We admit it. We have an obsession with chronographs. So we celebrate the complication! Here are six of our favourites from the post-pandemic season.
Six exciting new chronographs from the post-pandemic season
The first three watches are lifted from my choices published in the Chief Editor’s Top 3 picks from 2023.
A complication to the Lange Odysseus luxury sports watch collection. And a chronograph! The Odysseus Chronograph is a beautiful timepiece. Little to complain about. We loved the little Lange twists as described. We love the presentation and design. We love the way it wears, the bracelet, even with its enormous taper. It does wear very nicely and is very supple. And we absolutely love the finishing.
The only niggle remains the price. And this seems to be a feature of at least 3 of the watches in this list. At an estimated price of EUR 139k (close to SGD 200k), the Odysseus Chronograph is frightfully expensive for a stainless steel sporty chronograph. Our full review (linked above) goes into the discussion in more detail, but as a case in point, the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5990/1A is only SGD 91.400 and in addition to the flyback chronograph, it incorporates a dual timezone feature.
First debuted in 1996 as part of the 60th anniversary celebration set as very a beautiful watch in pink gold. In the original release, the chronograph was shown on the reverse side, and while using the chrono, one could not see the time which was displayed only on the dial side. But in this latest rework, the time is now shown on both sides, with the chronograph mechanism and displays on the reverse side.
The JLC Reverso Tribute Chronograph is very impressive. This is a magnificently beautiful timepiece. Both dial sides are almost as persuasive in their beauty. The front dial in its simplicity and Art Deco vibes. The rear dial with the mechanical beauty of the exposed movement.At SGD 31k, it is about 50% more than the Grand Seiko, but offers the uniqueness of the reversible rectangular case.
From the old, comes the new. Grand Seiko’s main company – Seiko Corporation was one of the first to introduce an automatic wrist chronograph to the market, having launched the first 6139 automatic chronograph for the Japanese market in May 1969, round about the same time as the work of Heuer, Breitling-Leonidas, Dubois-Depraz and Buren announced their joint effort Caliber 11 in during the BaselWorld 1969. Zenith also announced the El-Primero in the same fair. Who was actually first past the post is unclear. An good reference article is the Project 99 article written by Jeffrey M. Stein in 2008. But in any case, the GS Tantagraph their first high beat mechanical automatic chronograph.
The star of the novelty is the movement which boasts of a high beat of36,000 bph, and a long 3 day power reserve. aesthetics are the typical Grand Seiko, with reference to the GS Code of Design and zaratsu finishing. The case is 43.2mm in titanium. And at a pricing of below EUR 15k (about the same as the new Rolex Daytona 126500LN), it may be perhaps viewed as rather reasonable. Full hands-on review is in the works.
The high price game continues with the young, independents viz-a-viz Petermann-Bédat. The novelty is the extraordinary monopusher split Seconds chronograph Ref. 2941. This is a fabulous piece of work by the duo.
The new Ref. 2941 Monopusher Split Seconds Chronograph is a seriously impressive watch. The finishing is outstanding. The case, and the movement features spectacular work by Gaël and Florian, with many of the components are finished in black polish. The only small caveat is the watch is pitched at close to quarter of a million Swiss Francs, and may be seen as perhaps quite expensive.
Louis Moinet is a brand deeply associated with the chronograph, the namesake having invented the complication way back in 1816. This latest line within the Memoris chronograph was released in 2022 and is the interesting take on racing, and aptly named: Time to Race. Two new additions were introduced for 2023, but the collection remains interesting.
Time to Race is a re-interpretation of the original. Presented in a grade 5 titanium case of a similar shape and design, it is a smaller diameter, and thus requires a rework of the movement. The inspiration is taken from motorsport racing, and the colours chosen are the original colours of the teams competing in motor racing like Le Mans 24 Hours. The colours are British Racing Green, French Blue and Italian Red, with two new versions in Dutch Orange and German Silver joining in 2023.
The watch is sporty with a mechanical geek vibe. The technical aspects are beyond criticism, the finishing excellent beyond its asking price. And the concept is very well thought through, with selection of interesting and high tech materials make the Time to Race a compelling watch. Especially at the sub SGD 50k price point. Plus, as Jean-Marie reminds us, each piece is unique in its combination of the colour and the number.
The Sinn EZM series of professional tool watches is one of the most highly regarded tool watches in the industry This new model, released in 2022, is an extension of the EZM 1.1 with the left orientation of the crown and pushers. However, in place of the ultra simplicity of the EZM 1 dial, the EZM 13.1 is equipped with two sub-dials – a 60 minute counter at 6 o’clock, and a continuous seconds sub-dial at 3 o’clock. The centrally mounted seconds hand continue its function as the chronograph hand. The bezel is already the standard uni-directional diving speced on the EZM 1, but water resistance of the case is increased to 500m of water resistance, from the 300m on the EZM 1, and 200m on the EZM 1.1.
The main difference is the dial layout indicating of course a different movement. And the use of standard steel in the EZM 13.1 vs tagiment steel on the EZM 1.1. The new watch loses the limited edition status but the gains the advantage of a deeper water resistant rating. Full hands-on review of the EZM 13.1 is currently pending access to the test watch.
And there you have it. We sorta, kinda regret that half the list is on the ultra high priced end. But it appears that for offerings at the top of the game, this is the modus operandi. We have not mentioned the Gronegraph by the Grönefeld brothers, which also weighs in at a hefty EUR 165k. But in mitigation, we also offer two at a mid-level EUR 15k point, and one at a more entry level price of about SGD 5k.
What are your favourite chronographs in this post-pandemic season? Tell us!