A chronograph is no ordinary watch. As well as telling the time to an extremely high degree of accuracy, chronographs are also finely engineered with complicated functions that can calculate your average speed, measure your heart rate or keep track of two events simultaneously. They’ve also played a starring role in scientific history, from their invention by Louis Moinet in 1816 for tracking astronomical objects, to accompanying Jacques Cousteau in his exploratory deep-sea dives (that chronograph was the Omega Seamaster Diver 300, to be precise). What’s more, a chronograph is a serious piece of conversation-starting kit for your wrist. Here’s the best new ones to hit the watch world recently. The Top Chronographs For Your Wrist
Audemars Piguet [Re]master01
When the American typeface designer Frederic W Goudy sagely observed that ‘the old fellows stole our best ideas’, he could well have been talking about the watch biz – after all, few other industries are more enthusiastic about revived 45s. One of the latest to re-hash an old favourite is Audemars Piguet, which has up-sized and improved the gorgeous Reference 1533 of the 1940s to create the 500-piece [Re]master01 edition which is one of the most elegant chronographs of 2020. Combining a flyback movement with a 40mm steel case featuring a bezel, crown and pushpieces made from pink gold, the watch gets a tasty champagne dial, blued steel hands and a calfskin strap for a vintage vibe. The odd 4/5 indication in red, by the way, harks back to the original watch and was said to have been added at the behest of soccer fan Jacques-Louis Audemars so he knew when a match was approaching half-time. Back of the net, my son…
Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Azzurro
The historic Mille Miglia old car rally usually passes through the most beautiful parts of Italy in May, but the Corona Virus outbreak means this year’s event has been postponed until September. While we’re waiting, Chopard – which has sponsored the Mille Miglia since 1988 – has released the first of its 2020 Mille Miglia special editions in the form of two new models called GTS Azzurro. As the name suggests, the Azzurro watches have rich blue dials, with one version being a steel and rose gold power reserve model that will be made in an edition of 500, and the other a steel chronograph, 750 examples of which will be available.
Sfr 9,690 and Sfr 7,400 respectively. chopard.com
Breitling Premier Bentley Mulliner Edition
Dating back to 2002, the Breitling and Bentley partnership has proved to be the longest running of any between a watch brand and a car marque. This latest chronograph in the series is designed to complement the recently launched Continental GT Mulliner Convertible and will be limited to 1,000 examples. The steel, 42mm Breitling Premier Bentley Mulliner Edition gets a silver dial offset by an inner bezel and chronograph counters in contrasting blue, while a red seconds hand and central minute scale recall the convertible’s red-stitched interior. The Arabic numerals replicate those of the GT’s Breitling clock and the blue, alligator strap echoes the ‘Imperial Blue’ leather of the car’s upholstery. Mulliner was founded as a saddler during the 16th century but evolved into a coachbuilding business. It was bought by Bentley in 1959 and now specialises in bespoke projects and limited-edition cars.
From £6,580. breitling.com
Bremont Alt 1-C Griffon
Aviation-led British watch brand Bremont has launched (sorry) a new chronograph called the Alt 1-C Griffon that takes its name from the mighty Griffon engine that powered a small number of PR MXIX versions of the legendary Spitfire fighter aircraft – notably one particular photo-reconnaissance plane that was operated by the late Euan English, father of Bremont founders Nick and Giles. The new watch has a classic military look and a 43mm case made from the ultra-hardened steel favoured by the Henley-on-Thames based firm, while a brown leather strap completes the rugged, flyboy look.
Bell & Ross BRV3-94 R.S.2
Paris-based sports watch brand Bell & Ross has marked its fourth year as the official timing partner of the Renault F1 team with a trio of new chronographs, our favourite of which is the snappily named BRV3-94 R.S. 20 pictured here. The 43mm watch echoes the racing team’s black and yellow livery, while a subtle pattern around the minute track recalls the hard-fought prize of the chequered flag. Just 999 examples of the watch will be made, and they can be had on a black and yellow carbon-effect calfskin strap or a steel bracelet.
£3,750. bellross.com start the slideshow