Chronographs have been a source of fascination to us for a long time. The ability to measure bits of time is both fun and practical, while the mechanics which allow mechanical watches to do so requires expertise to properly adjust and ensure excellent timekeeping. While we have done Throwback Sundays on chronographs before, we update our list with the most remarkable ones in the last five years in this new list.
Six of the most remarkable chronographs in the last five years
Earlier Throwback Sunday Chronograph features can be found in this list here. The last list was dated 2020, and we thought it is a good time for us to update this list. To narrow the list to a manageabl esize, we only include watches released within the last 5 years. As usual, in no particular order, here is the list.
Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chronograph
The Chopard Alpine Eagle is a 2020 release, and have been steadily gaining traction in the high enthusiast market, if not quite made yet in the hypebeast list. Which is a good thing in our books. Chopard has remained true to the horological roots and create watches of excellent design, superb functionality and high end finishing for an honest price level. The Alpine Eagle XL Chrono in A223 Lucent Steel with the blue dial is our pick. It is a sizeable watch with a 44 mm case diameter, as the XL moniker in its name might suggest. The watch is crafted in Lucent Steel A223, an alloy co-developed by Chopard that is harder than other steels, anti-allergenic like surgical steel, and intensely reflective (hence the name). The dial is designed with a very attractive signature “eagle iris” textured motif.
The Caliber 03.05-C is a design masterpiece, and finished to a very high industrial standard, though stoppong just short of the Chopard L.U.C movements which are elaborated to meet haute horlogerie standards. But is well designed and executed. and should preform reliably and with precision for years.
The Alpine Eagle Chronograph XL tells a compelling story. The background story of father and son was told with the Alpine Eagle launch. As was the story of the inspiration of the Swiss Alps, nature and the eagle. The story remains true and strong. But what is also compelling is the earnest work that has gone into the design and execution. The use of ethical materials like ethical gold and Lucent Steel A228 is noteworthy. The design is true to its spirit, and true to haute horlogerie principles – exclusive movement, well designed, well executed. The case, dial and hands which holds itself together, even under close scrutiny, and radiates with class and refinement. A face which is at once beautiful and classical, yet robust, strong and avant garde. And ultimately, the very reasonable asking price for a watch designed from ground up, and completely build in-house in Fleurier.
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Apollo 11
Perhaps no ultimate chronograph list is complete without the mention of one of the myriad options available of the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch. Still the only NASA approved watch assigned to astronauts to use on the Moon, the Moonwatch is an iconic giant in the chronograph lansdcape. And our pick for this list is the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Apollo 11, released in 2019. As a celebration piece, Omega did not break any moulds with the design. It follows almost strictly to the well defined and familiar norms set by the original Speedmaster Moonwatch. The case is 42mm and in stainless steel, with a black polished ceramic bezel ring. The bezel is inset with a Ceragold™ tachymeter scale.
The movement is the new Omega Master Co-Axial Calibre 3861. Most admirers of the Moonwatch sigh a relief that it is a handwound movement. It is equipped with Silicon, Co-Axial and anti-magnetic technology.
This is a watch which has no competition. The original Speedmaster Professional secured for Omega the coveted title of the First Watch on the Moon, a fact proudly proclaimed by Omega at every instance possible. But all would be moot, if this was the only thing going for it. And of course, it is not. The Speedmaster is a competent performer, operating well under almost all conditions.And we think one of the variants, any one, must find its place in any serious collector’s arsenal.
Patek Philippe Ref. 5470P
The new Patek Philippe Ref. 5470P is a highly technical and sophisticated watch. Much more than its simple, clean looking dial might suggest. The chronograph is equipped with a brand new high beat 5Hz movement and a special module to display the 1/10th second measurements in a very intuitive way.
Instead of choosing to just do the new 5Hz chronograph movement and attaching the chronograph seconds hand to the fourth wheel, like for example what the Zenith El Primero has been doing for ages, Patek has chosen to develop a new module over the chronograph just to display the 1/10th seconds hand. The result is a high resolution capability to resolve the 1/10th second which is easy and intuitive to use. In the process of constructing this module, there were significant challenges to be overcome. Philip Barat and his technical team has taken the task to tackle these issues with very elegant solutions, which by the nature that they are simple to use is very complicated to create.
