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Chopard - Mille Miglia Lab One

Chopard Mille Miglia Lab One

A mechanical challenge.

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.

Mille Miglia Lab One

Mille Miglia Lab One © Chopard

The dial is an openworked grid reminiscent of a racing car radiator grille, while the movement echoes the openworked 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 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.

Mille Miglia Lab One

Mille Miglia Lab One © Chopard

Exactly as in a racing car, the ergonomics of the 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, beadblasted 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.

Mille Miglia Lab One

Mille Miglia Lab One © Chopard

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.

Mille Miglia Lab One

Mille Miglia Lab One © Chopard

The movement is characterised by its ‘engine-style’ finishing. Its openworked 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.

 

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