In the world of luxury watches, many buyers aren’t too concerned about accuracy. The watch is mostly for admiration and for addition to a collection, and as long as it looks good with a cool history to back it, all you need is for it to be accurate within a few minutes. But what if you want a watch that’s accurate as well as collectible? For that matter, what if you simply like the look of a watch with a racing chronograph complication? In those cases, a luxury chronograph is likely to be your go-to option. In no particular order, here are five of the most popular luxury chronograph watches on today’s market.
Rolex Daytona 116500
The Rolex Daytona 116500 is one of the latest in their popular Daytona chronograph line. Originally designed for endurance racing drivers, the Daytona has been in production for over 50 years, and continues to set the standard for sport chronographs in general. The main feature is its tachymeter bezel, which can be used to measure speeds as high as 400 miles per hour. The bezel on the 116500 is black in color, recalling the 1965 Daytona, which came with a black Plexiglass insert.
The dial is silver-white, with silver applied indices with lume arrows inside. The hands are long and slender, with a straight, un-tapered profile. This makes for a watch that’s easy to read at a glance. And the seconds hand moves in 1/8 second increments, for extreme accuracy. Three subdials track time in 30- and 60- minute increments, as well as in hours. This makes it easy to keep track of time elapsed, while also monitoring the current time. It’s capped off with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and the case as a whole has a water-resistance rating of 100 meters.
The Calibre 4130 movement is self-winding, but with fewer parts than most similar chronograph movements. The fewer parts, the less complex it is, which means there are fewer chances for inaccuracy. It’s highly shock- and temperature-resistant, with a rock-solid accuracy rating of +/- 2 seconds per day. It adjusts with a screw-down crown, which can also be used to wind the watch.
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional
The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional doesn’t just have chronometer-grade specs; it also looks like a chronometer, with a crown and two pushers on the right side, and a bare left side. This makes it easy to operate, although more so for right-handed than for left-handed users. The case measures 42mm in diameter, and is available either in stainless steel, 18K Sedna gold, or 18K Canopus gold.
There’s also an optional display back, providing visibility to the Calibre Omega 3861 movement. This movement is a retooling of the earlier Calibre 1861 movement. It’s the same size, but it has a longer power reserve, better magnetic performance, and chronometer-grade performance. In fact, the 50-hour power reserve is among the longest you’ll find.
The most striking visual feature is that the hands are domed along with the crystal. This provides a unique profile, as well as eliminating any distortion from the domed shape, so you get pinpoint accuracy when you’re reading it. The hands are slender, with lume stripes down the center for easy visibility. And the second hand has a lume arrow at the front, which is also easy to read. There are three tachymeter subdials on the bottom half of the dial. The top left displays 60 minutes, while the top right displays 30, and the one at 6 o’clock displays up to 12 hours.
IWC Portugieser Chronograph
The IWC Portugieser Chrono is another medium-large profiled watch, with a 41mm stainless steel case. It sports a narrow bezel, which leave space for a beautiful, broad dial. The dial itself is silver plated, and is relatively spartan for a chronograph watch. Instead of three subdials, there are two, and they’re the same color as the rest of the dial. There’s no dark ring around them, just a slight indentation, which makes them blend seamlessly with the rest of the design. The top subdial at 12 o’clock displays time in 30-second intervals, while the bottom one at 6 o’clock displays it in 60-second intervals.
The hands are narrow, but a bit fatter in the center, and tapered at the tips and bases. There are tiny applied blue dots at the one-minute marks, with larger dots at the five-minute marks. Arabic numerals are also present, although the 12 and the 6 are cut away to make room for the subdials.
The crystal is a scratch-resistant sapphire, and is totally flat on top so as not to obscure the dial. All of this leads to a clean look, without a lot of froufrou. That said, there’s a stunning display back that looks amazing when the watch is off. All of this is complimented by a blue alligator leather strap, which ties everything together nicely.
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Sport
The Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Sport is one of the most striking chronometers you’ll find. Like most, it sports three subdials, but each of these are different colors. The left and right subdials are pale grey and metallic blue respectively, and display separate 30-second intervals. The 6 o’clock subdial is a deeper grey, and keeps time in 60-second intervals. All of these are set into a bright white dial, with a small date window nestled between the 4 and 5 o’clock indexes. The 5-minute markers are applied silver, while the tiny one-minute hashes are painted on. The silver hands are straight and narrow, with thin lume stripes down the centers.
The stainless steel case has a diameter of 41mm, lending it a medium-large wrist presence. It sports a wide, sloped ceramic bezel, which sports markings every 1/10th of a second. This allows you to track time with pinpoint accuracy. To operate the watch, you get a crown and two pushers, which makes it very easy to operate. The movement is an in-house El Primero 3600, which boasts chronometer-grade accuracy along with a 60-hour power reserve. That’s even longer than the Omega Speedmaster’s! And with 100 meters of water-resistance, you won’t have to worry about taking this watch for a swim.
Girard Perregaux Laureato Chronograph
The Girard Perregaux Laureato Chronograph one of the smaller Chronograph watches on the market. Its case has a diameter of 38mm, which makes it mid-sized, but much of this area is occupied by a fat, hexagonal bezel. This leaves less space for the dial than you’d otherwise expect from a watch of this diameter. The case is available both in stainless steel and in 18K pink gold. The stainless version uses a 904L steel, which is one of the most corrosion-resistant steels available.
The hands and indices are matched, with a blued metal construction and lume stripes for easy visibility. They sit in front of a textured silver background, which provide plenty of contrast. There are subdials at 9 and 3 o’clock, which track 30- and 60-seconds respectively. At 6 o’clock, there’s a third subdial, which counts up to 12 hours. All the subdials are black, which again provides contrast with the dial. You’ll also find a discreet date window between 4 and 5 o’clock.
The Calibre GP03300 movement is chronometer grade, with 27 jewels, and a power reserve of 46 hours, which is better than average.