Chopard has unveiled the Mille Miglia GT XL Chrono Speed Black (Ref. 168459-3008) chronometer back in January 2008.
Visually, it differs from the previous iterations only with the color of its massive case. However, while the original GT XL Chrono featured an unremarkable stainless steel body, this one uses a relatively new (well, at least it is new for the watchmaking industry) technology that allows the case to maintain its finish for the virtually whole lifespan of the device. User discretion is advised, but it is one of the most durable coatings available at today’s level of technology.
At the SIHH 2008 show, the Chopard has presented not just one, but whole three new members of its Chopard 1000 Miglia collection that is inspired by the legendary (and formerly one of the most dangerous) racing series.
While the 2008 GT XL Chrono with its silver dial and the GT XL GMT with its 18K rose gold case look definitely gorgeous, the Mille Miglia GT XL Chrono Speed Black is absolutely stunning in its own, dark way.
The most interesting thing about the watch is that its 44-millimeter stainless-steel case is coated with virtually scratchproof DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) coating.
A product of modern nanotechnology, the DLC makes it easy to provide just about any material diamond-like resistance to scratches, dings, and some other types of mechanical damage.
Of course, you can scratch a DLC-coated object but that must be another object, which is even harder (say, a real diamond) and you also should be totally, absolutely insane to purposefully destroy this beauty.
We have already seen this sort of treatment on such Japanese watches with quartz movements as the Casio MR-G, Citizen Attesa, and the famous Citizen Campanola CTY57-1073.
Now, it looks like the Swiss brands are finally trying to jump on the DLC bandwagon with their mechanical masterpieces.
The Mille Miglia GT XL Chrono Speed Black comes equipped with split-level chronograph counters.
Set in the usual tri-compax configuration (the third sub-dial is, of course, a small seconds display placed at its usual position at 9 o’clock), they allow you to start measuring time intervals without the need to try to figure out where is what as it sometimes happens with more “advanced” timekeepers whose creators were so eager to think out of the box that their creation becomes almost unusable for a person who didn’t grow up in a family of aliens in a long-lost Martian city.
Besides the usual tachymetric scale that makes the thin bezel look a bit more entertaining, there is also a pair of “12” and “6” numerals stenciled on the sapphire crystal. Although the inscriptions serve little practical purpose, they definitely allow the timepiece to stand out.
The magnifying lens over the calendar window, on the other hand, is very useful if you take into account how small the date aperture is.
The dial looks a bit cluttered with all the inscriptions and different geometric shapes (some of them luminous), all painted in the same light-grey color. Something tells me that this was the idea, but I still feel like I have to decrease its legibility rating but at least half a point out of five.
The case is the main point of attraction of this device. It is also its main problem.
Trying to follow the recent trend of constantly supersizing sporty chronographs, the gadget’s size is still more or less bearable, but even persons with normal wrists must be very cautious while ordering this one online: together with its long horns, the case measures more than 52 millimeters in the lug-to-lug department, which, together with the thick strap, may make it look stupidly large on any wrist below the ‘normal’ range.
At a tad over 14.5 millimeters thick, it will also be not very comfortable in case you plan to wear it with anything that has tight cuffs. Keep that in mind.
Otherwise, the case is nicely sculpted with all of its elements in good proportions to each other. I especially like the crown guards that not only protect the fragile part from shocks but also fill the gap quite nicely between the oversized crown and the ergonomically shaped chronograph push-pieces.
The Chrono Speed Black features a natural black rubber strap decorated with the 1960s Dunlop Racing tire-tread motif. The strap is fitted with a folding steel clasp, which is also DLC-coated.
Inside the watch, which is a certified chronometer for that matter, is hidden the iconic ETA Valjoux 7750 chronograph movement.
By the way, dozens (probably, even hundreds) of brands absolutely adore this little workhorse not only for its accessibility (that will soon end if ETA has its way) but also for its high accuracy and unrivaled reliability rating.
At this time, it powers such icons as the dressy IWC Portugese (my Number One favorite of all times), masculine Breitling Chrono SuperOcean II, sporty Tag Heuer Aquaracer Chronograph, as well as the less expensive, but nevertheless reliable and well executed Oris TT1.
No info on pricing yet, but some $6000 would be just nice.
Review Score: 4.5/5
Build quality: 4/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Chopard Mille Miglia GT XL Chrono Speed Black 168459-3008 specification
Movement: Automatic, Caliber ETA Valjoux 7750, chronometer, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: DLC-coated steel, scratch-resistant
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph, date
Strap: Natural black rubber with a black folding clasp in DLC-treated steel
Water resistance: 100 meters
Size: 44.00 mm
Case height: 14.56 mm
Limited edition of 1000 pieces (ref. 168459-3008)