Watch Insider’s Top 10 Chronograph Watches: Are These The Best Chronographs?


Rado HyperChrome Court Collection: You might have not expected Rado to make this list, but it is deserving of recognition. I like the very cool 45-mm ceramic case and its design. Orange as a contrast to the deep black is just one color choice; green and yellow are two other options. The watch is equipped with an ETA 2894-2 movement.

Rado HyperChrome Court Collection
Rado HyperChrome Court Collection

Alpina Alpiner4 Chronograph: To me, one of the best newcomers in the past years. The Alpina brand finally discovers its history — which dates to 1883 — and produces good-looking, high-quality sports watches for a very fair price. Yes, there is “only” a Sellita SW500 movement under the dial rather than an in-house movement, but in the end, who cares? The Sellita SW 500 happens to be a very good chronograph caliber. The prices start around $3,495.

Alpina Alpiner 4 Chronograph
Alpina Alpiner 4 Chronograph

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph: Still one of the coolest chronographs on earth. There is no need to reinvent an icon. In this cool new new blue execution, the Royal OakOffshore’s engine is the in-house Caliber 3120, upon which AP adds a chronograph module produced by Dubois-Dépraz. Yes, some might say that the price is unacceptable for a watch with a modular movement, but since AP is still working on its own fully integrated chronograph caliber, there is no alternative at the moment. The price: $25,600.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak-Offshore Chronograph
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph

Blancpain Ocean Commitment Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback: I fall to my knees before this chronograph: so beautiful and — technically speaking — such a fascinating timepiece. The blue color is just gorgeous. The Bathyscaphe is powered by the 5-Hz-Blancpain Caliber F385. The balance wheel fulfills 36,000 semi-oscillations per hour; its balance spring is made of silicon. The price: 16,000 euros including tax.

Blancpain Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback
Blancpain Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback

Breitling Chronomat 44 Raven: The Chronomat is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and Breitling presented different special editions of that iconic watch. This is the one I like the most. Everyone should have a chance to see this watch live at least once. If you put it on your wrist, be careful: you will fall in love with it. The Breitling Chronomat 44 Raven is powered by the COSC-certified, in-house Caliber 01. The price: $9,825.

Breitling Chronomat 44 Raven
Breitling Chronomat 44 Raven
48 Responses to “Watch Insider’s Top 10 Chronograph Watches: Are These The Best Chronographs?”

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  1. Robin L Robson

    You are correct! Breitling chronomat 44 GMT is superb in house movement that set the standards for 5 year warranties on luxury watches. This movement is so much more than a Daytona, a Rolex GMT and the Submariner. Which one would have to purchase all three of the Rolexs to compare to the Breitling B04. Then look at the build of the Breitling compared to Rolex. A Rolex bezel is actual “pop on” in the case of the GMT, Daytona and the Submariner. Breitling screws the bezel securely
    The B04 is 70 hours vs 40 for the Daytona. The Daytona is what? I believe 44 jewels vs the B04 47 jewels. Daytona is water resistant to 100 meters vs the Breitling B04 is 200 meters? A chronograph dive watch sports fans! One has to give Rolex a hand up for creating a great BRAND. Rolex manufactures very robust calibers and the Rolex people marketing geniuses. I admier Rolex for that, I admier Rolex for their fine watches but really their marketing. Rolex the number one luxury brand! Quite an honor, quite an achievement. Great marketing and control of their product.

    Reply
  2. DC Deluxe

    I don’t know where they get these lists from.

    Where’s the Breguet XX or XXI?

    Why are there multiple offerings from IWC all using the same calibre?

    It’s total none sense.

    Reply
  3. Jerry

    Why doesn’t anyone mention that at one point in time the Zenith Chronograph movement was used by Rolex in their Daytona and is a sought after watch too because of that…

    Reply
  4. Clearly not a well thought through list of top chronographs. No Lange’s 1815, Datograph or Double Split. No Vacheron. No Rolex Daytona. This looks like a list from a drunken amateur night.

    Reply
  5. Mr Burns

    You mention two Breitlings, but neither are the Navitimer which has the B01 movement?

    No mentioned of the original Omega Speedmaster?

    How about the Zenith El Primero 36’000?

    Longines on your list, but it’s not the new Pulsometer Chrono? And, speaking on mono-pushers…

    Vacheron has a fantastic new mono chrono.

