Following their 2021 collaboration, Chopard and Bamford Watch Department have joined forces to create a bead-blasted titanium piece, limited to just 50 pieces worldwide.
Chopard and Bamford Watch Department have released a 50 piece limited edition Mille Miglia GTS Power Control Bamford Edition ‘Desert Racer’. Yes, it’s a long name for a watch, which will be sure to be shortened by enthusiasts and owners to the Mille Miglia Desert Racer, but an edgy and sporty watch nonetheless. Housed in a 43mm case, it’s striking orange and black dial and bezel, mixed with the subdued grey titanium case make for a cool combination.
The new piece from Chopard and Bamford Watch Department is a tribute to desert races, and looking at the colour scheme, you can see why. The watch recently accompanied George Bamford in the desert of northern Mexico, on the occasion of the last edition of the National Off Road Racing Association, in which he participated aboard a Meyers Manx buggy, and according to George, it held up perfectly:
“What an amazing experience doing the Norra 1000 with Meyers Manx for the launch of the Mille Miglia GTS Power Control Bamford Edition ‘Desert Racer’. I was so pleased to say that I tried and tested it in the desert, on a desert race and the watch is built to survive on great expeditions and adventures. With this flame orange and tarmac black dial, the combination works in perfect harmony. I loved working on the Mille Miglia watch and when we were coming to create this one, I really wanted to have an alternative to the original Mille Miglia and that’s why we felt the Desert Racer would be the off-road cousin of the Mille Miglia.”George Bamford
The timepiece features a robust 43 mm-diameter case made of bead-blasted titanium – an extremely resistant, light metal – topped by a bezel with a black aluminium graduated inlay. Its short lugs and 11.43mm thickness makes this an easy wearing watch, and combined with the lightness of Titanium, should wear or feel a little smaller than the 43mm diameter would normally dictate.
Adding to the adventurous aesthetic and motorsport ties are the large orange numerals on the dial, making for ease of legibility, filled with SuperLuminova©. The date wheel and 5 minute markers on the bezel in the same bright orange complete the look, and there is a playful “fuel gauge” between 8 and 10 o’clock, showing the wearer how much power reserve is left in the 60 hour tank.
As this is a sports watch designed for function, Chopard and Bamford Watch Department have given the limited edition piece a woven-effect rubber strap, that on first glances, looks like sail cloth or canvas. The rubber just adds to the durability of the watch as well as the comfort when wearing for long periods of time. The watch is fastened by a polished folding clasp in DLC bead-blasted steel, matching the look of the case.
Under the bonnet is the Mechanical self-winding Chopard 01.08-C movement, entirely developed, produced and assembled in Chopard’s watchmaking workshops. The Chopard 01.08-C is chronometer-certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) and drives the hours, minutes, seconds and date functions of the piece. All this can be seen through the sapphire crystal case back.
Chopard have a long history with motorsport, most notably the Mille Miglia race which we covered in our release article for this years Mille Miglia collection here, so it stands to reason that the Maison would release a themed edition, like the Bamford Edition ‘Desert Racer’. The collaboration between Chopard, George Bamford and the Bamford Watch Department just seems to work, and together have delivered a good looking, sporty and adventurous watch that on paper, is sturdy and hard wearing.
With its contrasting orange and blacks, it’s not a subtle watch, but by the same token, it’s not outlandish either, and plays in that middle ground where uniqueness meets classic – at least this is what I feel when I look at the wrist shots, but can form a better opinion once I’ve seen it up close and personal, which I hope to soon.
Reference: 168566-3019 – Limited and numbered 50-piece edition
- Case: 43mm
- Thickness: 11.43mm
- Case Material: Bead-blasted titanium
- Case back: Exhibition case-back back secured with screws fitted with an orange seal and tinted crystal PVD-treated case-back screws
- Dial: Frosted black dial with cool grey transfers, orange hour-markers and sanded metallised black hour-markers enhanced with black Super-LumiNova®
- Bezel: Titanium bezel with black aluminium inlay and orange numerals
- Crystal: Glare-proofed sapphire crystal
- Water resistance: 100m / 10bar
- Movement: Mechanical self-winding Chopard 01.08-C, pivoting on 40 jewels with a frequency of 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
- Power reserve: 60 Hours
- Strap: Woven-effect rubber strap with polished folding clasp in DLC bead-blasted steel