Most brands have a chronograph watch in their line-up. It is the single best-selling complication on the market. A “go-to” watch that, if executed well, has a good chance to become popular with collectors. Consequently, the list of them available is extensive and the range runs from the functional and austere to the opulent and complex.
At the latter end of the scale would be the Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5990/1R in a sumptuous rose gold form with sunburst blue dial featuring an embossed horizontal pattern and applied hour markers with luminescent coating. This new model combines three highly sought-after complications: a self-winding flyback chronograph, an easy-to-use travel time function and a date display coupled with local time in gold case and bracelet with a blue dial.
The new Nautilus chronograph showcases two time zones: local and home time indication. Day/night indication for local time and home time in apertures…
A. Lange and Söhne also housed their unique triple split – tour de force – rattrapante chronograph movement in a rose gold case with a blue dial. The only one of its kind in the market. Technically the split second, or rattrapante chronograph is one of the most difficult complications to manufacture and to a great extent, that is reflected in the price. Most manufacturers have a double split (timing two sets of seconds and minutes) in their range. A. Lange and Söhne’s is the only triple split rattrapante on the market: hours, minutes, and seconds.
Vacheron Constantin produced a high-end chronograph with their Traditionnelle Split-Seconds Chronograph Ultra-Thin, Collection Excellence Platine. Added to the beauty of the watch, there is the movement, caliber 3500 a masterful demonstration of the watchmaker’s art that uses a peripheral rotor for its automatic winding system. The elegant dial features a proprietary platinum finish that Vacheron gives to their Collection Excellence watches.
IWC Big Pilot’s watch chronograph has now been fitted in a slightly reduced case size (41mm) with the choice of either a blue or green dial. The smaller size makes it fit better on the wrist. Powered by the Manufacture’s own 69385 calibre, the robust chronograph movement with a column wheel can be observed through the sapphire glass back. This stainless steel model comes with a green dial, rhodium-plated hands and a brown calfskin strap, that can be easily interchanged with any of the other available options thanks to its EasX-Change system.
The new Big Pilot’s chronograph is available in green or blue dial with several options for the strap in calfskin or rubber and a stainless steel bracelet…
In the same dimensions but with a completely different look is the new Cartier Pasha chronograph. Cabochon-adorned crowns, black Arabic numerals and blued steel hands are some of the unmistakably Cartier details that we find in this chronograph. The watch is bold but well proportioned (like everything Gerald Genta designed) and at its heart, we find the self-winding calibre 1904-CH MC with a 47-hour power reserve.
The new Pasha Chronograph features a rotating bezel and sapphire cabochon-topped push-pieces…
Available in stainless steel or yellow gold, both versions are equipped with Cartier’s “QuickSwitch” system for the easy exchange of straps or bracelet.
Other brands giving their chronograph watches a new look include Rolex, Tudor and Breitling. The precious metal cased Rolex Cosmograph Daytona (in yellow, Everose, and white gold) with Cerachrom bezel and Oysterflex bracelet has been given a sliver of the heavens with meteorite dials. The combination works beautifully as the black bezel frames and accentuates the crystalline structure of the rock.
Rolex’s sister brand, Tudor, came along with a relaunch of the Black Bay Chrono, in commemoration of the brand’s 50 years of chronographs. The 41mm Tudor has two configurations: black dial with white sub-dials, or white dial with black sub-dials; each one has the signature red text as well as a red arrow on the chronograph second hand.
The fixed bezel in stainless steel with a tachymetric scale in black anodised aluminium is immediately recognizable as Tudor Black Bay…
The Manufacture Chronograph Calibre MT5813, which powers the Black Bay Chrono, displays hour, minute, second, chronograph and date functions. It offers a 70-hour power reserve. The watch is available on a stainless steel bracelet or with a woven black strap.
Breitling have introduced two new Premier Heritage Collection B09 chronographs. Each features a classic horizontal, two-register dial layout framed by a tachymeter scale, Arabic numeral hour markers and manually wound movement. Both in a 42mm case, there are two variations to this new watch: the steel cased chronograph comes with a pistachio green dial and the red gold version has a silvery-white dial. Breitling also introduced as part of their Premier Heritage collection their revitalised versions of the 1940s Datora (a chronograph triple calendar) and the Duograph (a split second rattrapante).
The heritage-inspired design revives Breitling’s legacy of inventing the modern chronograph…
Montblanc also introduced a green dialled chronograph with the 1858 Split-Second in a new “Lime Gold” case. Lime Gold is an alloy made of 18kt gold, silver and iron that results in a subtly faded tone that has hints of yellowish-green. Limited to just 18 pieces, the watch features a green accented dial to match as well as green hands and Arabic numerals, which are made entirely of Super-LumiNova.
The dial of the new Montblanc 1858 split-second chronograph showcases an outer telemetric scale and a spiral-shaped tachymeter at its centre…
Mining the archives further, Montblanc introduced the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins too, with the same beautiful Minerva movement inside.
Words: Dr Andrew Hildreth
Opening picture: Oberholster Venita