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Is this the year of the chrono?
Trend Forecaster

Is this the year of the chrono?

Friday, 21 February 2020
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Christophe Roulet
Editor-in-chief, HH Journal

“The desire to learn is the key to understanding.”

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5 min read

As tool watches gain in popularity, the chronograph’s star continues to rise. Whether reissues of legendary models, new executions of vintage designs or high-flying mechanisms, brands have it covered. Here’s our selection.

However much chronographs are mocked as the complication no-one really needs, more and more people want one on their wrist. Despite being regularly ridiculed for the multiple, hard-to-read counters that crowd the dial; despite being worn by city slickers incapable of telling their split-seconds from their flyback; despite offering mechanical precision to one tenth and even one hundredth of a second for little more than timing a soft-boiled egg… if the success of Dubois Dépraz is anything to go by (its chronograph module has done the rounds of Planet Watch), there is no getting away from the chrono.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly, a chronograph function adds interest to a dial thanks to a movement priced well within reason. Secondly, the development of a reliable and accurate integrated chronograph that won’t drain the movement of energy is a sufficiently complex undertaking to be compatible with even the most storied brands. Add to that the growing interest in tool watches and the chronograph, with its robust design and functions that are ideally suited to sport and leisure, has plenty to offer. So, is this the year of the chrono?

Breitling Avenger Chronograph 45 Night Mission

The Avenger completes the line-up of Breitling’s pilot watches, alongside the Aviator and the emblematic Navitimer. Launched in 2001, the collection has been re-energised with a design “inspired by performance”. Sporting a robust 45mm case in titanium for lightness, this Night Mission chrono is ready for adventure.

Avenger Chronograph 45 Night Mission © Breitling
Avenger Chronograph 45 Night Mission © Breitling
Glashütte Original Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date

Seventies nostalgics will fall head over heels for this chrono from Glashütte Original. It’s got it all, from the forest green dial to the square bezel, from the shape of the lugs to the layout of the pushers – not forgetting the pleasing symmetrical arrangement of the small seconds and power reserve display, chronograph hours in an aperture, a 30-minute counter and the signature Panorama Date.

Original Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date © Glashütte
Original Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date © Glashütte
H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Flyback Chronograph Automatic

For its debut sports watch, H. Moser & Cie. has gone all-out with a chronograph featuring a central display plus a flyback function for the minutes and seconds: a world-first, developed by Agenhor. Complex on the inside, on the outside this automatic chrono is the epitome of practical minimalism, in keeping with the brand’s philosophy.

Streamliner Flyback Chronograph Automatic © H. Moser & Cie
Streamliner Flyback Chronograph Automatic © H. Moser & Cie
IWC Pilot's Watch Timezoner Chronograph Edition "80 Years Flight to New York"

For the 80th anniversary of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s trans-Atlantic flight at the commands of a Latécoère 521 flying boat, IWC presents this Pilot’s Watch. The chronograph function combines hours and minutes in a subdial while a simple rotation of the bezel sets the time zone, thanks to IWC’s patented Timezoner function.

Pilot's Watch Timezoner Chronograph Edition
Pilot's Watch Timezoner Chronograph Edition "80 Years Flight to New York" © IWC
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Stainless Steel

Omega’s Calibre 321 – the first to have equipped the original Speedmaster in 1957 – is reporting for duty again. After appearing in a platinum Moonwatch in early 2019, this emblematic movement returns in a stainless steel execution that is directly inspired by the Speedmaster ST 105.003 worn by Edward White, the first American in space in 1965.

Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Stainless Steel © Omega
Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Stainless Steel © Omega
Panerai Luminor Luna Rossa Regatta – 47mm (PAM1038)

Panerai chose the 2019 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie to announce its partnership with Luna Rossa, Challenger for the 36th America’s Cup. Among the many models to come out of their partnership is this flyback chrono with regatta countdown. The case is in high-tech Carbotech™ with a sailcloth covering applied to the sandwich dial.

Luminor Luna Rossa Regatta – 47mm (PAM1038) © Panerai
Luminor Luna Rossa Regatta – 47mm (PAM1038) © Panerai
Richard Mille RM 50-04 Kimi Räikkönen Tourbillon Split-Seconds Chronograph

Richard Mille acknowledges the sporting achievements of 2007 Formula One champion Kimi Räikkönen and the Alfa Romeo Racing Team with this watch. The movement inside is a performance in its own right, combining a tourbillon with a split-seconds chronograph. Made from titanium and Carbon TPT®, two ultra-light materials, it barely tips the scales at just 7 grams.

RM 50-04 Kimi Räikkönen Tourbillon Split-Seconds Chronograph © Richard Mille
RM 50-04 Kimi Räikkönen Tourbillon Split-Seconds Chronograph © Richard Mille
TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Silver Limited Edition

In 1860 Edouard Heuer set up his watchmaking business in the Swiss town of Saint-Imier. Celebrations for the brand’s 160th anniversary get underway with this Carrera, inspired by the 1962 original. While the design is vintage, the Heuer 02 calibre is bang up-to-date, with a column wheel and vertical clutch for the chronograph and a full 80 hours of power reserve.

Carrera 160 Years Silver Limited Edition © TAG Heuer
Carrera 160 Years Silver Limited Edition © TAG Heuer
Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph 44 Hammerhead Shark Limited Edition MM

In the space of a year, Ulysse Nardin has entirely revamped its Diver range. After the Diver 44mm and 42mm, and after the Diver X and Lady Diver, the brand presents the star of the collection: a chronograph in three executions of black and titanium, blue and pink gold, and this Hammerhead Shark limited edition in blue, red and titanium.

Diver Chronograph 44 Hammerhead Shark Limited Edition MM © Ulysse Nardin
Diver Chronograph 44 Hammerhead Shark Limited Edition MM © Ulysse Nardin
Zenith Defy 21 Carl Cox

An international star on the techno scene, DJ Carl Cox is Zenith’s latest “friend” and, as such, gets his very own watch: the Defy 21 Carl Cox in a limited edition of 200. To mark the occasion, the 1/100th of a second chrono comes with a carbon fibre bezel, luminescent stitching on the strap, and a running seconds counter in the form of a vinyl record.

Defy 21 Carl Cox © Zenith
Defy 21 Carl Cox © Zenith
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