Since 2002, Chopard has partnered with the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, a racing event devoted to historical racecars, which takes place along the same route as the Monaco Grand Prix. As official timekeeper, Chopard this year launches a new chronograph wristwatch inspired by the design of sportscars from the 1970s.
The first Grand Prix de Monaco Historique was intended as a one-off event to commemorate the 700th anniversary of Monaco’s Grimaldi dynasty, but it generated so much enthusiasm that it is now held every two years. It is now considered one of the world’s most important gatherings of historical racecars, and attracts the upper echelon of automobile collectors and enthusiasts, mostly from the United States, Germany, France and Italy. Each year’s event showcases more than 200 cars that have made their mark on their era, including models from Delage, Bugatti, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Porsche, Maserati and Ferrari, as well as some of the first Formula 1 cars built before 1979, from marques such as Brabham, Lotus and Williams.
Chopard’s new watch, the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique 2012, pays tribute to these 1970s racing machines, not only in its aesthetics but in its construction: like a Formula 1 automobile, which must be built as lightweight as possible for optimum racing speed, the watch uses lightweight titanium for its case. (There are two versions, one with an all-titanium case, the other a limited edition of 500 pieces with a combination rose-gold/titanium case.) The pin buckle on the strap is also made of lightweight titanium. (Click on the watch photos to enlarge the images.)
The matte titanium case, as well as the anthracite dial, are directly inspired by historical bodywork features. Brightly colored accents — orange for the matte titanium version, blue for the two-tone model — enliven the dial, on the hour markers and central chronograph seconds hand, and are also used for the contrast stitching in the perforated gray “racing-style’ Barenia leather strap. Both colors echo the graphic design trends of the 1970s, as do the tone-on-tone racing stripes on the dial.
Equipped with an automatic movement chronometer-certified by the Swiss testing agency COSC, the watch displays the hours, minutes, small seconds (at 9 o’clock) and date (in a window at 3 o’clock). The chronograph has a 30-minutes counter at 12 o’clock and a 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock. A tachymeter scale adorns the bezel. The 42.4-mm-diameter case has an engraved inscription of “Grand Prix de Monaco Historique” on the caseback; the back also has a sapphire viewing window that bears the insignia of the Automobile Club de Monaco. In a final nod to auto racing, the crown, in titanium or rose gold, depending on the version, has an embossed steering wheel emblem.
The titanium-case edition of the Grand Prix Historique de Monaco 2012 carries a retail price of $7,540; the limited titanium/rose-gold model is $11,140.
Movement: ETA 7750, automatic, COSC-certified as chronometer; diameter = 30.4 mm; frequency = 28,800 vph; 25 jewels; approx. 48-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph with 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock and 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, tachymeter scale
Case: Titanium or titanium/rose gold, diameter = 42.4 mm, thickness = 14.67 mm, glare-proof sapphire crystal, sapphire exhibition caseback, titanium or rose-gold crown; on perforated Barenia leather strap with titanium pin buckle
Dial and hands: Anthracite dial with snailed pattern in subdials; rhodiumed hour and minute hands, hour-markers treated with Super-LumiNova; sweep-seconds hand in orange or blue