Hiren Kumar Bose on the stylish chronographs that embody concentrated engineering and horological competence in every detail
OMEGA Speedmaster “Dark Side of the Moon” Apollo 8
This 44.25 mm series of Speedmaster Chronos with a boldly open-worked edition to mark the 50th anniversary of Nasa’s Apollo 8 mission – in which the astronauts circled the moon for the first time and became the first humans to see the “dark side” itself. Omega has laser-etched the movement bridges to resemble the lunar surface itself, while the case-back is engraved with astronaut Jim Lovell’s words as spoken to ground control: “We’ll see you on the other side”. As well as having a skeletonised dial, this collectable chronograph is remarkable for its specially decorated version of the famous Moonwatch Calibre 1861.
CHOPARD Mille Miglia Racing Colours
This new collection of five Mille Miglia Racing Colours chronographs from Chopard celebrates the 30th anniversary of its partnership with the historic Italian road race. Produced in a limited edition of 300 each, the five colours represent the colours attributed to various nations that competed in the world of motor racing in the first half of the 20th century. The five new colours of the Mille Miglia collection are called Rosso Corsa, Speed Silver, British Racing Green, Vintage Blue and Speed Yellow. Mille Miglia, for the uninitiated, is a prestigious annual endurance race that sees more than 400 historical cars covering one thousand-mile route from Brescia to Rome and back. All five watches use a 42 mm wide stainless steel case that’s 12.67 mm thick and water-resistant to 50m. It has a screwed-in crown, a polished steel bezel fitted with an anti-reflective sapphire crystal and steep pushers for the chronograph function. The watch is fitted with a screwed-in exhibition caseback. All dials use broad Arabic numerals coated with SuperLuminova for better visibility in the dark. Time is indicated by rhodium-plated hours and minutes hands and the central chronograph seconds hand is red-tipped to match the red Mille Miglia arrow logo placed just above the centre of the dial. The chronograph uses a three register layout with the minutes counter at 9 o’ clock and the hours at 6. A running silvered seconds counter sits at 3 o’ clock and the date window is placed at 4.30. The minutes track around the dial is printed in black or white depending on the colour of the dial and a tachymeter scale in black is placed on the silver ring that skirts the periphery of the dial. The watch with a 4 Hz movement and a power reserve of 42 hours is powered by a self-winding COSC-certified chronometer that’s based on the ETA 2894-2A built up with a chronograph module.
HUBLOT Big Bang Unico Red Magic
Arguably one of the highlights of this year this 45mm Big Bang Unico in a patented red ceramic watch with just 500 pieces is world’s first. The coloured ceramic invented by Hublot is innovative both in terms of the material itself, and the manufacturing process. In addition to the vibrant colour it is also harder than conventional ceramics. The flange, indexes, minute and seconds counters, Arabic numerals and hands all match this hue, adorned in the same red to highlight the contrast with the mechanism of the Unico HUB124 manufacture movement and its column wheel, visible on the dial side through the sapphire crystal. This theme encompasses the entire watch, matched with a lined structured red rubber strap. This state-of-the-art flyback chronograph is powered by Hublot’s genuine manufacture Calibre Unico HUB1242, which uses both a column wheel and a double clutch.
A. LANGE & SÖHNE Triple Split
Limited to 100 watches in white gold this watch benchmarks the current state of the art in rattrapante function developments: for its additional rattrapante hands on the minute and hour counters make it possible to stop lap and reference times that last as long as twelve hours. In fact, its first and only split-seconds chronograph in the world that can measure additive and comparative times for as long as twelve hours and is in a league of its own. This allows the potential of the split-seconds chronograph to be tapped in full for the first time. The three-fold rattrapante mechanism confronted the calibre designers with formidable technical challenges. Multi-allotment arbour configurations require the ultimate in dexterity and extreme patience in adjusting the end shakes. A glance through the sapphire-crystal caseback reveals much of the elaborately finished chronograph movement, leaving no doubt as to the staggering complexity of the assignment. This chronograph reasserts the ambition of the brand to continuously push the limits of mechanical timekeeping.
TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02
The legendary Heuer Carrera with the new Heuer 02 Calibre manufacture movement, a 43 mm modular case, a tachymeter bezel, a skeleton dial with 3-6-9 counters (layout reminiscent of its 1963 model), this flagship model is powered by a state-of-the-art engine. The watch is available in 13 contemporary variants in steel, carbon, ceramic or gold with a metal, rubber, leather or ceramic bracelet, plus a 45 mm version with GMT function. The new generation of TAG Heuer models with automatic chronographs is rendered distinctive by their modular case and bezel with tachymeter scale. The features include chronograph minutes and hours at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock, permanent small second at 6 o’clock and date window at 4.30. Punctuated with luminescent baton hands and indexes, the skeleton dial is integrated into a 43 mm diameter modular case and is water-resistant to 100m. The collection offers a total of 13 new versions.
BREITLING Navitimer 8 Chronograph
The 8 in its name is a nod to the Huit Aviation Department, which was set up in 1938 to produce cockpit instruments as well as classic pilot’s watches for civilian and military use. At the time, Willy Breitling chose the name “Huit,” the French word for “eight,” as a reference to the eight-day power reserve offered by its storied cockpit instruments. Presented in stainless steel as well as in 18-ct red gold, each with the exclusive Breitling Manufacture Calibre 01– this high-quality self-winding movement is equipped with a ratchet-wheel chronograph with vertical coupling and provides a power reserve of more than 70 hours’ duration. The watch offers functions like hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph seconds, 30-minute and 12-hour chronograph counters and Date.
AUDEMARS PIGUET Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph 25th Anniversary
Reissued to celebrate its 25th birthday the watch which has become a modern icon remains true to its origin but for a minor change—the butterfly folding clasp. The 42mm automatic chronograph in cushion-shaped stainless steel case is thick (15mm overall) features the octagonal bezel, the 8 hexagonal screws, raised bezel, guilloche dial, integrated bracelet etc. Thus, no surprises, except that this watch looks now much more classic now than it must have been the case, back in 1993. This 25th-anniversary version sticks to the plain steel back with the original “Royal Oak Offshore” logo engraved. It has 3Hz self-winding movement, with a 22-ct gold rotor, boasts 50 hours of power reserve and, besides the chronograph, it also indicates the date. The hands, as well as the white gold applied indexes, are also totally equal to the old edition, with their familiar rounded shape.
MONTBLANC Timewalker Manufacture Chronograph
The 42mm stainless steel-bodied watch has an integrated automatic chronograph movement, with column-wheel to start-stop-reset the chronograph functions. While continuing to have cool panda layout—bright dial with black sub-dials—and 3-6-9 display the main novelty of this TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph sits on the back side, as it integrates a new “manufacture” movement. This calibre MB 25.10 is clearly to be seen as an upgrade compared to the reliable but commoner 7750 architecture. Previously designed with modernity and technicality in mind – silver or black dials, red accents, contrasting bezel in polished ceramic – the brand has infused a light dosage of vintage appeal in the watch which is quite pleasant. Pushers and crown are screwed and adorned with a thin knurled finishing. A remarkable difference with the existing versions is on the scale on the bezel, which is now a tachymeter making it consistent with the motorsport look.