    Sorry to the Daytona nay-sayers, but that movement is highly regarded, extremely accurate, and aside from some hoi-polloi wearing them, it’s a fantastic watch. Much more so than, say, Rado….

    Some list….

    Reply
    • Mr Burns

      OH….OH and Montblanc reintroduced the Minerva movement in their new gold chrono.

      Reply
  6. Acrowot

    I was never a Cartier fan, but love this one. I have a Zenith El Primero.

    Reply
    • GUGGI! Who was previously CUGGI 40 years ago! Plus who started of making clothes. Lest get real here.
      More to the point What happened to TAG HEUER’S CALIBRE 1887, which won Calibre of the International Year Award in 2010. I wonder how much IWC and BREITLING pay to have 2 of there watches previewed?

      Reply
  7. Christian P

    First of all, glad you excluded the over rated Rolex Daytona… just sold mine and could not be happier.

    My big surprise is not finding the AP Royal Oak Offshore or Royal Oak Chrono… superb watches.

    Cartier… there is not a single model I like….same for Rado.

    The new Hublot Unico I do not like at all, in fact what I dislike the most is the round pushers.. one of my favourites is the Hublot Big Bang Black Magic (with carbon dial)..

    Some other missing chronos:
    Breguet Type XXI.. superb, either steel or rose gold.
    IWC Splitfire Chrono
    Jaeger Le Coultre Master Compressor Chronograph 2
    Breitling Navitimer

    Reply
  8. I’ll comment your choices
    It is not with bad intention but adding my personal opinion about your choices.
    Breitling is ok it is very cool and very reliable and has a strong image
    Cartier is one of my least favourite because it seems to me that it is a contradiction of terms cartier-sport chrono
    Hublot has only one atu for it that’s the in house caliber , in rest Hublot is experimenting over and over uglier and uglier models and non plus ultra equipped with a tourbillon
    JLC is pretty nice but I am not sure how resistant is in a long term the aluminum enforced bezel. Personally i would choose Ceramic chrono date model
    The Chopard looks awesome on wrist but it has a design problem-the bolts after a little heavier use have the tendency to erode in a very nasty way and the watch will look very old and used.
    Schafi is pretty beauty and my opinion is one of the best from those.
    Rado is from lower league-instead of it , I don’t say that it is not looking good, I would choose Tissot chrono 516 which is much more sportier
    Omega is a strong nut because of the craftmanship ceramic and cool caliber.
    Longines is ok but it looks like a poor guy aspiring for stratosphere
    For sure anyone who is reading this can say -this guy has the handbrakes on.
    but talking objectively about every watch , emphasizes who heterogenous is the watch industry and how different are the peoples tastes
    My list would be in random order
    Omega , Breitling, Blancpain , Panerai , tissot , tagHeuer 1887, IWC, Lange datograph,JLC but the ceramic with date version,Audemars Piguet royal oak offshore
    Merry Christmas to you Alex and for every reader of this ok forum cheers

    Reply
    • This choice is little bit confused.IWC and Rado or Longines?
      IWC is LeMust,really nice piece of watch,but Rado or Longines-no way.
      And where are the mythical Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Off Shore,Blancpain,Brequet,Zenit El Primero,Rolex Daytona…?

      Reply
  9. john gentilei

    I prefer clean dial chronos that are easy to read, ie in this list: Omega and Cartier.
    Hublot – is way too busy

    Reply
  10. I am pleased to my new Eterna Tangaroa Moonphase grono, which has a reasionable price and good design. I wait for your test results

    Reply
  11. Carl Dreher

    I may be one of the few that actually does use the stop-watch function of a chronograph fairly regularly. For me, none of these watches, with their minute and hour subdials, improves the usability of a chrono. The problem is that it is simply too difficult to read the elapse time at a glance, especially on watches where the minute subdial only records 30-minutes, and you must mentally calculate the time based on which 30-minute interval the hour subdial is indicating.

    There have been a small number of new watches in the last two years that have the chronograph hour and minute hands co-axial with the time-of-day hands, or in some cases, have the elapse time shown on a single, separate subdial. Those are true advances in chrono design.

    Reply
  12. Bert Kanne

    Personally for great value in a chrono I would hands down go for the Seiko solar pepsi chrono. If money was of no concern, a Rolex Daytona.

