our Journey to Sustainable Luxury, a programme we began in 2013 and which expresses our commitment to ethical and socially responsible practices. This means we have maintained our partnership with Alliance for Responsible Mining, the South-American NGO behind the Fairmined label and, after Colombia, have extended our support to a second mining community, this time in Bolivia. Thanks to this, we are proposing our L.U.C XPS in a 250-piece edition, which is ten times more than the first “Fairmined” watch in 2014. The objective is to propose a complete line of watches using Fairmined gold. Fairmined certification guarantees small-scale extraction and contributes to training, social welfare and environmental protection in those mining regions.” So far, Chopard’s involvement has benefited a thousand families. Yet another growing concern, alongside Fleurier Ebauches, and more reason to celebrate.