Be it an automatic or a split second, a column wheel or a coulisse lever chronographs record time with great accuracy. BaselWorld 2017 had ample on offer for those looking out for the latest in chronographs, writes Hiren Kumar Bose
PATEK PHILIPPE Chronographe Flyback à Quantième Annuel
The original personality of this watch, whose three-day/date/month apertures are arranged in an arc, and combine with a chronograph mono counter at 6 o’clock is punctuated with discreet red accents. They are driven by the automatic CH 28-520 IRM QA 24H calibre, the perfect blend of tradition and innovation. This integrated chronograph is commanded by a classic column-wheel system but with a modern vertical disc, clutch to eliminate the risk of hand bounce or recoil when the chronograph is activated. Furthermore, because this innovative clutch operates in a virtually wear-free manner, the chronograph hand can also display centre seconds. The 40.5 mm watch in steel introduces a new ebony black opaline dial and has a power reserve between 45 and 55 hours.
TAG HEUER CARRERA Heuer-01 43 mm
This 43 mm Carrera Heuer-01 Skeleton Manufacture Chronograph in 6 new references in steel with a matching ceramic bezel redefines the notion of value for money. The brilliance of the polished ceramic tachymeter bezel echoes the polished, satin-finished steel of the iconic 12-part modular case. The skeleton dial – the trademark of the Heuer-01 – and the sapphire case-back reveal the beauty of the mechanism. The chronograph operating levers and the date disc are open-worked on the dial side. On the case-back, the red column wheel — a bold visual anchor — the skeleton chronograph bridge and circular black PVD weight also draw the eye into the mechanism, which is equipped with a clutch with an oscillating pinion. In a nod to the world of motor racing, it has the central seconds, the 30-minute counter, the 12-hour counter and the Start/Stop push-button. Additionally, the movement’s Chrono functions are identified by the colour red.
RAYMON WEIL Freelancer
From Frank Sinatra to the Beatles, Nicola Benedetti and Gibson – Raymond Weil has been putting its name in lights alongside some of the greatest musicians of all time. With this watch, it pays its respects to the fabled Les Paul Gibson guitar. The body of the 43.5 mm case is made of steel and its tachymeter bezel is enhanced with black PVD inspired by the lacquer on the “Black Beauty” – a guitar renowned for its electrifying performance that continues to astound musicians all over the world. The board features circular guilloché motif featuring six chords studded by fret-shaped hour markers. At 12 o’clock, the names of the famous guitar manufacturer and the legendary Les Paul signature appear, while the split-diamond inlay – a distinctive feature of the Les Paul Custom shines in golden tones next to the date window. Its ebony perforated calf leather strap brings to mind the sound holes that are part of the body of a guitar. Asserting its character and confirming its prestigious soul, the “fittings” – tri-compax chronograph counters, date, and strap topstitching – of the freelancer inspired by the “Gibson Les Paul” are set with golden highlights. The tempo of the 400-piece limited numbered edition watch is set by an RW5010 mechanical self-winding movement ensuring an approximately 46-hour power reserve.
BREITLING Navitimer Rattrapante
In launching Manufacture Breitling Calibre B03, officially chronometer-certified by the COSC, Breitling once again confirms its leadership position in the field of mechanical chronographs. With its two superimposed central chronograph hands, of which one can be stopped so as to measure an intermediate (split) time, before “catching up” (rattraper in French) with the first one still sweeping onwards, the split-seconds chronograph is considered one of the hardest watchmaking mechanisms to create. That is why this “Grand Complication” is generally produced in small series and requires watchmakers to perform a lengthy process of adjustment and rating (correcting the clearance of the split-seconds wheel and pinion, adapting the tension of the springs, adjusting the degree of penetration of the clamps, etc.). The B03, therefore, picks up all the advantages of this high-performance ‘engine’, including a 70-hour power reserve as well as an innovative modular-type architecture. The split-seconds mechanism comprises just 28 parts. Regrouping most of these components in a module fitted between the mainplate and the calendar mechanism not only simplifies production and assembly, but also maintenance – since the watchmaker can remove the module as a single block for any servicing or repairs. Like all Breitling movements, the Manufacture Breitling Caliber B03 is chronometer-certified by the COSC. Equipped with a 45 mm case, the Navitimer Rattrapante comes in steel as well as a 250-piece red gold limited edition (equipped with a transparent caseback). The split-seconds pusher, housed in the 3 o’clock crown, serves to stop and restart the split-seconds hand as often as desired during a timing operation – in order to measure split times or to compare the results of several competitors.
