Chopard and 1000 Miglia: A motor sport love affair

Words: Nathan Chadwick | Photography: Chopard

Concours on Savile Row is proud to announce Chopard as a returning sponsor – and the association is an excellent fit. After all, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Chopard’s CEO, is a passionate motor sport enthusiast, expressed via the 1000 Miglia watches that have been a major part of the brand’s collection since 1988. He’s an avid competitor, often seen alongside Le Mans legend Jacky Ickx in a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing.

“The 1000 Miglia is a demanding race that requires constant attention and tolerates no imprecision,” Karl-Friedrich says. “It is all about transmitting, as well as teaching, sharing and accompanying, in order to help avoid potential pitfalls and lead the car to victory. The qualities required to take part in this rally are well known, and are quite logically similar to those of Chopard watchmakers.”

The 1000 Miglia range has been a mainstay of the Chopard range since 1988.

Chopard first became the world partner and timekeeper for the 1000 Miglia in 1988, and ever since then Karl-Friedrich has lined up on the starting grid, under the watchful eye of his own father, Karl Scheufele, who instilled in Karl-Friedrich his own fascination and enthusiasm for classic cars.

“The love of driving classic cars is definitely in our blood,” says the younger Scheufele. His great-grandfather first started collecting automobiles in the 1950s, while 2019 saw the classic 1000 Miglia tradition pass to Karl-Friedrich’s daughter, Caroline-Marie, who acted as navigator.

The current range is split into two: Classic for a more vintage look, while the GTS range is somewhat sportier.

The first Chopard 1000 Miglia watch appeared in the 1980s, but just as motor sport breeds innovation in automobiles, the brand’s dedication has seen the appearance of novel additions to the range. In 1990, a new model featured a split-seconds chronograph, which was a first for Chopard. Since 1997, the line has seen the systematic use of mechanical automatic movements.

The company has also collaborated with legendary Milanese carrozzeria Zagato on special limited-edition timepieces, and several editions reference significant parts of the event. One such example is the Raticosa limited edition, a 500-piece series that pays tribute to the Raticosa Pass – one of the few sections of the 1955 1000 Miglia still driveable today. The 250-piece 2022 1000 Miglia 2022 Race Edition luxury sports watch, meanwhile, featured ethical 18-carat rose gold on the crown, pushers and bezel. It was fitted with a gold-toned calfskin strap lined with rubber and patterned like the tread of 1960s Dunlop Racing tyres.

A variety of colours and styles are available, reflecting the diversity of the 1000 Miglia event itself.

Until 1997, the 1000 Miglia watches were available only to drivers taking part in the event; since then, these and many limited editions have been available to all watch collectors. In 2000, the movements were chronometer-certified by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC), guaranteeing the reliability of the watches.

Since 2015, the 1000 Miglia series has been split into two lines: the Classic is inspired by the cars that took part in the event from its beginning in 1927 until 1940. The GTS line is much sportier, and takes its inspiration from cars raced between 1940 and 1957.

At the time of writing, the range encompasses 16 different styles, with the 2023 line-up yet to be released – and as always, you can expect something special. As Karl-Friedrich says: “Lovers of fine cars often have a weakness for precious timepieces, and vice versa. Extreme precision and sporting elegance are important in both fields.”

More details on Chopard’s 1000 Miglia collection can be found here.