Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique
Limited Edition Series, 2002-2012
In this Perpetuelle Lookback, we will explore the limited edition Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique watches which have been issued biennially since 2002. My examination of the various models yielded some interesting findings and observations as to how the collection has evolved over the years. The series has always been held in high regard by enthusiasts and collectors alike, and for good reason. Follow along now as I dissect the 2002-2012 Chopard Monaco Historique Collection — and see the evolution of an iconic collection!
The Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique collection recalls the strong ties between Chopard and classic auto racing. The Grand Prix Historique race was started by Michel Boeri (President of Automobile Club of Monaco) in 1997. Boeri’s original intention was to organize a simple one-off vintage car race as part of the commemorative celebrations of the 700th anniversary of Monaco’s ruling family, the Grimaldis. However, the response was tremendous and subsequently, the Automobile Club of Monaco decided that the Grand Prix Historique would be a biennial event. Likewise since 2002, Chopard has issued special limited editions for each Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, typically along side non-limited/production models as well.
A few things I need to note before delving deeper into the discussion. First, the examination herein is of the limited edition pieces only. I also note that, due to the unavailability of images and more details, the review is limited to the dial-side of the watches. The lack of analysis of the evolution of calibers and casebacks is not due to a lack of desire; however my efforts to obtain additional information were only partially successful. In particular it was difficult to source official images and info on the pre-2008 models, but with the help of Chopard I did come up with enough to work with. So although not as comprehensive as it might have been, I think you will still find this review to be quite interesting and illustrative.
And now here we go — a review of the Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, Limited Edition series from 2002-2012.
For starters, we see that starting in 2002 Chopard used a 3-9 bi-compax chronograph layout, with a very smooth and round case and lugs. Chrono counters are “snailed” (the circular texture). Note also the logo above 6 o’clock — the “Automobile Club of Monaco” seal. And the “Monaco Historique” notation below 12 o’clock.
40mm pink gold case, limited edition of 250
2004’s model was essentially unchanged — except for the color set (the inverse of 2002), and the case (white gold rather than rose gold). 2004 was the last bi-compax layout used — all subsequent years use have used a 3-register chrono layout.
2004 (Ref 161256-1002)
40mm white gold case, limited edition of 250
In 2006 the case style remains unchanged, but the series evolved to a 3-6-9 three chronograph register layout. I strongly suspect that this was due to a change in calibers.
2006 (Ref 161256-5003)
40mm rose gold case, limited edition of 100
2008 perhaps the most important and dramatic year in the evolution of the series — with numerous design changes, the series now gained a much more sporty look to it. You will see that the brand built off of this new and major evolution in subsequent editions.
The case is upsized by 2.5 millimeters, with sharper lugs and a narrower, more sporty bezel with tachometer scale on it. Again we see a change in the chronograph layout — though still a 3-register design as in 2006, the layout is 6-9-12. Also you can see that the use of Arabic numerals has been replaced with applied indices. The date is now magnified. It is difficult to see, but there is also a sunray pattern on the dial — the first such decorative embellishment of the dial itself. Lastly, the logo of the “Automobile Club of Monaco” is dropped. The “Chronometer” (COSC) designation is also stated on the dial (again, a change of calibers is likely vs. the prior year model).
2008 (Ref 161275-5001)
42.5mm rose gold case, limited edition of 500
In 2010, the design is sharpened up a bit, the entire dial has a “snailed” pattern to it, the applied indices are enhanced, and the chronograph registers are given a bit more detail. As well we see the use of a bit more color — the blue accents are designated for the limited edition pieces, whereas the production models and done in orange.
2010 (Ref 161275-5003)
42.4mm rose gold + titanium case, limited edition of 250
2012 brings the addition of a racing stripe on the dial and the addition of titanium into the case construction. The date window magnification is eliminated. The watch has a more matte and muted look to it, largely owing to the use of titanium and a similarly colored, non-textured dial.
2012 (Ref 168992-9001)
rose gold + titanium case, limited edition of 500
It is interesting to see the unique aspects of various models and how the collection has evolved over the years. From a relatively plain and uninspired design in 2002, the series has come a long ways. The collection today reflects its sportiest design yet, and I remain excited for future releases.
I hope you enjoyed the look at the collection — past and present. Please leave a comment below with any thoughts or further insights.