Top chronograph watches remain incredibly popular, even if most of us don’t even use their signature chronograph watch functions. I am no exception; along with GMT/UTC functions, chronographs are one of my favorite complications. For all chronograph fans like myself, I have compiled a top 10 list (actually it has now become a top 20+) of my personal best chronographs and best chronograph watches here and on my blog, Watch-Insider.com. All watches are relatively new, either from 2013 or 2014; I have added 2015 watches already and will do so again soon as the list will be updated throughout the year. The top 20 chronograph watches are listed in alphabetical order and prices aren’t taken into account. While these are my personal choices for the top chrono watches at the moment, there are certainly other interesting chronographs worth mentioning. Please feel free to comment with your own choices for best chronographs and top chronograph watches. Also, some of the chronograph models shown here are available with other dials and/or bracelets and straps.
Breitling Chronomat GMT Black Steel: a limited edition of 1,000 pieces with an all-black design. Very cool! The 4-mm Chronomat is equipped with the in-house chronograph caliber B04, which also powers a second-time-zone indication.
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Chronographe: With its in-house caliber 1904-CH MC, this 42-mm chrono really deserves a place on the wrists of watch aficionados. In the past, many of them complained that Cartier did not offer any in-house movements, let alone in a chronograph watch. Gentlemen, things have changed!
Chopard Superfast Chrono: The 45-mm Superfast chronograph is equipped with the new in-house caliber 03.05-M, created at Fleurier Ébauches. This new manufacture, owned by Chopard, now produces less expensive chronograph calibers than its other facility, L.U.C. Step by step, calibers from Fleurier Ébauches will replace the ETA calibers Chopard is currently using. For more on the Superfast collection, click here.
Hublot Big Bang Unico Titanium Ceramic: The evolution of the Big Bang, with a slightly modified case and new “sexier” round push-buttons. The 45-mm titanium chronograph case contains the in-house caliber HUB 1242 Unico. A less expensive steel version will follow. Certainly a nice chronograph watch.
IWC Ingenieur Double Chronograph Titanium: With its split-seconds function, this 45-mm Ingenieur reflects the technical spirit of the collection. The 79420 caliber is based on the Valjoux 7750, years ago, IWC (specifically, Austrian movement developer Richard Habring, who worked there at the time) added the split-seconds mechanism to it and transformed the chronograph caliber more or less to an in-house caliber.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea Chronograph Cermet: This is a very good-looking, 44 mm chronograph powered by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s manufacture Caliber 758. The very light aluminum case is protected with an ultra-thin “Cermet” ceramic bezel.
Longines HydroConquest Chronograph: Possibly the best price ever offered for such impeccable quality. Longines Caliber L688 is a modified version of the Valjoux 7753, equipped with a column wheel and exclusively reserved for Longines. Together with the all over quality of the 41-mm case and bracelet, it makes for a great deal.
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Dark Side of the Moon: A 44.25-mm ceramic case that is cut out (drilled and milled) from a full ceramic block, with a ceramic bezel and a ceramic dial. It contains Omega’s in-house Caliber 9300, with co-axial escapement and silicon balance spring. For more info on the watch, click here.
Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio: A 47-mm regatta-countdown chronograph in a titanium case… There is not another watch with that complication on the market that is as simple to use. It’s equipped with the in-house caliber 9100/R.
Rado HyperChrome Court Collection: You might have not expected Rado to make this list, but it is deserving of recognition. I like the very cool 45-mm ceramic case and its design. Orange as a contrast to the deep black is just one color choice; green and yellow are two other options. The watch is equipped with an ETA 2894-2 movement.
Alpina Alpiner4 Chronograph: To me, one of the best newcomers in the past years. The Alpina brand finally discovers its history — which dates to 1883 — and produces good-looking, high-quality sports watches for a very fair price. Yes, there is “only” a Sellita SW500 movement under the dial rather than an in-house movement, but in the end, who cares? The Sellita SW 500 happens to be a very good chronograph caliber. The prices start around $3,495.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph: Still one of the coolest chronographs on earth. There is no need to reinvent an icon. In this cool new new blue execution, the Royal OakOffshore’s engine is the in-house Caliber 3120, upon which AP adds a chronograph module produced by Dubois-Dépraz. Yes, some might say that the price is unacceptable for a watch with a modular movement, but since AP is still working on its own fully integrated chronograph caliber, there is no alternative at the moment. The price: $25,600.
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