CHOPARD Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph
With an emblematic rubber strap evoking 1960s Dunlop tyre treads, this bold timepiece adapts flawlessly to a ladies wrist. As official timekeeper of the world’s most famous regularity race for classic cars, Chopard has created the Mille Miglia Chronograph self-winding watch in stainless steel. Inspired by the beauty of classic cars, its elegant curves with an open back case, silver dial inspired by vintage car bodies and chronometer-certified engine express a perfect pairing of automobile design and mechanical watchmaking.
ZENITH El Primero Range Rover Special Edition
The 42 mm timepiece features a new elegant brushed grey dial with copper-toned details, and a new black rubber strap coated with black-toned perforated calfskin, inspired by ideas from both brands’ product design and engineering departments. Featuring a ceramic aluminum case and beating at 36,000 vibrations per hour, the new Chronomaster El Primero Range Rover Velar Special Edition introduces an appealing brushed grey dial with copper-toned details. This Special Edition underlines the long-term partnership between both esteemed brands, and to celebrate two icons that both saw the light of day for the first time in 1969: the El Primero and the Range Rover.
HUBLOT Classic Fusion Italia Independent
The coming-together of Hublot’s watchmaking expertise, the limitless creativity of Italia Independent through its founder Lapo Elkann, and the treasures of the renowned Italian tailor Rubinacci takes the fusion of classicism and innovation to a new level. This art of fusion began in Rubinacci’s archives, home to the
finest collection of clothes. Searching through the 60,000 sq m of precious houndstooth, tweed, velvet and more, Hublot and Lapo Elkann uncovered a collection of tartans from the 1970s, which they have brought back to life by incorporating them into the 45 Classic Fusion Italia Independent. Dials and straps are crafted from these precious wool clothes to dress this new range of chronographs with unmistakable Italian elegance.
The Chronoris Date, a 39mm stainless steel piece takes its cues directly from the 1970s, when it was launched initially. It is endowed with a streamlined case, orange hour markers and central seconds hand, and the multi-tone, sporty look of the dial’s design. But the standout feature of the new watch is its inner rotating bezel’s timer function. Operated by a separate crown at 4 o’clock, it allows the wearer to time seconds, minutes or hours, depending on which hand the orange triangle is aligned to zero with. The Chronoris Date comes on a brown or black leather strap, or on a black rubber strap, or a grey NATO textile strap. For the stainless steel bracelet option, Oris’ designers returned again to an original design, an articulated bracelet with 15 links across.
FRÉDÉRIQUE CONSTANT Flyback Chronograph Manufacture
The watch rewrites the rule book on one of the most demanding mechanical complications—the flyback chronograph. The watch’s heart beats with Calibre FC-760 entirely developed and created in-house. Thanks to its flyback function, this chronograph can measure a succession of events, such as during a race, without needing to be reset to zero every time. It is also equipped with a “Direct In-Line” function enabling instantaneous activation of the flyback function, with zero-resetting and launch of a new measurement simply by pressing a pusher at 4 o’clock. Contrary to classic constructions, the chronograph functions are distributed not by a column wheel, but instead by a star-shaped wheel driven by a pusher, thus ensuring particularly smooth operation. Another innovation is a clutch powered by a device based on two toothed pinions.