Style / Buyers Guides

20 Best Men’s Chronograph Watches (2011 Edition)

Whilst some may enjoy more refined timepieces, others- like me- prefer large, expensive and complicated chronographs. Chronographs are defined as timepieces fitted with a recording device, as a stylus and rotating drum, used to mark the exact instant of anoccurrence, especially in astronomy. If you think it’s important to know the split second when your pop-tarts, chicken casserole or 70′s disco perm is ready, then a chrono is for you.


OUR PICKS: THE BEST CHRONO WATCHES ON THE INTERWEBS.
You’ll notice we have not included prices. This is because RRP varies greatly from country to country. 

Chronograph #1 – Breitling Navitimer World
The Breitling Navitimer World brings style and functionality together in an effortlessly chic package, available in either steel or rose gold.  Ideal for the international traveler, the caseback is engraved with the timezones of major cities around the globe, and an additional central hand, designated by its bright red tip, displays the time in another location on the 24-hour scale.  Details like the colour of the dial can be customized using Breitling’s Made To Measure service.

Chronograph #2 – Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean
Omega launched its first watch for divers in 1932, and the company has since become a leading choice for sailors and divers looking for an accessory that mixes fashion with durability.  The Seamaster range was introduced to the world in 1948, and now comes the Seamaster Planet Ocean Collection – a stunning range of functional dive watches that include features like Co-Axial escapement and a four-year warranty.

Chronograph #3 – Breitling Chrono-Matic Blacksteel
Another triumph from Breitling.  The Chrono-Matic is a strikingly modern interpretation of the wristwatch, defined by a black steel case, constructed using a high-resistance carbon-based treatment,  and complimented by the Ocean Racer perforated black rubber strap and red rubber-molded bidirectional rotating bezel that frames the face.  This watch is part of a limited 2000-piece series.

Chronograph #4 – IWC Da Vinci Chronograph Ceramic
Da Vinci Chronograph Ceramic is an impressive feat of engineering.  This piece features a highly polished case made from ceramic and satin-finished, grade 5 titanium.  The tonneau-shaped minute display is truly unique, appearing to hover above the dial as the stopwatch hand glides partially below it.  An eye-catching see-through sapphire-glass back completes the look of this timepiece.

Chronograph #5 – IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition Galapagos Islands
The Aquatimer Chronograph Edition Galapagos Islands is a mouthful, but this attractively minimalist creation lives up to its lengthy name.  The stand-out feature of this watch is the stainless-steel case, which undergoes a complex vulcanization process that gives it a matte-black rubber coating and makes it pressure-resistant to 12 bar.  Other notable features include luminescent elements on the dial and hands, and a special-edition engraving on the back.  Proceeds benefit the Galapagos-based Charles Darwin Foundation.


Chronograph #6 – Breitling Superocean Héritage Chronographe
The Superocean Héritage Chronographe is water-resistant to 200 meters and contains a self-winding movement that has been chonometer-certified by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute which is responsible for verifying the accuracy and precision of wristwatches in Switzerland.  For those who thrive on options and customization, a choice in wristbands – the Ocean Classic steel mesh bracelet or the Ocean Racer rubber strap which comes in three colours – is offered.

Chronograph #7 – IWC Portofino Chronograph
Do you like Italian sports cars?  So does IWC Schaffhausen, who took the inspiration for the sleek push-buttons on the Portofino Chronograph from the cockpit of 1960s Italian sports cars.  In keeping with the sporty aesthetic, the watch features a minimalist dial with appliquéd Roman numerals and convex sapphire glass.  A Milanese mesh bracelet is available in addition to the classic alligator leather strap.

Chronograph #8 – Graham Silverstone Tourbillograph
The Graham Silverstone Tourbillograph is a sophisticated instrument inspired by the legendary Silverstone Circuit raceway in England.  This piece stands out thanks to its automatic column-wheel see-through chronograph-tourbillon and jet black steel case.  A crocodile strap and see-through back are the finishing touches on this blacked-out ode to modern masculinity.

Chronograph #9 – Omega Speedmaster Chronometer
The Omega Speedmaster Day-Date sports a self-winding chronograph movement with day, date and month indications.  The watch also features a tachymeter to serve all your speed-reading needs.  A range of options are available to ensure that the watch compliments your sense of style, with several choices of band, case, and dial on offer.

Chronograph #10 – Louis Vuitton Tambour Diving Chronograph
With the help of Paul Pettavino- a young boy who suffers with Duchenne muscular dystrophy- luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton have given the Tambour Diver a new look for the charity watch auction ‘Only Watch 2011′. The striking chronograph is made from black gold (white gold with a PVD treatment) and features dial details, rotative bezel markings and a thick rubber bracelet all in bright orange. The transparent back enables anyone to see the sophisticated LJP 8181 movement and the watch, a true diver, is fully water resistant.


