Chopard hits the road with Mille Miglia

© Written by Rachael Taylor for BaselWorld Brand Book

Many alliances are created for commercial purposes, while others form naturally because of shared values, but every so often a partnership comes along that is forged in the fires of true passion. Chopard’s affiliation with Mille Miglia is one such happy alliance.

Karl-Friedrich Scheufele is a vintage car obsessive; the Chopard co-president has an enviable collection of motoring gems, including a 1973 Porsche 911 RS and a 1954 Porsche Speedster. And his love of racing these beautiful machines led him to join the ranks of riders at Mille Miglia, where he spotted the opportunity for a gratifying personal and professional relationship that has lasted 26 years.

Mille Miglia was an Italian open-road endurance car race founded in 1927 that attracted 5 million spectators at its peak. It was fast, and recklessly dangerous, leading to 56 deaths during its history and eventually getting the race banned in 1957.

But the spirit of Mille Miglia was strong, and in 1977 the legendary race was revived, but with a couple of key differences: all cars taking part must have been built before 1957, making it now a vintage car rally, and all racers must obey speed limits, ensuring that the ambience of the race was more celebratory than cut throat.

As well as securing branding at this carnival of motoring, Chopard has been creating limited-edition Mille Miglia timepieces each year. Its designers subtly weave elements of the race into the watches through colour choices (the 2014 edition paid homage to the Italian flag) or by mimicking car parts (2010’s offering referenced the engine-turned steel found on dashboards), as well as adding some more obvious finishing touches like Dunlop tyre-inspired straps and chronograph pushers that look like motor pistons.

Last year was a special milestone for this harmonious partnership. To celebrate, Chopard created a travelling exhibition of its Mille Miglia watches and published a book, Mille Miglia: 25 Years of Passion.

Scheufele still participates in Mille Miglia every year, with 2015 no exception, and as such Chopard will continue to produce watches each year in honour of the race and of a partnership fuelled by passion.

This article was originally published in the BaselWorld Brand Book 2015.

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