Luxury sports watches have seemed to undergo a revival in recent years, with the introduction of numerous interpretations from multiple watch manufacturers.
More recently, manufacturers have went beyond just making luxury sports watches. In this month alone, we have seen two manufacturers launching luxury sports watches with the chronograph function. Perhaps this is the organic way of growing the collection – first with the base model to test the receptiveness, before moving on with more interesting variants and complications.
So, what are some of the options available in the market? What are the ones that are possibly worth a double take? Let us find out!
Bell & Ross BR 05 Chronograph
The first watch in this article today comes from the latest novelty that was launched by Bell & Ross earlier this week. Cue the BR-05 Chronograph.
The BR05 Chronograph is an extension of the sports collection, which was only launched last year. The new BR05 Chronograph is a rather handsome watch, with a bi-compax layout that allows the watch to retain both the “12” and “6” Arabic numeral indices. It is perhaps a reference to the 1970s styling, but we reckon this one works rather nicely on this timepiece.
Powering the timepiece is the BR-CAL.301 movement, a staple in the Bell & Ross family. It is based on the ETA 2894-2 movement, with an additional chronograph module. The self-winding movement features an additional date display at the 4:30 position, and it has a power reserve of around 42 hours.
The 40mm Bell & Ross BR05 Chronograph is priced at S$9,500 for the variant with the integrated bracelet. It is available either in blue or black dial variants. Overall, the BR05 Chronograph is a compelling timepiece and quite frankly, it offers tremendous value considering its complication and the competition within the genre of luxury sports watches.
Omega Speedmaster Mark II
The Omega watches from the 1970s and 1980s were rather interesting. They are typically stylish in design, with extensive use of colours and different case shapes to make itself stand out. The Speedmaster Mark II, which was originally launched in 1969, is certainly one of our favourite Omega timepieces from that era.
In Baselworld 2014, Omega had decided to launch an updated version of the Mark II. The 2014 variant still remains true to its roots. The watch retains its distinctive case shape, together with its dial design and the bracelet of the watch. However, the new variant features several updates as well. This includes the new Co-Axial Calibre 3330 self-winding movement, which features a Si14 silicon balance spring, a column-wheel chronograph mechanism, and a date display. In addition, the tachymeter scale glows in the dark as well, which adds a nice touch to the chronograph.
The Mark II is available in three different variants at the moment, although we have a slight preference for the model with the orange accents (the one that we have pictured above). Priced at S$8,250, we reckon the new Mark II offers collectors the best of both worlds – combining the latest mechanical bits into a vintage-looking timepiece from the yesteryears. It is also an interesting and slightly uncommon option for collectors who find the regular Speedmasters a little passé.
Panerai Luminor Yachts Challenge (PAM00764)
Panerai is a much-maligned brand, and it has certainly tried to revamp itself in the past few years to bring the brand back to its former glory. The Luminor Yachts Challenge – codename PAM00764 – is a good example of Panerai moving on the right track.
The 44mm timepiece has all the hallmarks of a Panerai watch. It features a gigantic Luminor case in titanium, with the instantly recognisable crown guard and dial design (in terms of the indices and numerals). This particular piece, with reference to the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge (PCYC), also comes with blue accents and a flyback chronograph function. We like how the watch is functional, and yet retains legibility and cleanliness in its design cues. It is also rather comfortable as well despite its size, all thanks to the case material.
Fitted with an in-house Calibre P.9100, the self-winding movement boasts a power reserve of around 72 hours. With a price of S$19,000, the PAM00764 is a robust and well-priced timepiece for what it is. In fact, with the additional flyback function, it can be potentially useful for many other situations as well.
Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chronograph
The Chopard Alpine Eagle – launched late last year – may be one of the latest to join the line-up of the Geneva-based watch manufacturer. But the luxury sports watch has an interesting history to back.
The Alpine Eagle was inspired by the St. Moritz, which the older readers might find familiar. That was notably the first was that was designed by Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, at a tender age of 22 (back in 1980). This year, Chopard launched a 44mm flyback chronograph model – available in three different version (two steel version with blue or black dial, as well as a two-tone steel and gold variant with a black dial). The Alpine Eagle XL Chronograph still retains the original DNA of the collection, and it is admittedly much better-looking (and less one-dimensional) as compared to the base model.
The watch is powered by the in-house Calibre 03.05-C. This is an existing movement that was first seen in the Mille Miglia XL 2016 Race Edition. The movement features the flyback chronograph function, as well as an additional date display at the 4:30 position. Notably, the 310-part movement has a power reserve of around 60 hours, and it is protected by 4 different patents. The finishing, however, was a notch lower as compared to the ones from L.U.C. collection. It is far from a deal-breaker, but it would have been icing on the cake had Chopard introduced more haute horlogerie finishing techniques on this movement itself.
The Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chronograph is priced at S$26,500 (for the stainless-steel version). This is a great timepiece, with an equally compelling story to boot. This is certainly worthy to be included into any collector’s watch collection.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph 5500V
Amongst the “holy trinity” of Swiss watchmaking, Vacheron Constantin has always been in the shadows behind the likes of Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe. But the Overseas Chronograph is a living proof that the Geneva-based watch manufacturer is pulling no punches.
It is hard to believe that the new generation of Overseas watches has been around for the past four years, but it is still a sublime timepiece that is capable of capturing our hearts every time we see it. The Overseas Chronograph is fitted with a beautiful in-house Calibre 5200, a self-winding vertical clutch chronograph with a power reserve of around 50 hours. Another highlight of the watch lies within its ingenious quick release mechanism for the watch’s strap. The latter is brilliant and seamless, and it allows the Overseas to be versatile enough for whatever occasion that it is being called upon – be it for sporty or dressy events alike.
With a retail price of S$44,500, we reckon the watch offers collectors a serious alternative to the likes of both the Royal Oak and Nautilus. The Overseas is truly an understated piece, and its versatility is something that makes the watch a rather unique and interesting proposition within its category.
H. Moser Streamliner Flyback Chronograph Automatic
The Streamliner, launched earlier in January this year, is the latest timepiece to join the H. Moser & Cie.’s repertoire. Drawing inspiration from the 1970s, the organic-looking timepiece features a curvaceous case with an integrated bracelet. The watch is also fitted with a clean looking dial, but with the brand’s signature fumé and an additional griffé (French for clawed, or scratched) treatment to it. The end result is amazing, and it provides a visual treat to the collector. We also like the white and minute tracks on the peripherals of the dial, which accentuates the design cues of the 1970s.
Notably, the watch is powered by the Calibre HMC 902 – a movement that is co-developed with Agenhor. The self-winding movement has a power reserve of around 54 hours, and the winding rotor is fitted between the dial and the movement. This allows the user the pleasure to view the movement in full glory from the exhibition case back. The latter is certainly important, considering that the HMC 902 is a well-finished movement with all standard haute horlogerie elements ticked off as “well done”.
The 42.3mm H. Moser Streamliner is priced at S$60,700. The watch has a great design, and the movement is equally compelling as well. This is definitely worth a consideration if one is looking for a solid and bold timepiece that stands out in a crowd.
It is great to see watch manufacturers taking a bolder approach in interpretating luxury sports watches. It is also heartening to see the brands growing the collection as well with more complications and design variants – especially for those that have the capabilities to do so.
We do hope that beyond the usual suspects (think Rolex Daytona, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore, or Patek Philippe Nautilus/Aquanaut Chronograph), collectors will consider these alternatives as well. The watches that we have selected today are of a certain caliber, but more importantly, they are all great in their own ways as well.