A new futuristic-shaped case, a new tourbillon movement: the Chopard Mille Miglia Lab One is a concept watch that pays homage to the 1000 Miglia. Designed in the spirit of high-performance race cars and impelled by the same quest for technical refinement and innovation, the first Chopard self-winding tourbillon chronometer – issued in a 20-piece limited edition – pushes the boundaries of the Manufacture. This ultra-light model features a highly contemporary blackened titanium cushion-shaped case that is both exceptionally ergonomic and technically sophisticated, as well as a tourbillon movement (Chopard 04.03-M) equipped with a patented stop-tourbillon mechanism and a likewise patented invisible crown.
A mechanical culture
In developing this original watchmaking creation, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President of the Maison and founder of the Chopard Manufacture workshops created in 1996, selected its best design engineers, watchmakers and experts in the strictest secrecy with a mandate to imagine the future of sporting Haute Horlogerie. Thus assembled, the elite group drew inspiration from the L.U.C 04.01-L calibre, a unique movement that has made its mark on the history of Chopard Manufacture and today equips the L.U.C Engine One models.
The first innovation featured in this new Mille Miglia Lab One timepiece is the first-ever Chopard Manufacture ‘form’ (non-round) self-winding tourbillon movement, enriched with several advanced functions. Stemming from the performance culture characteristic of Chopard – partner and official timekeeper to the Mille Miglia race since 1988 – it is driven by a passion for automobiles and a demand for quality tested in the toughest environments. This technical prowess is based on lightness, understatement and mechanical optimisation.
Unbridled automobile inspiration reigns supreme in the design of the Chopard Mille Miglia Lab One timepiece. The model is undoubtedly the most extreme to date in the line of Chopard timepieces inspired by the world of racing. This is the first time that the Maison’s R&D labs have developed a concept watch representing a condensed expression of all the technologies expressing Chopard’s vision of tomorrow’s Haute Horlogerie. An approach similar to that of concept cars and which confirms the enduring ties between automobiles and watchmaking.
The dial is an openwork grid reminiscent of a racing car radiator grille, while the movement echoes the open-worked cylinder head topping the dial and housing a large double-disc date display. This ‘engine bonnet’ is flanked by two lateral gauges. The autonomy indicator sits between 7 and 8 o’clock. When Full, the ‘petrol tank’ of the Chopard Mille Miglia Lab One delivers a 60-hour power reserve. Between 4 and 5 o’clock, a retrograde day indicator is a novel feature for Chopard. The final touch is set by the strap with its resolutely automobile-style materials: woven carbon fibres on one side, and rubber next to the skin.
Exactly as in a racing car, the ergonomics of the Chopard Mille Miglia Lab One timepiece are a core concern. A patent has been filed for the crown which, to avoid disturbing the wearer during laps, remains hidden beneath the watch and interacts laterally with the movement. Contrary to standard practice, it is fitted on the left. The luminescent-tipped skeleton hands ensure perfect legibility. The broken-line cushion shape of the case offers the advantage of maximising the available read-off surface compared with the diameter, while the angular design further enhances its aura of sportiness. The case is made from titanium, bead-blasted on the flanks and polished on the sloping surfaces – i.e. the bezel and lugs. It then undergoes a black Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) treatment. In applying the aforementioned crystalline carbon, Chopard endows the watch with the natural advantages of this material, commonly used in the automobile industry. In this instance, it protects the case from scratching in an incomparably effective manner, as well as creating a resolutely winning appearance. The case measures 48.6 x 46mm, a generous size dictated by that of the movement.
An extreme engine
Chopard Calibre 04.03-M is an all-new movement. The first self-winding tourbillon calibre to emerge from Chopard Manufacture, it is protected by a patent relating to the stop-tourbillon mechanism. Inspired by a disc-brake system, the tourbillon carriage is brought to a halt by axially mounted levers that are activated as soon as the crown is pulled out. The movement can thus be set to the nearest second, which is extremely rare for a tourbillon. Another patent filed by Chopard relates to the Variner® balance with which Chopard Calibre 04.03-M is equipped: it ensures stable movement rating by compensating for inertia variations throughout the running time of the watch.
The movement is characterised by its ‘engine-style’ finishing. Its open-worked tourbillon bridge is shaped like a satin-brushed double bar. Featuring an all-dark finish in colours alternating between anthracite and deep black, thanks to a new galvanic treatment, its shimmering grey colour makes a striking contrast with the calibre. This ‘engine’ powers a central display of the hours and minutes along with one of Chopard Manufacture’s favourite complications: a large double-disc date display. For the first time, the latter is accompanied by a retrograde day indication, which helps explain the large number of movement components. With its 485 parts, Calibre 04.03-M is one of the most complex movements ever made by Chopard Manufacture.
Chopard is a family Maison with a distinctive philosophy of independence. The various stages involved in making its timepieces are performed in-house at the group’s Geneva and Fleurier production sites. Movement development, finished product design, case stamping and machining, movement components, traditional hand-crafted decorations, polishing, assembly, rating and quality control: Chopard masters all the operations involved in watch production and applies them to all its Haute Horlogerie models, including the Mille Miglia Lab One.
Chopard Mille Miglia Lab One Technical Specifications
Ref. 168599-3001, 20-piece titanium limited edition – Available exclusively in Chopard boutiques / price on request
- Beadblasted titanium, black DLC treatment, cushion-shaped
- Total diameter: 48.6 x 46 mm
- Thickness: 14.85 mm
- Water resistance: 50 metres
- Vertical DLC-coated titanium at 9 o’clock, on the reverse: 17 mm
- Bezel in polished, engraved and lacquered
- DLC-coated black titanium
- Glare-proofed sapphire crystal
- Exhibition caseback with glare-proofed sapphire crystal
- Mechanical self-winding movement: Chopard 04.03-M
- Number of components: 485
- Total diameter: 39 x 38.60 mm
- Number of jewels: 43
- Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
- Power reserve: approx. 60 hours
- Black finishing
- Tourbillon with stop-tourbillon function (patented system)
- Chronometer-certified (COSC)
- Variner® balance with Phillips terminal curve
Dial and hands:
- Partially openworked matt black dial with engine-type finishing
- Matt black inner bezel ring with white transfer
- Finely snailed power-reserve and day indicator
- Rhodium-plated, hollowed hours and minutes hands, painted with Super-LumiNova
- Metallised black baton-type small seconds hand
- Red baton-type power-reserve and day indicator hand
Functions and displays:
- Central display of the hours and minutes
- Small seconds at 6 o’clock
- Aperture-type large date display at 12 o’clock
- Power-reserve display between 7 and 8 o’clock
- Retrograde display of the days between 4 and 5 o’clock
- Tourbillon at 6 o’clock
Bracelet and clasp:
- Rubber-lined carbon bracelet
- Folding clasp in DLC-coated black bead-blasted titanium