Five Sporty-Chic Chronographs at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2022

Spring is the season for watch launches, and this year Watches & Wonders Geneva returned to an in-person watch fair after two years of virtual events, with the dominance of sports watches showing no signs of slowing.

And there’s no better complement to the popular style than the chronograph, which functions as a stopwatch on the wrist.

The earliest known chronograph is attributed to French watchmaker Louis Moinet, whose 1816 Compteur de Tierces (thirds timer) surfaced in a 2012 Christie’s auction. Before, the chronograph origin story was linked to a “time-writing” device by Nicolas Rieussec dating to 1821. That machine, which was used to time horse races, employed rotating discs that were marked with dabs of ink as each horse crossed the finish line. Montblanc adapted the concept for wristwatches in 2008 with the Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph, which remains in the collection.

Many of today’s chronos trace their roots to the mid-20th century heyday of sporty wristwatches designed for active pursuits like motorsports, while others break new technical ground for the 21st century. Here are five that caught our eye:

Patek Philippe Ref. 5470P-001 1/10th Second Monopusher Chronograph

Patek Philippe’s technical skills are on display with the Ref. 5470P-001 1/10th Second Monopusher Chronograph (price upon request), its first wrist chrono capable of tenths-of-a-second short-time measurements with the new high-performance caliber CH29-535PS 1/10.

The manually wound monopusher movement houses two independent chronograph mechanisms with sweeping hands. The gray central hand tracks running seconds on a scale of dots around the periphery of the dial in the usual way, completing a revolution every 60 seconds. Additionally, the red central hand circles the dial every 12 seconds, five times faster than a standard chronograph.

When the chronograph is not operating, the dual chrono hands align to appear as a single hand, but with a press of the pusher at 2 o’clock they separate as they sprint around the dial at different speeds.

Boasting an impressive 31 patents, including seven that are new to this model, the innovative movement is housed in a precious 41mm platinum case with a sharp blue dial appointed with red accents that enhance its sporty character, further complemented by a navy-blue calfskin strap embossed with a fabric texture and red stitching.

Zenith Chronomaster Open

Zenith Chronomaster Open.

Zenith

Zenith revived its classic Chronomaster Open from 2003 in an on-trend 39.5mm sport model available in stainless steel (US$10,000) or rose gold (US$21,300). The Chronomaster Open’s signature cutaway dial reveals the silicon escape wheel and hairspring of the new El Primero 3604 1/10th of a second movement, a descendant of the El Primero 3600 and the legendary caliber 400 from 1969, which put Zenith on the map with the first high-frequency automatic chronograph movement.

Zenith opened up the base plate and bridges to enhance the view through the signature tri-color dial which comes in silver or black on the steel version and silver on the rose gold model.

The central chronograph hand tracks 1/10th of a second, while the 60-minute counter is positioned at 6 o’clock, and the 60-seconds counter at 3 o’clock. The small seconds sub-dial at 9 o’clock is transparent so as not to obstruct the view of the high-frequency 36,000vph movement, which delivers a 60-hour power reserve.

Breitling Navitimer

Breitling Navitimer.

Breitling

Marking its 70th anniversary this year, Breitling’s iconic Navitimer pilot’s watch got a facelift with a redesigned collection emphasizing contemporary colorful style. The new range spans three sizes (46, 43, or 41mm) in stainless steel or 18-karat red gold, with the choice of an alligator strap or seven-row metal bracelet plus new dial options in contemporary shades of blue, green, and copper—infusing the historic tool watch with a bold sense of style.

Designed as the first wrist-worn chronograph with a circular slide rule that allows aviators to perform flight calculations, Navitimer was soon adopted as the official timepiece of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the world’s largest aviators’ club.

In updating the flagship model, Breitling preserved its signature design codes—a circular slide rule, baton indexes, trio of chronograph counters, and notched bezel for easy grip. But some modern refinements were in order. A flattened slide rule and a domed crystal streamline the case’s profile, and alternating polished and brushed finishes add dimension and luster to the metal.

Prices for the collection range from USD$9,400 to USD$39,500.

Tudor Black Bay Chrono S&G

Tudor Black Bay Chrono S&G.

Tudor

This year, Tudor put a fashionable spin on its two-tone Black Bay Chrono S&G, which debuted in 2019 in stainless steel and yellow gold with a black dial accented with golden sub-dials. Flipping the script, the new version with a 41mm satin-brushed and polished case in 316L steel and yellow gold is appointed with a striking champagne-colored sunray satin-finish dial with black counters. The contrast is echoed on the fixed bezel sporting a tachymetric scale in yellow gold with an insert of black anodized aluminum and retro pump-style pushers.

But don’t mistake the sharp new style as lacking in substance. Under the hood, the automatic Manufacture Caliber MT5813 chronograph is COSC-certified and equipped with a silicon balance spring, column wheel, and vertical clutch, plus a power reserve of 70 hours.

The watch comes with a riveted 316L steel and yellow gold bracelet (US$7,250), a black jacquard fabric strap (US$6,000,) or a wide bund strap in dark brown aged leather (US$6,000).

IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition “Lake Tahoe”

IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition “Lake Tahoe.”

IWC

IWC’s Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition “Lake Tahoe” ($10,700) is outfitted in refreshing white ceramic taking cues from US Navy dress white uniforms and the wintery landscape of Lake Tahoe, Calif., a training ground for naval pilots.

IWC’s started experimenting with white ceramics in the 1980s, following its launch of the first watch housed in a black zirconium oxide ceramic case. Producing white ceramic involves mixing zirconium oxide with other metallic oxides and sintering the material in an oven at extreme temperatures. The resulting material is lightweight and ultra scratch resistant.

Inside the 44.5mm case, IWC’s workhorse 69380 caliber precisely measures elapsed times up to 12 hours with a column-wheel design ensuring crisp action as well as accuracy and reliability. A soft iron inner case protects against magnetism, which impacts timekeeping performance.

There’s also a Woodland version in a monochromatic olive-green coloration. Each model is limited to 1,000 pieces.

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