Quick Take

Long before designers were using CAD software and 3-D modeling, the Zagato design house was executing bulbous curves and sweeping lines in their custom coachwork on some of Italy’s most significant cars. Ugo Zagato’s expertise came from building lightweight aluminum body panels for aircraft, and the aerospace influence clearly informed much of the firm’s design philosophy. Zagato-bodied designs are distinct for their lack of straight lines or angles. The firm’s automotive legacy started as early as 1928 with a Zagato-bodied Alfa Romeo 1750 winning the Mille Miglia. Over the years Zagato has perfected a winning formula both to the eye and on the track: Strip the vehicle of any unnecessary creature comforts that only add weight and clad it in aerodynamic lightweight panels. While the goal was functionality, what often resulted was automotive art. Zagato was typically Italian in this sense, though his designs were not.*
The work of Ugo Zagato was celebrated at the recent Kyoto Concours D’elegance. It’s the 100th anniversary of Zagato’s founding in 2019 and Chopard, a longtime partner of the Mille Miglia race, has paid homage to Zagato’s gorgeous design flair and racing prowess through the release of the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Zagato 100th Anniversary. Chopard has been involved with the Mille Miglia since 1988, and they’ve consistently produced limited edition models for automotive greats, not to mention the official watch of the Mille Miglia.
Initial Thoughts

Andrea Zagato, the current CEO and grandson of founder Ugo Zagato, had a hand in the design of the watch, and there is some visual kinship to his eponymous cars. The Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph uses Arabic numerals as hour markers, and in true Zagato fashion, the 100th anniversary model is stripped down, using standard dash indices instead.*
The Zagato “Z” logo takes the place of a 12 oclock marker above the Mille Miglia logo that Chopard has long championed in this line of watches. The dial is a deep red hue, reminiscent of the classic rosso corsa paint that is found on some of Italy’s first race cars. It’s a color with a meaningful backstory that points to the passion and gusto of early Italian automotive culture. In 1907, Prince Borghese debuted the color at the inaugural Peking to Paris rally. He won the race, crossing the finish line just a single hour before the second place driver. The Itala that he drove was immortalized at that very moment, as Italian race cars were all clad in the color of the winning car going forward.*
The three-register chronograph channels the looks of the mid-century race cars that Zagato produced for Alfa Romeo, Lancia, and Fiat. Elsewhere on the dial the “Z” logo creates a textured pattern, but the registers remain clean, primed for full visibility. Thsi is perfect for timing an endurance race, like the 9,317-mile Peking to Paris.*
The Basics

Brand: Chopard
Model: Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Zagato 100th Anniversary
Reference Number: 168589-3020
Diameter: 42mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Dial Color: Red with Zagato "Z" motif
Indexes: Applied batons
Lume: Yes, on hands
Water Resistance: 50 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Black Barenia calfskin leather strap with extra "bund" attachment
The Movement

Caliber: ETA 2894-2
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph with 12-hour and 30-minute totalizers
Diameter: 28mm
Power Reserve: 42 hours
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 4 Hz (28,800 vph)
Jewels: 37
COSC Chronometer Certified
Pricing & Availability

Price: $6,890
Availability: Boutique exclusive
Limited Edition: 100 pieces
For more click here.


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