Jewelry & Watches

5 Fine Chronographs Every Serious Watch Collector Should Have

These chronographs are undeniably easy on the eyes.
IMAGE COURTESY OF LUCERNE ATELIER/ CHOPARD/ BREITLING/ AUDEMARS PIGUET/ IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN
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Time waits for no man, and before you know it, your counter has reached zero or the little moments have passed unnoticed and forgotten. That may be a more romantic way of looking at the chronograph complication, an instrument that measures the nuances of time with a separate sweep seconds hand, which is usually accompanied by minute and hour sub-dials. In the simplest terms, it is a timepiece with stopwatch capabilities. Thoroughly utilitarian, the chronograph was crafted to measure flight times, record laps of horse races, as a countdown, to figure out elapsed time, and more—not that you need an excuse to own a beautiful, well-made wristwatch. Here, some of the most valuable chronographs in the market right now.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak


The Royal Oak Chronograph celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with a seven-model series that celebrates the rebellious design of the original Royal Oak. These are most captivating with their two-tone dials, pumped-up chronograph counters, wider hour markers, and brighter glow (in darkness). What to get? For something audacious, a pink gold case with a blue alligator strap. For something subdued, a steel case with a black Grande Tapisserie dial. Greenbelt 5, 728.0094.

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph


Pushing the boundaries of watchmaking, IWC combines a chronograph, perpetual calendar, and moon phase in one watch. That’s a lot of stuff, four sub-dials in a 43-mm case to be exact. And yet, this looks harmonious and elegant. IWC has opted to highlight the moon phase, rendering it in a dazzling blue, which sets it apart from the rest. Also, the chronograph dial combines both hour and minute counters, leaving more room for the perpetual calendar. Greenbelt 5, 728.0094.

Chopard Mille Miglia Classic XL


Arguably the most memorable of Chopard’s arsenal of chronograph watches, the Mille Miglia has been the official timepiece of the famous Italian race after which it is named since 1988. The 90th-anniversary limited edition piece is outfitted with an 18-karat rose gold case and a tan leather strap that complements a minimalist white dial, allowing this chronograph a sporty, rugged appearance while also giving it finesse. Greenbelt 5, 707.9881.

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Panerai Officine Luminor 1950 PCYC 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic


The vintage appeal of the Luminor Chrono Flyback is very much appreciated. A straightforward chronograph, its functions can easily be mastered. The chronograph’s minute and seconds hands are found at center (hour counter at 3 o’clock and small seconds at 9 o’clock) and their respective hands are of different colors. Simple. There is one trick you’ll like, too: The flyback function restarts the chronograph hands at a push of a button. Lucerne Atelier, Shangri-la at the Fort.

Breitling Navitimer Rattrapante


How does one make the chronograph even more impressive? Breitling adds a split-seconds movement (a grand complication) on top of all that. Rattraper means “catch up” in French, and that is exactly what the split-second movement does. Two hands sweep around the watch together until you press the pusher. One hand stops and the other continues (you can now read the intermediate time). Press the pusher and the static hand catches up with the other. This means you get more instruments with which to measure precious moments. Consider the gold-case version with a black rubber strap, which softens the entire endeavor. In the case of this tough-looking timepiece, that’s a good thing. Greenbelt 5, 756.0561.

This story was originally published in the August 2017 issue of Town&Country.

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About The Author
Clifford Olanday
Senior Fashion Editor, Esquire Philippines
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