Few timepieces rival the sheer creativity and functionality of the humble chronograph watch. These movements are available in a wide variety of styles, and they’re far more intriguing than their standard counterparts. Unlike traditional watches, the chronograph is more of a workhorse.
While the mechanical styles of old are much less of a factor in the modern world, the innovations and exceptional details that set the chronographs apart from traditional timepieces remain firmly intact. These are pricier watches, by and large, but well worth the spend if you’re a collector or simply want to add something substantial to your repertoire.
IWC Schaffhausen Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition Tribute to 3705
Back in 1994, IWC Schaffhausen introduced its first pilot watch, the 3705. The timepiece was among the first of its kind made with scratch-resistant casing, and it quickly earned a large fan following for its exquisite appearance. Today, the IWC Schaffhausen Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition Tribute to 3705 replicates the beauty of the original. Several of its components are made with Ceratanium®, a lightweight and break-resistant material that’s as tough as titanium and just as durable as ceramic.
Baltic Bicompax 002 Blue Gilt
Like something designed in the 1940s, the Baltic Bicompax 002 Blue Gilt is easily one of the most eye-catching watches you’ll come across. While its roots may be inspired by a different era, its construction, stability, and style sensibility are very much born of the 21st century. It’s evident in the brushed inner surface, the polished finish, and the flash of sparkling navy touched by hints of gold. The effect is chic and fashionable — perfect for those who favor a bit of Art-Deco flair but also appreciate the sheer beauty of pieces from the past.
OMEGA Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Chronograph
Talk about a legend. The OMEGA Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Chronograph is largely considered The Watch That Changed the World. Indeed, crew members on Apollo II wore it when they landed on the moon, including Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Virtually identical to those watches, this luminous and attractive accent gets a modern makeover courtesy of its Super-Luminova material used to elevate the appearance of the hour and hand markets. At a glance, it’s easily among the most subtle and refined watches available today.
Shinola The Canfield Chrono 43mm
If you love the look of the basics but are firmly committed to a chronograph, skip the bells and whistles and opt for Shinola The Canfield Chrono 43mm. The Detroit-made accessory features a solid stainless steel case that gleams from every angle, along with a sapphire crystal and an attractive, eye-catching face featuring matching Arabic minerals. Equally beguiling is the tan Beaumont leather, which exudes a sense of sophistication and is destined to take on a richer, more patinaed quality as it ages.
IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Chronograph
All about that blue. Made with dramatic alligator leather in a rich shade of navy blue, the IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Chronograph is a dream — and if you know the brand, odds are you know this watch, too. It’s relatively compact at 41mm, and is perfect for sliding onto any wrist. Don’t be fooled, though, by the size; the shapely bezel lends the timepiece a considerably more substantial look. Mark every moment and hold on tight to those beautiful memories while you make the most of this luxurious piece.
Autodromo Monposto Automatic Chronograph
Inspired by the wonder of Grand Prix racing, the Autodromo Monposto Automatic Chronograph was introduced in 2012 to great fanfare. At the time, it was a limited-edition creation that sold out in mere months. This timepiece is distinctive for its old-world detailing. Among the most notable is the red line, which lends a jolt to the otherwise neutral black and gray palette, and the handmade leather strap and roller buckle that channels the appearance of the leather bonnet straps used on Grand Prix cars of the time.
At a glance, the Yema Speedgraf is enough to take any watch enthusiast’s breath away. It’s just that beautiful, yet no one can ignore its fascinating history, either. Its inspiration is drawn from the brand’s black-and-white chronographs of the 1960s, which in their own right were groundbreaking productions that even today remain popular among collectors. This modern-day edit is immediately eye-catching for its distinctive contrast in colors. From the sleek metal to the old-world leather, it’s wonderfully creative in its design. It features a domed sapphire crystal and a 34-jewel, 45h power reserve Seiko NE86 caliber, it’s the chronograph that every enthusiast covets.