Watches are submissive gadgets. You can lay quietly, rest, relax, and let it do its job once you’ve established the timer. This is even important in the context of complexities, extra functions in addition to time, where moon phase indicators, calendars, and GMTs all effectively record a constantly elapsing occurrence. With the exception of one: the chronograph.
Chronograph means “time writer,” but it can also be thought of as a stopwatch that can be enabled and deactivated at the user’s discretion. Its name is taken from one of the mechanism’s earlier iterations, which was basically a box filled with clockwork connected to two inky styluses. The disparity in time between two horses on a racetrack was measured on two rotating discs of paper. The component was quickly downsized and integrated into pocket watches. Then there were wristwatches, and featured here are the iconic chronograph watches in the market today.
- Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
The Daytona is a much-loved and pursued watch in both the classic and new watch sectors. The current edition is particularly popular among fans, as the inclusion of black ceramic, red Daytona text, and bezel black-on-white panda color scheme gives it the look of a 1960s reference. While it is not inexpensive and is practically difficult to obtain at retail, it is a timepiece that will not go out of fashion. The Cosmograph Daytona price starts at $13,150.
- Breitling Navitimer
By 1952, pilots were already acquainted with Breitling, with its instruments decorating numerous airplane cockpit dashboards and its Chronomat on several of their wrists. That didn’t stop Breilting from collaborating with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) to improve the aviation wristwatch, creating a chronograph with a slide rule designed exclusively for pilot application. The inclusion of an additional scale from the E6B flight system sped up and simplified many flight computations on the run. Its price starts at $9,250.
- Zenith El Primero 400
Announcing the victor of the contest to construct the first automatic chronograph in 1969 is a controversial matter, therefore Zenith’s “El Primero” name is debatable in this context. The technical superiority of the watch, on the other hand, is unarguable. It travels at an especially quick 36,000 BPH, enabling it to record times of less than a tenth of a second, which was unheard of at the time of its inception. This contemporary model is as similar to the actual as you can get, right down to the same dial with tri-color sub-dials, mechanism, and 38 mm case design. The starting price of Zenith El Primero 400 is $7,700.
- TAG Heuer Carrera
Perhaps no timepiece has had a greater impact on TAG Heuer’s brand identification and style than the Carrera. It has gone through many modifications over the years, but the initial edition was released in 1964 when the company was simply known as “Heuer.” TAG produced a fairly realistic copy of it in 2020, officially titled the Carrera Silver Edition, with changes such as a new in-house movement and 39 mm size. While variants of the watch have frequently taken on flamboyant and sporting characteristics linked with racing, the original retains the modest aesthetic characteristics that have always supported its legendary reputation. The starting price of this item is $6,450.
- Omega Speedmaster Professional
The Speedmaster Professional on the market now is largely similar to the one carried to the moon in 1969 as it has the same case form, size, dial style, and even the similar movement. The 1960s Speedmaster was designed to meet NASA’s exceedingly strict criteria, and its famous significance as the first watch on the moon making it a must-have for any professional watch enthusiast. The Omega Speedmaster Professional price is $5,350.
- Lange & Söhne Datograph Up/Down Lumen
While A. Lange & Söhne creates an amazing chronograph, the Datograph Up/Down Lumen wristwatch has more going on than just a simple stopwatch complication: it has a power reserve indicator, an “oversized” date display, and a flyback function. The Lumen model, on the other hand, ups the ante with a luminous, tinted display that hints at the superbly crafted, hand-cranked movement behind. The main show, nevertheless, takes place in the dark, as everything from the hands to the tachymeter scale and subdials are completely lumed for a brilliant and one-of-a-kind impression. The price of this Datograph Up/Down Lumen is $100,500.
- IWC Portugieser Chronograph
Since its launch in the 1990s, the Portugieser Chronograph has been a best-seller in IWC’s collection since its design is so well-thought-out. It has elegant propeller-style hands and a single round, basic dial, two subdials stacked vertically. IWC’s in-house 69000 family movements are used in the latest models, and this specific reference sports a gorgeous silver-plated dial with blue applied hands and numerals for excellent visibility. The IWC Portugieser Chronograph price is $7,950.
- Frederique Constant Flyback Manufacture
At roughly four grand, an in-house Swiss chronograph movement appears to be a very decent deal, especially when put in such an appealing design as that provided by Swiss manufacturer Frederique Constant. However, when the sophisticated flyback function is added to the chronograph, there is nothing to measure it against. The Flyback Manufacture delivers a great deal of value in a timepiece that provides for a multipurpose casual outfit, with a gently vintage charm and just a hint of ruggedness, notably in its reversed panda dial variant. The Flyback Manufacture price is $3,999.
- Seiko Presage SRQ023
Seiko’s Presage chronograph is one of the best deals in watch manufacturing. For instance, it has an in-house chronograph movement with a vertical clutch and column wheel, which is not even found on timepieces twice the price of the Seiko. The greatest aspect, though, is the dial, which is constructed of fired enamel, an immensely challenging element that is normally only seen on watches from Switzerland’s most prestigious makers. The Seiko Presage SRQ023 price is $2,400.
Simply stated, these chronographs have become industry standards. When they first appeared in the market, they established the standard for what a chronograph should appear like and how it must perform. Because of their dominance, they became stalwarts of racing, aviation, and even space travel. Since you ought not to fix what isn’t damaged, they’re all still for sale today; some have changed drastically since they were first introduced to the public decades ago yet they are truly timeless.