You’ve seen it often and heard how exquisite this complication is. But what exactly is a chronograph and what does it do?
In simpler words, a chronograph watch has a built-in stopwatch feature that allows the wearer to measure time intervals without interfering in the normal time-telling function of the watch. A chronograph watch can accurately record elapsed time from 1/100 of a second up to 12 hours.
You can see and compare the base time and elapsed time on the sub-dials. Usually, these sub-dials display either minutes and hours or minutes and seconds counters. A simple chronograph is the most common, which is operated by either one or two pushers to start, stop and reset time.
The chronograph is one of the most-sought after complications in watches. Whether manual, self-winding or quartz-driven, the chronograph watch usually has three main functions: start (to activate the chronograph), stop (to take a reading) and return to zero (to keep it ready for re-use). These functions are activated by pushers located on the side of the chronograph watch, along with the crown.
Different Chronograph Complications
The flyback chronograph, on the other hand, is a more advanced complication in which you can use the reset function without the need to first stoping the chronograph (unlike in the simple chronographs). For multiple events that occur simultaneously, you will need the split-seconds chronograph, an additional complication within a chronograph function.
Are you simply drawn to its aesthetics? Or do you want a chronograph watch for its actual function? Either way, these bold and masculine chronograph watches will never disappoint.
Breguet Transatlantique Type XXI Flyback Chronograph
Looking suave without even trying, the Breguet Transatlantique Type XXI is a handsome flyback chronograph watch.
The 42.5mm 18K rose gold case houses the automatic 584 Q calibre movement with a flyback function. Its dark-grey dial displays hour markers with luminescent Arabic numerals and minute markers around the outer rim. Three sub-dials feature day/night indicator at 3 o’clock, small seconds at 9 o’clock, and 12 hour totaliser at 6 o’clock. A small date window peeks at 6 o’clock, too.
Water-resistant to 100 metres, the Breguet Transatlantique Type XXI Flyback Chronograph sports a black crocodile leather. What’s more, this chronograph watch boasts 48 hours of power reserve. How’s that for a suave and technically savvy timepiece!
Patek Philippe Complications Chronograph
Elegant and sophisticated in its 18K yellow gold case and brown crocodile leather strap, the Patek Philippe Complications Chronograph is big both on style and technical functions.
Although it features several functions and details on the dial, this chronograph watch still manages to look clean and streamlined. Two sub-dials feature the small seconds (at 9 o’clock) and 30 minute chronograph counters (at 3 0’clock). The rectangular pushers are reminiscent of Patek Philippe’s famous 1940s and 1950s wrist chronographs. The 39mm case houses the Patek Philippe CH 29-535 PS calibre manual-winding movement, which offers a 65-hour power reserve. Waterproofed up to 30 metres, a brown alligator leather strap completes this chronograph dress watch.
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Co-Axial GMT Chronograph
An homage to Omega’s maritime heritage, the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Co-Axial GMT Chronograph features a dial with a texture reminiscent of a sailboat’s wooden decks.
The self-winding Omega 3606 calibre movement with column wheel mechanism and Co-Axial escapement beats at the heart of this powerful chronograph watch. The chronometer functions are activated by return-to-zero pushers with 12 hours and 30 minutes sub-dial recorders. A second time zone through the 24-hour hand with the triangular tip is visible at a glance. The impressive chronograph watch boasts 52 hours of power reserve and 150m water resistance. And a matching black leather strap completes the look.
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
Paying tribute to Daytona — a place in Florida famous for the iconic Daytona 500 NASCAR race — the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is synonymous with motor racing. It allows drivers to measure accurate elapsed time and speed on the tachymetric bezel.
The self-winding mechanical calibre 4130 movement drives this chronograph watch, which has 50 to 72 hours of power reserve. Activate the chronograph functions — from 1/8 seconds to 12 hours — using the pushers that can be screwed down like a crown when not in use. In addition, the chronograph also features Parachrom hairspring, which ensures greater resistance to shocks and temperature changes. A Rolex-patented Oysterflex bracelet and a 100m water-resistance complete this robust watch.
Panerai Mare Nostrum Acciaio Chronograph
Panerai launched its first chronograph in 1943 with the introduction of the Mare Nostrum prototype. To this day, Panerai’s chronographs carry the same sophistication and craftsmanship as the original.
Featuring the manual-winding calibre OP XXXIII movement, the limited-edition Panerai Mare Nostrum Acciaio Chronograph is a 42mm wonder of a watch. The dark blue dial features luminous Arabic numerals and indexes and two sub-dials. The sub-dials display counters for 60 seconds and 30 minutes chronograph functions. The brushed stainless steel bezel has a tachymeter scale engraving, complementing its edgy design; meanwhile, a blue alligator leather strap finishes the sporty design.
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph
Highlighting date, power reserve, and chronograph functions, this TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph is a powerful timepiece, to say the least.
Featuring a skeleton dial against a fine-brushed and polished steel case, the 43mm watch runs on a Swiss-made Calibre Heuer 01 movement. Rhodium-plated luminescent indexes and three sub-dials with 1/4 second, 30 minutes and 12 hours chronograph counters are visible on its skeleton dial. It boasts a power reserve of 50 hours and water-resistance of up to 50 metres.
Moreover, its fine-brushed and sandblasted titanium bezel features a tachymeter scale for an additional edge. The same fine-brushed and polished steel makes up its bracelet.
Interested in another fun complication? Why not check out our feature on the romantic watch moonphase complications.