We will be exploring this remarkable chronograph in a future technical article which we hope to publish soon.
Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton
Bvlgari has been at it for a while. Originally a jewellery tour de force, they embarked on a serious journey to churn out the best watches, and have been spectacularly successful in doing so. And none more so in the category of the ultra thin than in any other. Bvlgari’s Octo Finissimo line has been around for (only) eight years and has broken as many thinness records. One of these world beaters is none other than the stunning Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton Automatic. Introduced in 2020, this Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton Automatic was, and continues to be, the world’s thinnest tourbillon chronograph wristwatch. Achieving such a feat requires watchmaking heroics, not just to make the movement so thin, but also to ensure that – in spite of its comical thinness – it is able to run reliably and precisely.
There are plenty of reasons to love the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton Automatic. And our pick is the platinum edition released for 2022. For one, it is well-designed. The 52-jewel manufacture Calibre BVL 388 achieves this ultra thin magic by placing the complications – the chronograph, the tourbillon and the automatic winding rotor on the same plane. The finishing is top top notch. And it is history in the making to boot. It also helps that there will only be less than a hundred pieces made in total, at least until Bulgari decides to make more in other materials.
Glashütte Original Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date
Glashütte Original is one of the under-rated watchmaking manufactures. They are highly independent in design, prototype and manufacture capability, and though being a part of the giant Swatch Group, they continue not to use group resouces for movements, dials or cases, and are proudly “Made in Germany”. We are fond of many of their watches, from the travel masterpiece of the Cosmopolite, to the elegance of the Senator Excellence. And their expertise in chronograph expressed in a retro looking case style they call the Seventies. The chronograph we selected is the 2022 edition of the Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date in a beautiful in-house produced blue dial, though truth be told, we are almost equally in love with the green fumé dial version introduced in 2019.
This is a fine chronograph, whose movement, the Caliber 37-2 is built in the classical way, and decorated in the high end haute horlogerie style. Yet it does not carry the very high price tags of the pure play haute horlogerie chronographs, but aimed at the more modest, sporty, stainless steel cased market. What sets it apart from its competition is the seventies inspired case design and the absolutely gorgeous dials. It straddles a nice balance between a nicely made and finished chronograph with a modest price. A win-win in our books.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph “Everest”
It is high time the VC Overseas collection get the recognition it deserves. Re-released in 2016, the line has gained significant recognition in the last 2 years, and now our market sources tell us that there is a significant waitlist for
most of the watches in the Overseas line, and the grey market is seeing a surge in after market pricing as a result. So our pick from the extensive chronograph line is the latest “Everest”, part of a two watch series : the Overseas Chronograph and Dual Time “Everest” watches. While the Dual Time version is more true to the one-off prototype Dual Time model, designed for American mountaineer and photographer Cory Richards. And used by Cory in his historical 2019 ascent of Mount Everest via the treacherous North-East Ridge; the Chronograph is arguably more captivating in terms of looks.
Overseas “Everest” edition ticks all the right boxes. It’s got a story behind it, it’s unique enough versus the rest of the collection, it’s a luxury sports watch, and it’s a Vacheron Constantin. The Overseas Chronograph “Everest” is a highly desirable watch with the extra pops of orange on the dial and the inherent popularity of the chronograph complication. It will be interesting to see if the “Everest” becomes a catalyst for future, more radically designed Overseas watches.
And there you have it. Our pick of the six most remarkable chronographs in the last 5 years. What would you have picked? And what is your reason(s) for making that choice. Please do tell us.
Hi Peter, great article and interesting read to me as I love chronographs!
Personally I would also include for suggestions the Zenith Defy 21 Chronograph Ultraviolet. I love the way the seconds hand spins one revolution every second and I think the purple color and matte-blasted titanium case is very interesting.
Also another Bulgari to suggest would be the GMT Chronograph with the peripheral rotor. I’m new to watches so I can’t think of many other chronographs that have a GMT function, a peripheral rotor and ultra-thin to boot.