Chronograph #11 – Piaget Polo FortyFive
The Piaget Polo FortyFive is a fashion-forward take on the wristwatch with a Titanium case, steel gadroons, and luminescent hour markers.  This model is outfitted with an ultra-thin self-winding calibre 880P movement, dual time-zone and large date features, and a 45mm diameter case designed to remind the wearer of the 45 minutes of a polo match.  The Piaget signatures – blued screws, circular Geneva ribbing and calibre number – provide the finishing touches on this timepiece.

Chronograph #12 – Panerai Luminor 1950 8 days Chrono Monopulsante GMT
The unique, manually-wound movement of this expansively-named piece is designed and manufactured entirely by Panerai.  The watch is packed with stand-out features like a power reserve of 8 days, a second time zone with day/night indication, a linear indication of the amount of running time remaining, and a device for zeroing the seconds hand.


Chronograph #13 – Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona
Rolex needs no introduction.  The Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona is a time-keeping device designed for the gentleman with undisputed elegance and a passion for driving.  Introduced in 1963, the Cosmograph Daytona was created to meet the singular demands of the professional race car driver.  In its current incarnation, the watch features a patented chronograph mechanism and a bezel with a tachometric scale – perfect for recording your lap times.

Chronograph #14 – Girard-Perregaux ww.tc Only Watch Edition
Girard-Perregaux’s 2011 contribution to the Only Watch action, the profits from which are donated to research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy, practically defines “standing out from the crowd.”  A truly original take on watch design, this piece uses a rare combination of materials and a high-tech structure to blow away the competition.  The soft, smooth look of the watch is complemented by a striking red, white, and black colour scheme, world time feature, and the ultra-light titanium oxide used to produce the white single-piece watch-case middle.

Chronograph #15 – Bell & Ross Vintage BR 126 Original Carbon
With the Vintage Original collection, Bell & Ross revisit the adventurous spirit of pilots in the 1940s.  Simplicity is key where this device is concerned – the dials are easily readable, and the case is a clean and uncomplicated matte black PVD finish.  The strap, an unadorned brown calfskin closed with a pin buckle, is similarly simple yet sophisticated.

Chronograph #16 – TAG Heuer Mikrotimer Flying 1000
The TAG Heuer Mikrotimer Flying 1000, an in-house concept watch that made its debut earlier this year, achieves a truly remarkable feat: it is capable of 1/1000th accuracy.  The movement and design – a breathtakingly gorgeous black titanium carbide case with contrasting silver titanium horns – are equally innovative, and they have the patents (12 of them, in fact) to prove it.

Chronograph #17 – Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre a Quantieme Lunair
Another tongue-twister, and another stunningly stylish watch.  Comprised of 396 pieces, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Duometre a Quantieme Lunair is a time-keeping work of art and a true achievement of micromechanics.  The “Dual-Wing” concept features two independent power reserves, one devoted to precise time measurement and the other dedicated the functional displays, and a gadget for moon phase indication.


Chronograph #18 – Graham Chronofighter Oversize GMT Blue Steel
This offering from Graham is housed in a 47mm steel case with a steel and sapphire bezel that features the GMT scale.  For stopwatch enthusiasts, a fast-action start/stop trigger and reset pusher, made from steel with black PVD, adds an athletic – but still chic – touch to the side of the timepiece.  The watch boasts a number of other unique features, like the Royal Marine crown symbol on the steel case back, a skeleton GMT hand with white Super-LumiNova head and red detailing, and an integrated black rubber strap.

Chronograph #19 – Glashütte Senator Sixties Square Chronograph
A shout out to the Duke for alerting us to this masterpiece of aesthetics and functionality: the Glashütte Senator Sixties Square Chronograph.  The retro influences of this watch translate into an arresting geometric design and stalk-type chronograph pushers, beautiful compliments to its stainless steel square-shaped case and curved dial.  The Senator Sixties Square Chronograph comes in two variations, both featuring diamond-cut hour markers and elegantly arched hour hands.

Chronograph #20 – Corum Admiral’s Cup Seafender 48 Chronograph
The Corum Admiral’s Cup Seafender 48 Chronograph represents the partnership between Corum, the Swiss watch-maker long associated with the sailing world, and the Bol d’Or Mirabaud, the world’s largest closed-water regatta.  Corum’s maritime influence is clear, from the watch’s blue and gold colour scheme (the event’s signature colours) to the nautical pennants – signature features of the Admiral’s Cup collection – that decorate the dial.  This limited edition model will be restricted to only 30 pieces, two of which will be awarded to the winners of the Bol d’Or and the Bol de Vermeil.

DID WE MISS ANY? LET US KNOW AND WE’LL ADD IT.

14 Oct, 2011

Luc Wiesman

Founder and Managing Editor
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