Since 2002, Chopard has been the partner and official timekeeper of the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, a biennial competition featuring classic race cars from the pre-War period through the 1970s on the world-famous Monte Carlo circuit, along the same route as the Formula 1 Grand Prix. For this year’s race, which starts tomorrow, the Swiss brand has created two new limited-edition chronograph watches inspired by the historical cars.
The Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Race Edition is offered in either a shotblasted stainless steel and titanium case (limited to 500 pieces) or an 18k rose gold case (limited to 100 pieces). The cases, which measure 44.5 mm in diameter and 14 mm thick, are enlivened with classic-car design elements: the chronograph pushers are shaped like engine pistons and the gray bezel has a tachymetric scale for calculating speeds. The solid caseback is engraved with the logo of the Automobile Club of Monaco, which organizes the Grand Prix race, and is secured by screws that echo the look of automobile bolts.
The silver-toned dial has a snailed pattern, as do the chronograph counters — 30 minutes on the 12 o’clock subdial and 12 hours on the 6 o’clock — which are gray-toned and hollowed. Small seconds are displayed on another snailed-pattern, hollowed subdial at 9 o’clock, with a silver tone. The minute circle features the arrow-shaped, applied markers characteristic of Chopard’s Grand Prix de Historique collection. The central chronograph counter hand is blue on the gold model and bright orange on the titanium/steel version. The hour and minute hand are treated with Super-LumiNova. The white-on-black date numeral appears in a window at 3 o’clock.
The movement is a COSC-chronometer-certified automatic with 25 jewels, a 28,800-vph frequency, and a 46-hour power reserve. Both versions of the Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique 2016 Race Edition come with two interchangeable straps: the rose-gold model (Ref. 161294-5001, priced at $21,300) with a perforated, gray Barenia calfskin strap with blue stitching and a gray NATO strap with blue racing stripe; the titanium-steel model (Ref. 168570-3002, $6,890) with an orange-stitched Barenia strap and a NATO with orange racing stripe. Both have folding clasps in materials matching that of the case.