International timing competitions used to be the Formula 1 of watchmaking, and the watchmakers who prepared the high-precision (pocket) watches were treated like Formula 1 drivers. And that shouldn’t be surprising because until recently, the primary raison d’être of a timepiece was to tell the time. To tell THE time, not the approximate time. An error of 30 seconds day isn’t much . . . until you miss your train by 10 seconds.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race is legendary among motorsports enthusiasts, and I was overjoyed to have been Chopard’s guest during what is for many the most famous motorsport race in the world. At this year’s event I counted a great number of watch brands in attendance in some way including Rolex, Chopard, TAG Heuer, Rebellion, and Franck Muller.
Chopard co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele loves Porsche. “We are one of the rare watch brands with a genuine connection to cars,” Scheufele sums up the ultra-successful weekend of the 24 Hours of Le Mans during which Chopard’s partner Porsche added to its mythos by winning the race a seventeenth time. “Not every brand can say that.”
The bright spotlights of Baselworld 2015 lit up a plethora of eye-catching watches of every shape, color, and complication. However, it was only when the lights were turned down or off that a few of the timepieces showed that their dark sides were actually quite bright. Here are a few of the best lume-outfitted watches from Baselworld 2015 from Patek Philippe, Romain Jerome, Chopard, Valbray, Bell & Ross, Bulgari, and Glashütte Original.
The Petite Aiguille category is for watches under 8,000 Swiss francs (approx $8,500). The contenders are Bell & Ross BR03-92 Ceramic Black Matte, Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Chrono, Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Moonphase, Seiko Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36,000 GMT, TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887 Chronographe “Racing,” and the Zenith El Primero Synopsis.
According to the GPHG’s rules, these are watches demonstrating exceptional mastery of the art of jewelry and gemsetting, which is also distinguished by the choice of stones. The contendors are: Bulgari’s Diva High Jewellery Emeralds, Lion Mosaique by Chanel, Green Carpet Collection Watch by Chopard, Graff’s Multi-Colored Butterfly watch, the Ultimate Emerald Signature by Harry Winston and Arceau Temari by Hermès.
Our panel picks their favorite chronographs from those pre-selected in the 2014 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. There is a very strong line-up of chronographs this year: Montblanc TimeWalker 100 Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon, Chopard L.U.C. 1963, Tudor Fastrider Black Shield, Zenith El Primero 410 and the De Bethune DB29 Maxichrono Tourbillon.
Last week Quill & Pad co-founders Ian Skellern and Elizabeth Doerr went to the Mille Miglia: Elizabeth as the guest of principal sponsor Chopard, Ian (in a support car) covering Roland Iten, a main sponsor with five cars in the event, and Mr. Roland Iten himself, who competed in the race in a 1953 Porsche 356 Pre A Coupé 1500 , driving more than one thousand grueling miles through the Italian countryside.
Ian, Elizabeth and Roland now discuss this unique adventure and invite you to listen in.
The Mille Miglia is a ray of sunshine in your heart,” famous Belgian race car driver Jacky Ickx writes in Chopard’s commemorative book celebrating 25 years of being the race’s global sponsor. “The Mille Miglia is one of the last great adventures possible today,” concurs Karl-Friedrich Scheufele. Chopard’s co-president is racing his 25th Mille Miglia this year. Here are a few impressions from the last couple of days and nights on the strada italiana. . . .
The 2014 Mille Miglia runs for four days from 15 through 18 May 2014. Thursday, the 15th of May, 2014 is day one of the 2014 Mille Miglia. While there are regular checkpoints, marshals and police, it seems like anything goes; anyone can join in the race – while it’s called a time trial, the Mille Miglia is to all intents and purposes a Gumball Rally-type road race.