Chopard Jacky Ickx Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph JX7
Cars & motorsport

The Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph JX7: A Master Class in Speed

Chopard’s ode to motorsports excitement is a much an ode to long-lasting friendship in this Geneva-debuted Mille Miglia execution.

By Mike Espindle
Executive Editor

When most motorsports fans are asked about which best-of-the-best drivers are still living, there is a short list of legends that instantly comes to mind. And without a doubt, 79-year-old Belgian racer Jacky Ickx (full name: Jacques Bernard Edmon Martin Henri Ickx, BTW) sits at or near the top of that list.

Let’s look at only a few of the checkered flags: Six Le Mans championships (second only to Tom Kristensen), 37 major Sports Car racing wins driving for everyone from Ford to Ferrari to Porsche, a Can-Am Championship, and a Paris-Dakar Rally win. This record not only speaks to Ickx’s longevity; it’s proof of his versatility and virtuosity.

After all, an F1 car and a Paris-Dakar Rally vehicle share very little in common, outside of the need for exacting skill to pilot effectively. He even started his race career as a youth on small-cc motorcycles! I can whole-heartedly report that Jacky Ickx is one of the GOATs, end of discussion.

Also, as someone who has covered the automotive/motorsports world as much as the watch world, I can also report the following: One of the racing-inspired wristwatches I invariably see on the wrists of automotive executives and industry figures is the Chopard Mille Miglia (I’ve even seen it worn by folks whose companies have partnership arrangements with other watch companies).

Perhaps this is because the Mille Miglia captures the essence of fuel-powered speed and freedom like no other watch. Or maybe it’s because Chopard co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufle and Ickx have been friends for over 30 years, as well as Mille Miglia race co-pilots several times, and the house has produced more than one Mille Miglia model over the decades to honor the racer.

No matter the reason behind the Mille Miglia’s insider appeal, it was high time for another match-up, which is now their seventh collaboration.

This Year’s Model

With 250 editions produced in Chopard’s proprietary and sustainable Lucent Steel alloy and only 50 pieces in a bi-color approach combining Lucent steel with ethically sourced 18-karat yellow gold, the new 40.5mm Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph JX7 is not just a rare bird. It also box-checks all the vital details of the very best executions of the Mille Miglia line:

     • Jaunty, vintage numerals and fonts on a legible midnight blue dial with an outside tachymetric track in silvery white;
     • a classic tri-compax sub-dial layout; mushroom pushers and an oversize crown;
     • a “tire-tread” rubber strap; and,
     • the little “1000 Miglia” red badging just above the dial center to commemorate the legendary vintage car race.

All terrific details that get even better and more personal on closer inspection.

Personal Inspiration

The timepiece’s exhibition caseback reveals the 54-hour power reserve, COSC-certified automatic chronograph movement based on the ETA A322-11. The caseback also has a face-on reproduction of the distinctive twin-goggled, “owl” style, dark blue racing helmet Ickx wore from 1972 on, which became one of his professional signatures.

This very-specific Ickx-related element becomes the launching point for additional design details beyond the overall midnight-blue colorway of the new Mille Miglia, including the “tire-tread” strap, which is based on Ickx-heyday-era 1960s Dunlop racing tire patterns.

Moreover, the chronograph pushers have a knurled pattern akin to brake pedals, while the large crown carries a vintage steering wheel motif. And lastly, as a nod to the racer’s six victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans races, a small date window at 4:30 features a red “6” and a red “24.”

Add all these up, and you get a very special timepiece that is an apt commemoration for a living driving legend.

Pricing & Availability

The Lucent steel version of the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph JX7 is limited to 250 pieces and retails for $10,300. Meanwhile, the ethical gold and Lucent steel bi-color execution, limited to 50 pieces, lists for $12,100. For more information, check out Chopard’s website.

(Photography by Pierre Vogel)

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