For fans of motorsports timepieces, Chopard releases the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique 2018 Race Edition that straddles modern and retro, writes justin ng
At Cartier’s Maison des Métiers d’Art,
tradition and innovation collide
No straNger to motor raciNg especially in the realm of open road classics, Chopard is a name synonymous with the Mille Miglia. The watchmaker-slash-jeweller has been the official timekeeper for the annual 1,000-mile-long Italian classic car rally for the past 30 years. The steadfast relationship between the two is a testament to Karl-Friedrich Scheufele’s, copresident of Chopard, ardour for motorsport. “This passion was passed down to me by my father (Karl Scheufele) who is a fan of classic cars,” Scheufele enthuses. It was a trip to Italy in 1987 that he came across the Mille Miglia, which subsequently ignited the longrunning love story between man and machine. The congregation of classic car collectors and exquisite
vehicles formed the perfect platform for Chopard to showcase its refined timepieces, to which Scheufele admits it was a fantastic opportunity.
The success experienced by Chopard in its relationship with the Mille Miglia also drove the brand to replicate it elsewhere. If prestige was the determinant in choosing the right partner, the brand would have struggled to find a better one in the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique. Inaugurated in 1997, the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique takes place every other year a fortnight before the biggest circus rolled into the tiny Mediterranean kingdom – the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco. Chopard has been the official timekeeper since 2002, the race’s third edition. There was a gap of three years between the maiden and second editions, which explains why subsequent editions have been held in even years.
The Grand Prix de Monaco Historique runs on the same circuit as the F1 – the milliondollar shot where cars arc around the Monte Carlo Casino. Except of course the cars are less cutting edge. The attendees, on the other hand, are just as passionate about cars if not more. The vehicles of choice are darlings of their times, arguably still darlings of many in present days. This year’s edition, which happened to be the 11th edition, saw the likes of TEC-MEC F415 (1959), Cooper-Jaguar T33 (Mk1) (1953), Lotus 25 (Climax) (1962), etc, crossing the line ahead of their competitors in respective classes.
In conjunction with the biennial race, Chopard as the official timekeeper has released two race-edition models as commemorations. The Grand Prix de Monaco Historique 2018 Race Edition is available in bead-blasted titanium, 18k rose gold and stainless steel, and beadblasted titanium and stainless steel. Each model is powered by an undisclosed chronometercertified automatic movement and power reserve, fitted within a 44.5mm case.
For aesthetes to note, the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique 2018 Race Edition comes with a duo of strap options in the forms of rally and NATO. The perforated and tyre tread straps seen on the Mille Miglia collection are conspicuously absent. That makes sense considering the Mille Miglia collection consists of more variants than both hands can count.
Upon a closer inspection, the chronograph pushers of the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique 2018 Race Edition resemble engine pistons. Hour markers and indices have been omitted in favour of minutes, while the tachymeter scale is located on the bezel. Details are abundant with circular guilloche patterns etched on the main and sub-dials. The model featuring rose gold utilises the precious metal in modesty, adorning only part of the bezel, crown and pushers. It is limited to 100 pieces, whereas the pragmatic silver-coloured model is numbered at 250 pieces.
KARL-FRIEDRICH SCHEUFELE, VANINA AND JACKY ICKX AND DEREK BELL