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Feature: 10 chronograph watches guaranteed to impress

Why do we love chronographs so much? Maybe it's the function. Being able to conveniently measure elapsed time at the click of a pusher. Maybe it has something to do with how they look, with their oh-so-good symmetrical aesthetic. Or maybe it's the stories these watches boast. No matter your reason for loving these complicated little mechanisms, here are ten chronograph watches from the biggest brands that are guaranteed to impress.

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Calibre 3861

Starting off strong, we have a watch that needs no introduction: the Speedmaster Moonwatch. It’s the watch that beat out Rolex in the space race and literally saved lives—but I’m betting you knew that already, as marketing of the watch is hardly subtle. The newest generation of the Moonwatch, the Calibre 3861, boasts a rugged 42mm stainless steel build—with a five-linked bracelet—a simple, highly legible dial, and a co-axial METAS-certified calibre. With its precision, history, and build quality, the Calibre 3861 Moonwatch really is one of the best value watches out there, and choosing the sapphire sandwich version of the watch will also get you one of the best views under £10,000.

Tudor Black Bay Chrono

If the Moonwatch isn’t your jam, but you still want a sporty chronograph around the £5,000 mark, look no further than the Tudor Black Bay Chrono. This panda-style chronograph watch has everything you could want: a solid 41mm stainless steel case with a comfy riveted bracelet, a clean dual register dial with date, 200m of water resistance, and a COSC-certified in-house movement. The Black Bay Chrono really isn’t just a pretty face.

TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Anniversary

TAG Heuer has been winning back the hearts of watch enthusiasts over the past few years by taking some of its best designs from the 70s and 80s and giving them a little modern twist. This Carrera 160th Anniversary watch is no exception. Taking inspiration from the Heuer Carrera Montreal watches of the 1970s, this watch borrows the eye-catching blend of colour used to increase legibility and stylishness but ditches the cushion-shaped case in favour of its more modern-shaped, smaller, 39mm steel build. But the best part about this watch? No off-the-shelf movement. TAG Heuer opting to give the colourful watch its in-house 80-hour Heuer 02 movement.

IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph

Who said a watch can't be functional and look great? IWC’s line of pilot’s watches do both of those things effortlessly. IWC Pilot's Watches can be traced back to the 1930s, created to meet the needs of military pilots. These watches were larger in size, easy to use, and highly legible. The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph then took all that one step further, with the chronograph allowing pilots to measure elapsed time with ease. This “Tribute To 3705”, a re-imagining of the IWC Fliegerchronograph Keramik 3705 from the mid-1990s, is an IWC Pilot's Watch through and through but brings the decades-old design to the 21st century with a case constructed from high-tech Ceratanium.

Breitling Premier B25 Datora 42

Navitimers are good and all, but they’re a little too busy for me. The Premier B25 Datora, on the other hand, crams in a calendar with a moonphase and a chronograph with a tachymeter scale, all while doing so with the elegance of a mid-century Patek Philippe. But there’s one catch: it’s size. Okay, it’s not massive, and actually, for a Breitling, it’s pretty average, but its 42mm diameter and 15.3mm thickness will make it harder for those with wrists on the smaller side to pull off. If you can get past its size, it’s hard to find fault with this salmon dial’d beauty.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

It wouldn’t be a list of chronograph watches without a Daytona, would it? The immensely popular watch has developed a bit of a bad rap lately, but at its retail of around £13,000—only £3,000 more than a 41mm Datejust—if you want a complicated Rolex, it’s a solid option. The Daytona is a stainless steel, sporty Rolex watch with one of the comfiest bracelets available on the market, an easy-to-read, three-register panda-style dial, a ceramic bezel, and a chronometer-rated chronograph movement to boot. Is it worth the money you’ll pay to jump the queue and buy pre-owned? Well, I’ll leave that one for you to answer.

Zenith Chronomaster Sport

But what if you wanted the Daytona looks but not the waitlist? I present to you the answer, the Zenith Chronomaster Sport. The watch—with its stainless steel build, ceramic bezel and white dial—aesthetically is very similar to the Daytona, but under the hood, it’s very different. The El Primero movement powering this 41mm watch beats at 36,000vph and boasts a 1/10th of a second chronograph, which makes the 28,000vph frequency and regular ol’ chronograph movement of the Daytona look sluggish by comparison—especially when you see that second hand in action.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Chronograph Calendar

Not only does this 40mm watch pack in a chronograph, triple calendar, and moonphase, but it does so while maintaining a thickness of just 12mm. It’s a versatile-looking watch that can be dressed up with a suit, or, with a change of strap, wouldn’t look out of place paired with shorts and a tee. The Master Chronograph Calendar is a watch that can do it all, a handsome chronograph watch from “The Watchmaker’s Watchmaker” that can also act as an impressive one-watch collection.

A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph

This A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph, in my opinion, is one of the best-looking watches ever made. The case: a warm rose gold with a 39.5mm diameter and 11mm thickness. The dial: made of silver, simple and clear but packed with detail like multi-layering, blued hands and the concentric circular pattern of the two sub-dials. You get all that … but this is an A. Lange & Söhne remember? So, there’s more waiting around the back. Upon flipping the watch over, you’re greeted by the hypnotic Calibre L951.5, a hand-wound flyback chronograph movement with a 60-hour power reserve. The 1815 Chronograph really does impress from every angle.

Patek Philippe 5172G

There are so many Patek Philippe chronograph watches to choose from, but I’ll go as far as to say that the 5172G is one of the best. It’s just such a great-looking watch. The 41mm white gold case with Art Deco stepped lugs and engraved pushers; the deep blue dial with syringe-style hands, applied numerals and recessed sub-dials; and the incredible hand-wound calibre CH 29-535 PS beating away at its heart. Now that’s a Patek Philippe that I won’t be handing down to the kids.

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