Chopard Mille Miglia Lab One is a limited edition “concept watch”, which contains a series of innovative features. It is housed in a titanium case and contains black DLC treatment. Following the brand’s highly imaginative models LUC Engine One Tourbillon and LUC Engine One H, the respected Maison has created another motorcycle movement completed in “engine style”, the new Chopard Caliber 04.03-M .
Today, Chopard released the Mille Miglia 2020 competition edition. It has become an annual tradition, and I think this year’s model is by far the best. However, the Geneva brand also released another Mille Miglia watch.
At first glance, Chopard Mille Miglia Lab One sounds familiar, but the latter two words provide a clue that this time is very different from its siblings. The brand describes it as a “concept watch”, and people naturally tend to use a “concept car” at the booth at the auto show. However, unlike concept cars, this is a product you can actually buy.
The Chopard Mille Miglia Lab One tourbillon is a self-winding tourbillon, housed in a large but ultra-light titanium case and treated with black DLC. Although the style of this model can be said to be avant-garde, the case respects traditional watchmaking habits and cleverly combines pearlescent and polished surfaces. Four functional bolts span the strap and join the back cover with the rest of the case.
There are many functions that meet almost all needs. For example, the big date is displayed below noon. The standby power indicator is located between 7 o’clock and 8 o’clock, and the retrograde display is located in the opposite position, that is, between 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock. The tourbillon is located on the dial side at 6 o’clock and is equipped with a small seconds display.
Chopard has equipped this model with a tourbillon device. This allows the wearer to stop the stand by pulling out the crown, synchronize the seconds with the reference clock, and then restart the stand by pushing the crown back into place. This unusual mechanism has been patented by the Geneva company.
The movement imitates the shape of the case prescribed by watchmaking etiquette. The Chopard 04.03-M movement is clear at a glance, and immediately reminds fans of the brand of the L.U.C Engine One Tourbillon a few years ago. This discontinued model uses the L.U.C movement 04-01-L, which is very similar to the engine block head. The new Chopard Calibre 04.03-M has the repeatability of this design, combined with the brand’s “engine style” finish.
The Swiss company intends to produce 20 such watches, but hopes that similar to the concept car, there will be some Lab One proprietary technology on other Chopard models in the future.
Press release of the brand (October 2020)
In developing this original watchmaking work, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the co-president of Maison and the founder of Chopin’s watch factory founded in 1996, selected the best design engineers, watchmakers and experts in strict confidentiality in order to imagine the future Watchmaking process. Sports haute horology. Such a sophisticated team drew inspiration from the L.U.C 04.01-L movement. This unique movement has left its mark on the history of Chopard manufacturing and equipped the L.U.C Engine One model with equipment.
The first innovative feature of this new Mille Miglia Lab One timepiece is the first ever “form” (non-circular) automatic tourbillon movement made by Chopard and has a variety of advanced functions. Chopard’s performance culture (which has been a partner and official timekeeper since 1988 in the Mille Miglia competition) stems from the passion for cars and the requirement for quality tested in the harshest environments. The technical strength is based on lightness, understatement and mechanical optimization.
Unlimited car inspiration dominates the design of Mille Miglia Lab One timepieces. There is no doubt that this model is the most extreme in the Chopard timepiece series inspired by the racing world. This is the first time that Maison’s R&D laboratory has developed a concept watches cheap, which represents a condensed expression of all technologies that express Chopard’s vision for the future of haute horology. A method similar to concept cars, which confirms the lasting connection between the automobile and watchmaking.
The dial is a hollow grid, reminiscent of the grille of a racing radiator. The movement echoes the hollow cylinder head. It is located above the dial and is equipped with a large two-disc date display. There are two horizontal gauges on both sides of this “hood”. The autonomy indicator is between 7 and 8 o’clock. When fully charged, the “gas tank” of the Mille Miglia Lab One can provide a power reserve of 60 hours. A novel feature of Chopard is to set the retrograde day indicator between 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock. The strap sets the final touch with its absolute car-style materials: carbon fiber woven on one side and rubber tight to the skin.
Just like a racing car, the ergonomics of the Mille Miglia Lab One timepiece is its core issue. The crown has been patented. The crown can avoid being hidden in the bezel so as not to disturb the wearer, but it is still hidden under the watch and interacts laterally with the movement. Contrary to standard practice, it is installed on the left. The glowing skull pointer ensures perfect readability. The dashed cushion shape of the shell has the advantage of maximizing the available reading surface compared to the diameter, while the angular design further enhances its sense of movement.
The case is made of titanium, the sides are pearlized and polished on the inclined surface (ie bezel and lugs). Then it is treated with black diamond-like carbon (DLC). When using the aforementioned crystalline carbon, Chopard gives watches the natural advantages of this material, which is commonly used in the automotive industry. In this case, it can protect the case from scratches in an unparalleled and effective way, and can create an absolutely eye-catching appearance. The case size is 48.6 x 46mm, and the size of the movement determines its large size.
The Chopard Caliber 04.03-M movement is a new movement. Chopard’s first self-winding tourbillon movement has obtained patent protection related to the tourbillon stop device. Inspired by the disc brake system, the tourbillon carriage is stopped by an axially mounted joystick. Once the crown is pulled out, the joystick is activated. Therefore, the movement can be set to the closest number of seconds, which is extremely rare for a tourbillon. Another patent filed by Chopard relates to the Variner® balance wheel equipped with Chopard Calibre 04.03-M: it ensures a stable movement rating by compensating for changes in inertia during the entire running time of the watch.
The movement is characterized by “engine style”. Its hollow tourbillon bridge is shaped like satin-brushed parallel bars. Due to the new electroplating treatment, the anthracite and dark black are alternately displayed in all black colors, and the flashing gray forms a sharp contrast with the movement. This “engine” powers the central display of hours and minutes and complements one of Chopard’s favorite complications: a large dual-disk date display. The latter has a retrograde week display for the first time, which helps explain a lot of exercise components. With 485 parts, the movement 04.03-M is one of the most complex movements manufactured by Chopard.
Chopard is a family of Maison with a unique independent philosophy. All stages of watchmaking are carried out in the Group’s production sites in Geneva and Fleurier. Movement development, finished product design, case stamping and machining, movement components, traditional hand-made decorations, polishing, assembly, grading and quality control: Chopard masters all operations involved in fake watches of men production and applies them to all advanced Clock models, including Mille Miglia Lab One.