Beyond telling the time, one of the most popular extra functions (‘complications’ in the world of watches) is that of a chronograph, or stopwatch. These watches stand out on the wrist because they typically possess two additional pushers on either side of the winding crown, allowing the watch to be used to measure an event with down-to-the-second accuracy. It’s a tool with endless applications — and the chronograph has made its mark felt in Olympic sports, on the wrists of astronauts and perhaps most iconically in the world of motorsports. So, if accurate timing and sporty style matter to you, here’s seven of the best chronograph watches to start you off.
TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre Heuer 02
If you’re looking for an instantly recognisable, historically significant chronograph, the TAG Heuer Monaco is a watch you need to know.
Originally released in 1969, it’s one of the very first automatic chronographs, and a genuine style statement thanks to its bold square shape. The Calibre 11 powered reference CAW211P is the modern watch that pays faithful homage to the original watch, made famous on the wrist of Steve McQueen. But if you’re after something a little more modern, how about the TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre Heuer 02, an updated take on the classic, powered by the impressive (and made in-house) Heuer 02 movement. Whichever way you go, you’ll fall for the blocky beauty of this classic chronograph. Model: CBL2111.FC6453, Recommended Price $9200
Available at the following Gregory Boutiques: Bankstown, Blacktown, Bondi Junction, Brookvale, Burwood, Campbelltown, Castle Hill, Chatswood, Hornsby, Liverpool, Miranda, Parramatta, Penrith.
Breitling Avenger Chronograph 45 Night Mission
The chronograph is capable of making a smooth transition from the racetrack to the runway, and few brands are better at proving that point that Breitling, who first launcher its iconic Navitimer in 1952.
Having said that, this watch, the Breitling Avenger Chronograph 45 Night Mission, is more like akin to a stealth fighter than anything with a propeller. The black titanium case is 45mm across — as large as it is lightweight, and the intensely luminous hands and hours (inspired by the stencils on aircraft carrier decks) stand out on the inky dial, relieved only by a few flashes of amber. But just because this technical piece has been made with flight in mind doesn’t mean it’s afraid of a splash landing, the 300m of water resistance ensure its equally comfortable on land, at sea or in the sky. Model: V13317101B1X2, Recommended Price $8,350
Image courtesy of Breitling
Available at the following Gregory Boutiques: Bondi Junction, Burwood, Chatswood, Chadstone & Miranda.
Tudor Black Bay Chrono S&G
Tudor’s Heritage Black Bay is one of the most popular dive watches out there, but did you know it comes in a chronograph version too, and in stylish two-tone no less?
The Tudor Black Bay Chrono Steel & Gold (or S&G to its friends) is a home run from the prestigious brand. Their legendary build quality and strong value proposition meets some seriously smart design, the look is pleasingly retro thanks to the warm gold, and details like the ‘snowflake’ hour hand and that red line of text indicating the depth rating (200 metres).
The 41mm case size though is decidedly modern, and the satin-finished steel and gold combo (especially on the bracelet) manages to be a completely contemporary throwback piece. A neat trick if you can pull it off, and Tudor has. Model: 79363N-72063, Recommended Price on bracelet, $9,540. Model: 79363N-0002, Recommended Price on leather strap, $7,900.
Available at the following Gregory Boutiques: Bondi Junction, Brookvale, Burwood, Chatswood, Chadstone, Miranda, Parramatta.
IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire
The Pilot’s watches of IWC are legendary, having first been made for the British Ministry of Defense back in 1948.
This IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire embodies this golden age of aviation, the black dial is a classic design and well-proportioned steel case that measures 41mm across by 15.3mm tall. Even better, it’s powered by an IWC-manufactured movement.
The high-quality green fabric strap and creamy luminous dial details are deft touches that add loads of character. Oh, and if steel isn’t your deal, the watch is also available in bronze. Model: IW387901, Recommended Price $8,650
Available at the following Gregory Boutique: Bondi Junction.
Panerai Luminor Yachts Challenge – 44mm – PAM00764
Given that Panerai’s heart and history lie in the depths of the Mediterranean, it makes sense for their chronographs to come in an aquatic flavour. And the Panerai Luminor Yachts Challenge does not disappoint.
Not only does this 44mm Luminor-cased watch in titanium exhibit those classic Panerai hallmarks of the oversized crown guard, and instantly recognisable Arabic numerals, but it also packs a flyback chronograph movement (the in-house P.9100 calibre). What is a flyback I hear you ask? Well, it’s a variant of chronograph that allows you to reset the chronograph counters and instantly start timing another event simply by pressing the bottom chronograph pusher. Useful in high pressure, time-sensitive situations … like yacht races. Model: PAM00764, Recommended Price $18,500
Available at the following Gregory Boutique: Bondi Junction.
Zenith Defy El Primero 21
Few names are as famous in the field of chronographs as the hallowed El Primero from Zenith. The watch was, as the name suggests, the first automatic chronograph to be announced back in 1969, and with its high-beat rate translating to greater accuracy, it’s earned it’s place amongst the all-time hall of fame many times over.
But over time the El Primero has evolved, which is where the Zenith Defy El Primero 21 comes in. The black ceramic case, open worked dial and angular sporty design are enough to let you know that this is an aggressively modern take on the genre, but the real party trick happens when you push the button — that central second hand revolves around the dial once per second, meaning you can time events with 1/100th of a second accuracy. Crucial if you’re an Olympic-level sprinter, but if not, it’s still an awesome sight to behold. Model: 49.9000.9004-78.R782, Recommended Price $19,400
Available at the following Gregory Boutique: Chadstone.