The first chronograph was created by watchmaker Louis Moinet in 1816; it was a mechanical stopwatch initially used for astronomical evaluation at sea, but one hundred years later it became a desired feature within timepieces (originally thanks to Longines). Dozens of the “novelties” at the 2023 Watches and Wonders show were chronographs, and some of them were technically or aesthetically groundbreaking.
Here are the top 5 chronographs that stood out for us!
1. Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s newest creation is an impressive feat of engineering on two fronts. The 49.4 x 29.9mm stainless steel Reverso Tribute Chronograph module features two dials: a sophisticated gray-blue sun-ray dial with hours and minutes on one side, and an intricately designed open-worked dial with chronograph functions, including bright blue hands and a rare retrograde 30-minute counter on the other. The wearer, like with any Reverso, can quickly switch between the two options. The high-tech timepiece is driven by their impressive manufacture caliber 860 manual-winding movement, which was developed in-house.
2. A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph
The ODYSSEUS Automatic Chronograph from A. Lange & Söhne features the first self-winding chronograph movement from the German manufacturer, the L156.1 DATOMATIC caliber, and is a technical timepiece with exquisitely designed elegance. The debuting wristwatch features a nuanced dial with multiple premium finishes housed in a suitably sized 42.5mm stainless steel case. The outer rim features a fractional second scale, while the inner reaches measure minutes and seconds. The red color of the chronograph hand makes it easier to read. Only one hundred of these exquisite pieces will ever be made.
3. Grand Seiko Evolution 9 Tentagraph
Grand Seiko’s Evolution 9 Tentagraph SLGC001 is a functional innovation wrapped in opulent design; it has a 10-beat chronograph that can run for up to 72 hours on a single charge. The 43.2mm titanium case houses the automatic chronograph movement caliber 9SC5 developed in-house by the innovative Japanese watchmaker. The timepiece’s precise design prioritizes readability, but the deep blue dial (with a pattern inspired by the summit of Mount Iwate, which can be seen from Grand Seiko’s design studio) is stunning.
4. IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Top Gun Oceana
Swiss watchmaker IWC has collaborated with Top Gun, the United States Navy’s Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, to create this stunning new timepiece. The new Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Top Gun Oceana, named after the navy color of pilot dungarees, features the brand’s 69380 calibers automatic movement in addition to a 41.9mm colored ceramic case and rubber strap. The timepiece features a clear and legible chronograph that can be read at a glance at any time of day.
5. Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback
Zenith has debuted a brand new Pilot collection for 2023 to honor the brand’s long history in aviation, which dates back to 1888. Both the black ceramic and stainless steel models feature striking designs, with the latter including a fun nod to the Zenith Rainbow Flyback from the mid-1990s. The black face of the watch has horizontal grooves that give the dial more dimension. It’s a big watch, measuring 42.5mm. El Primero 3652 movement, which features flyback functionality and an instant jumping big date, provides the power for this timepiece. It has two straps that can be switched out as needed.
Watches And Wonders 2023 reaffirmed the popularity of the mechanical chronograph as a complication.