Thirdly would be the revamped Cartier Santos Chronograph XL which underwent a transformation from a beefy case and traditional pushers to a slimmer all-rounder with a monopusher, quick-change straps and ADLC bezel.
Lastly how about the Sinn EZM 1.1 S, a lefty chronograph that’s really stealth-like with great lume, interesting chronograph pusher action and also a minute hand hidden behind the seconds for the chronograph function replacing the need for sub-dials. Lastly a countdown bezel to keep things interesting and functional too.
Thanks again for a great article!d
ooh and if I may add…. the Glashutte Original Panograph (though I think it might not have been launched in the last 5 years) – you might have done an article in 2020 I think. Reading your article was one of the contributing factors I ended up buying a Panograph.
I love the CITIZEN Blue Angels chronograph watch…it is an Eco-drive, perpetual calendar, run by the atomic clock, day and date as well as many different time zones. In MY opinion, the best watch out there for someone that wants a great looking watch without having to worry about its functioning at top efficiency…
Great choice. I reply to your request and list five that I would have chosen, in no particular order of amazingness. The first that come to my mind is the Moser Streamliner. The reasons are (i) the incredible movement by Agenhor with the hidden rotor on the dial side and the numerous technological fixes of traditional chronograph niggles, and (ii) the bold design language typical for Moser, which sets it a part from others while looking fantastic at the same time. Another remarkable one for me is the Bulgari Octofinissimo for its great looks and the solution of having the rotor at the same level of the movement but, unlike a microrotor, surrounding it. This would have been prohibitive at times when a big watch had a 38 mm diameter but for modern ultra-thin automatic watches it seems an obvious and powerful alternative to a microrotor. A world apart is, of course, the Lange Double Split, no explanation needed. My favourite, maybe just crossing the five year line, is the Parmigiani Fleurier Chronor for its classic but non-vintage elegance, and the hand finished but understated gold movement, a totally new design on which, to my knowledge, Vaucher’s first chronograph movement is based, which has since been used in a number of exceptional watches, for example by Czapek. That makes four. I cannot immediately think of a worthy fifth, so I go with the Patek on your list.
Thanks for your thoughts and comments/ Great options too!
Lovely watches but for my money nothing comes close to the Girard Perregaux. This brand has it all even down to the superb bracelets all made in house. Their range is very comprehensive and for no money !
They’re all rubbish as they all have 30min counters which is frankly ridiculous.
A chronograph bought to use as an occasional stopwatch should have a minute counter that completes one revolution each hour because that’s literally how everyone’s used to reading a minute dial, it should also have an hour counter and unless you enjoy looking at your watch when not necessary and attracting show-offy attention by pressing buttons for the sheer hell of it a flyback is a must. Do any of these have even two out of those three prerequisites?
A really good chronograph should also have a stacked minute/hour dial or some other way of revealing its secret with barely the merest of subtle glances.
Watch enthusiasts obviously never use chronographs – if they did the 30min subdial would be a very rare oddity & not the lazy default option it’s always been.
Agreed on all those qualifications, Tom.
That said, of the watches shown here, the Glashutte design will wear very well.
Thanks for your comments. I disagree though. I frequently use the 30min counter for lots of things. Like timing pasta, to parking limits.
Thank you for the enjoyable article. The Alpine Eagle is really great value for what it offers. My additional suggestions for remarkable chronographs (I think they may squeeze into the past 5 years) would be the De Bethune DB21 Maxichrono and anything with the Agengraphe, like the Singer Track 1 or the Moser Streamliner.
great choices Daryll.
A very interesting and thoughfull account ,I own a speedmaster (sapphire sandwich ) ie the movement is exposed .the normal speedmaster is very accurate time piece and as good as any Co axial omega movement .I once owned a Co axial omega seamaster and it gained more time than the traditional speedy and I was glad to get rid of it . A Portofino IWC chronograph is the best I’ve ever had and its more accurate than a Rolex date just which is a very accurate watch8
Top Brand Watch Like a My Passport Happy 2022*
I would’ve wished to see Breitling’s Chronomat and Zenith’s Zentona mentioned…