Tough, modern chronographs for all your adventuring needs
Fun to use and even more fun to look at in action, here are the best new chronographs for the contemporary horologer.
Chronographs tend to come in one of two flavours. The first is classic and elegant — an ode to the romantic history of mechanical watchmaking. It accompanies you to polo matches and awards ceremonies. You may use it to time a poached egg. The other type of chronographs are brawlers. The colours are loud, the materials are tough rather than precious, and they look like they can take a beating. This is the watch to take to Formula 1 races and bear fights, and the more pushers and subdials, the better. Today, we are celebrating the latter. Because now that the world is back in full swing, we could all use more timepieces that are ready for action and adventure — and look the part.
ZENITH DEFY EXTREME GLACIER
The sequel to the 2021 Defy Extreme Desert takes its inspiration from frigid snowscapes. Chalcedony, a semi-translucent stone with a pale blue hue, wraps around the 45mm watch’s bezel and chronograph pushers, resembling blocks of ice. The subdials are also crafted from frosted sapphire crystal to match the theme. Underneath you’ll find an open-worked dial through which you can admire the high-frequency El Primero 9004 movement that beats at 5Hz, allows measurements of intervals up to 1/100th of a second, and comes with a power reserve of 50 hours. The 50-piece limited edition comes with an easily interchangeable white rubber strap and velcro strap, and is only available from Zenith boutiques and online.
TAG HEUER CARRERA CHRONOGRAPH X PORSCHE ORANGE RACING
For two companies that have so much in common – a passion for motoring, a reputation for precision engineering, and products called “Carrera” – it’s a little surprising that Tag Heuer and Porsche didn’t get together sooner. But once they formalised their long-term partnership in 2021, the two have hit the ground running with six watches in two years. This latest one takes on sporty orange accents that supposedly match the shade of heat sparks made by cars flooring it on asphalt. The 44mm case is made of stainless steel with black DLC, and holds the manufacture Heuer 02 chronograph movement with a column wheel and vertical clutch. Additional racing nods can be found in the Porsche steering wheel-shaped oscillating weight and the carbon pattern and contrast orange stitching on the calfskin leather strap.
IWC PILOT’S WATCH CHRONO 41 IN BLACK
Smaller, slimmer and gleaming with trendy blue and green dials, the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 was the Pilot’s Watch for the fashionable set when they were first revealed in 2021. But now the brand has pushed out a variation that stays true to the watch’s aviation roots. Watches built for flying are required to be highly legible, and have traditionally featured white indexes and hands on black dials for maximum contrast – which is exactly what the new model has. Rhodium-plated, centrally mounted hands move around a matte black dial, while the small seconds hand is distinguished by red lacquer. The in-house 69385 calibre is still used here, and is equipped with a chronograph with column wheel, day and date, and a bi-directional pawl winding system that provides 46 hours of autonomy. Available with a five-link steel bracelet or black calfskin strap.
LOUIS VUITTON TAMBOUR STREET DIVER CHRONOGRAPH
The Louis Vuitton Tambour Street Diver gained industry acclaim when it won the Diver’s Watch Prize at the 2021 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie Geneve (GPHG), but it also won mass appeal for being one of the most stylish diving watches around. Adding to its snazzy template now is a new chronograph function that takes the watch to a new level of chic sportiness. The two additional chronograph counters and pushers look right at home in the Street Diver layout, even with the diving time crown moved from 2 o’clock to the spot between 10 and 11 o’clock. Measuring 46mm by 14mm, it comes in Skyline Blue (the same colour as the original Street Diver) and Neon Black, with matching rubber straps. It doesn’t have the most jaw-dropping water resistance, coming in at just 100m, but the energising colours and design perfectly capture the spirit of the sport.
OMEGA SPEEDMASTER SUPER RACING
It’s always good news when a new Speedmaster hits the shelves but this time, Omega’s most famous watch is getting more than just a new skin. Sure, the black honeycomb dial and light yellow accents look great, but what’s truly remarkable about the Speedmaster Super Racing is a whole new adjustment system in the movement called the Spirate system. It allows the watchmaker to fine tune the movement in increments of just 0.1 seconds per day, resulting in a watch that will only deviate between 0 and +2 seconds daily. For context, the COSC chronometer certification allows daily rates of -4 to +6 seconds. The Spirate system will eventually be rolled out in future Omega watches, making them the most accurate mass-produced watches on the market. The Speedmaster Super Racing is also Master Chronometer-certified, so the calibre 9920 is antimagnetic in addition to being extremely precise.