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Chopard announces Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Jacky Ickx

Celebrating a legendary driver with a timepiece featuring exceptional design and precision timekeeping.

By Lifestyle Editor

Pictures Courtesy of Chopard


Chopard is celebrating its legendary Ambassador Jacky Ickx with the new Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph JX7 timepiece, the result of the seventh creative collaboration between Chopard Co-President Karl-Friedrich Scheufele and the famous driver. Featuring a design inspired by the bodywork of classic cars and fitted with a superb ‘glass box’ crystal, this 40.5 mm-diameter chronograph is adorned with a midnight blue dial inspired by the colour of Mr Le Mans’ helmet. The rubber strap with its 1960s Dunlop tyre-tread pattern motif – which has been a fixture in the collection for over 25 years – is also available for the first time in a midnight blue colour matching the dial. This model is offered in two exclusive limited editions of 250 timepieces in Lucent Steel™ – Chopard's unique steel alloy endowed with superior properties, made with a recycling rate of at least 80% – and 50 in Lucent Steel™ and ethical 18-carat yellow gold. Over and above the unfailing 36-year friendship that has united Jacky Ickx and Karl-Friedrich Scheufele in a shared passion for motor sport, Chopard has chosen to celebrate a monumental racing figure through this creation eagerly awaited by collectors and devotees of fine mechanical engineering.


A legendary helmet at the heart of the design

In sculpting the look of this new timepiece, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele and Jacky Ickx were inspired by the aesthetics of one of the latter’s emblematic helmets. Standing out in many respects from the drivers of his time, Jacky Ickx was notably the first to wear a full-face helmet in 1969. At his request, his then supplier worked with him to design a version that would provide better head protection during competitions, as those of that era were deemed not safe enough by Jacky Ickx.

The JX7 chronograph is the expression of a friendship born 36 years ago through our shared passion for exceptional timepieces. For me, it’s an opportunity to pay tribute to all the artisans who have contributed to the creation of this beautiful timepiece, so dear to my heart.

Jacky Ickx

This helmet, initially in electric blue and then in midnight blue from 1972 onwards, features twin windows protected by a visor and enhanced by white stripes whose shape earned the helmet its ‘owl’ nickname. Acting as the driver's signature, the helmet's graphic design remained identical for 30 years: more than the car number, it was this helmet that served to identify the driver.

The Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph JX7 model is packed with symbols and references to Jacky Ickx, starting with this helmet, whose midnight blue colour sets the aesthetic tone on the dial. Punctuated by white markings, this dial guarantees optimum legibility by day or night, thanks to the Super-LumiNova® used for the hour-markers as well as the hours and minutes hands. The date disc displays the days in white numerals. In a nod to Jacky Ickx's six victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 6 and 24 numbers are distinguished by red markings.

Embellished with a flange bearing a graduated tachymeter scale essential for speed calculations, the dial is topped by a prominent ‘glass box’ sapphire crystal secured by a slender bezel. Widely used from the 1930s to the 1960s, ‘glass box’ crystals of this type offer an obvious aesthetic advantage by endowing the dial with a sense of perspective and emphasising the watch’s nicely balanced overall proportions. More complex to machine than the usual sapphire crystals, they maximise the depth of the dial opening, allowing light to pour in from the top and sides while creating exquisite shimmering reflections playing across the dial.

The watch comes in a special presentation box alongside a miniature reproduction of the legendary accessory that inspired it. As the ultimate signature of the collaboration, the watch's sapphire crystal case-back is adorned with the famous 'owl' helmet and bears the words Time Attack to recall the spirit of competition and performance instilled into the design details of the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph JX7 model. This term designates a qualifying race in which drivers are timed over several laps to determine their position on a race’s starting grid. It’s a stage that proved decisive for the outcome of a competition, even though Jacky Ickx demonstrated in the course of his career that he was capable of crossing the start line last and the finish line first in a given race.

A watch ‘engine’ with certified precision

The exhibition case-back affords a view of the self-winding chronograph movement, featuring a 54-hour power reserve and precision certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute. In race conditions, competitors will appreciate the movement's 4Hz frequency, stop-second function, tachymeter scale as well as the layout of the three 12-hour, 30-minute and small seconds counters. This model is indeed aimed at drivers seeking to surpass themselves, like the Maison’s legendary Ambassador and six-time winner of Le Mans.

A bracelet inspired by the automobile world

The Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph JX7 is teamed with a rubber strap featuring a motif borrowed from the tread of a 1960s Dunlop racing tyre. The back of the strap is distinguished by its anti-perspirant properties and a pattern recalling the marks left on the road by cars driven to extremes. 

Chopard is thus continuing a long tradition of rubber sports straps. In 1998, following up on the joint idea that struck Karl-Friedrich Scheufele and Jacky Ickx while they were taking part in the 1000 Miglia at the wheel of a Porsche 550RS A Spyder, the Manufacture's workshops were among the first to use this highly creative material on the straps of Mille Miglia chronographs. This trend, which the collection has continued to fuel, has since spread far and wide across the watchmaking scene.

The ‘tyre’ strap has now swapped out its traditional black colour for a blue matching the dial of the Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph JX7. This chromatic unity once again accentuates the ultimate elegance of these creations designed by two gentlemen drivers.

The Mille Miglia collection

As all watch and car enthusiasts know, both cars and watches are marvels of engineering. Chopard is even more keenly aware of this kinship, as the Maison has been inextricably linked with the world of classic racing since it became world sponsor and official timekeeper of the famous Italian 1000 Miglia race in 1988.

This partnership – the longest in history between a watchmaker and a motorsport event – gave rise to the Mille Miglia collection, capturing the entire essence and spirit of what Enzo Ferrari called "the most beautiful race in the world". Perpetuating with each new edition the automobile passion, the competitive spirit and the thrilling emotions of the 1000 Miglia, Chopard has constantly pushed the limits of its creativity.

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