    Reply
  13. Michael Petrik

    Great list! My personal choices would have some of the same, but not all.

    I also like the Lange Datograph, the Zenith El Primero, and a Gallet Multichron.

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people get outraged that there choices are not on the list. If they took the time to read and comprehend the article they would see its a PERSONAL list. Cheers.

    Reply
  14. Maybe I’m reading wrong… There’s an absence of an El Primero. No Zenith? Rolex Daytona? Come on… Best Chronographs?

    Reply
  15. The list is good. From this list, I’d choose omega speedmaster. But how can you not mention rolex daytona and tag heuer carrera?

    Reply
  16. Bob wolvertin

    Hard to imagine any list being credible if it does not even mention the Rolex Daytona or Zenith ElPrimero.

    Reply
  17. Giorgio Osti

    One of the best looking chrnos, made lately, was the Omega racend timer, which might, however, be sold out, meanwhile.
    Also in its Museum Collection, the MD (medical doctor’s) watch, inspired by a watch of the late thirties, might still be available.
    Theye watches. Inspired by the golden era 1940-1970, are, in my opinion, the best looking watches of our times.
    An alternative would be the fabulous Longines chonos 13ZN and 30 CH, of 1940-1970 , which are stlill available at resonable prices…
    Giorgio

    Reply
  18. Leibo

    Hard to imagine talking top 10 chronographs without something from Zenith. What exactly makes any of these better than a beautiful watch that also happens to run on an El Primero?

    Reply
  19. I love my Longines conquest classic chronograph. Clean looking dial and love the blue column wheel

    Reply
    • Brett

      My vote is for my breguet type XXI chronograph, although cant argue with your choices!

      Reply
  20. Lot of these are just too busy, overdone and somewhat tacky IMHO. The 3 I’d own is the Deep Sea, Omega and maybe the IWC . I had the regular Deep Sea and it’s an amazing watch with a great mvt.

    Reply
  21. 1stnotlastrus

    OMEGA speedmaster dark side of the moon MOTHER OF ALL WATCHES plus 100% style .

    Reply
  22. Leo Sitorus

    The JLC Deep Sea Chronograph looks amazing. But at that price, I would go for an iconic Omega Speedmaster.

    Reply
  23. Watchguy79

    Lange is very nice but not in same league price wise if any if these. IWC gets my vote here. Pam is useless for 99.8% of the people who buy it. Novel comp tho. Hublot a lot more if the same, like JLC too

    Reply
  24. George Michael. vlassis

    for my money JLC first choice no choice RADO thanks again George from Sydney Australia

    Reply
  25. I actually prefer the Rado or the Longines, the others are no better watches, they just have huge prices so the snobs with more money than common sense can pat each other on the back and feel better about themselves!

    Reply
  26. Chrono Lover

    I am actually one of the few people who uses the chronograph complication regularly. My favourite is the Omega dark side of the moon however the case size of 44.25mm is a little too large for me.

    Can anyone suggest an automatic chronograph which has central chronograph minute hand rather than a subdial minutes. Breitling Skyracer was a perfect movement for my liking but they don’t do it anymore. What a shame. I rank that movement as no.1

    Any comments?

    Reply
    • Ismael Maitin

      When I read your comments, I thought quickly in the IWC Da Vinci Chronograph. All, minutes and hours on a single subdial located at 12 o´clock. What do you think?

      Reply
  27. For me its the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Dark Side of the Moon followed by the Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea Chronograph but I wouldn’t say no to the IWC Ingenieur Double Chronograph either!

    Reply
  28. I like all the watch listed but the Cartirr Montre calibre de Cartier is the most attractive out of the lot. I would love to see it with a blue face

    Reply
  29. Chrono-guy

    Longines Heritage Collection Tachymeter Chronograph Men’s Watch
    L2.781.4.13.2

    Reply
  30. iwan tarmat

    breitling gmt chrono black steel its a real pilot watch…tough and good look

    Reply
  31. Great list! My only additions would be a Zenith El Primero, and the Split Flyback from Lange & Sohne.

    Reply
  32. ioancio alex

    rado is pretty expensive and together with longines in my opinion is not in the same league as the others above mentioned
    cool

    Reply
    • Watchguy79

      I assume you meant in expensive. Yes I would agree. I would take the JLC or PAM. And BTW, Hublot, enough already….

      Reply
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