As we approach the end of 2018 and prepare for 2019 — surely destined to be another interesting year in the world of watches — we take a look back at some of the most noteworthy timepieces that came out this year, in various popular categories. Today, we look at 10 chronograph watches released in 2018 that stood out from the pack.
As it often does, Glashütte-based A. Lange & Söhne delivered one of SIHH’s 2018’s most talked-about novelties with the introduction of the Triple Split, the world’s first mechanical split-seconds chronograph that can perform multi-hour comparative time measurements. The watch’s ability to measure both additive and comparative times up to an astounding 12 hours is achieved by additional rattrapante hands on both the minutes and hours-totalizing subdials. In its switched-off mode, the chronograph’s hand pairs – sweep seconds, minute- and hour-counter hands – are superposed. When the chronograph is activated via its pusher, all these hands start running simultaneously until the rattrapante pusher (on the opposite side of the case) is pressed to freeze intermediate time measurements. At this point, the three blued-steel hands stop to display lap times while the seconds hand and the minute- and hour-counter hands continue to run and measure the total time. Pressing the rattrapante pusher a second time causes the three stopped hands to catch up and synchronize with the still-running, still-time-measuring hands. Limited to 100 pieces and housed in an 18k white gold case, the Triple Split is also equipped with a flyback function, one that also uses all three hand pairs. Much more details can be found here.
Japan’s Citizen commemorated its 100-year anniversary in 2018 with the release of a vintage-look “bullhead” chronograph, the Tsuno Chronograph Racer (Tsuno means “horned” in Japanese), which takes its design cues from models the brand produced in the early 1970s. The watch has a round, 45-mm case in a classical bullhead construction, with a crown and two chronograph pushers at its top; lugs integrating seamlessly into its bracelet; and a second crown at the 5 o’clock position to adjust the watch’s alarm function. The dial has an inclined tachymetric scale and four black subdials for the 1/5th-seconds counter, 12-hour counter, power-reserve indicator, and running seconds indicator, along with a small date window an on/off indicator for the alarm function. These various complications are made possible by a Citizen Eco-Drive movement, which harnesses natural or artificial light energy to power the watch. More detail and versions can be found here.
Retro-look timepieces continued trending throughout 2018 in all the watch world’s categories. The Eberhard Nuvolari Legend is a vintage-look chronograph inspired by, and named for, Tazio Nuvolari (1892-1953), known as Montovano Volante, or the Flying Mantuan, one of the icons of early 20th-century auto racing. The watch’s black dial has big, luminescent Arabic numerals, baton hands, and a vintage-look spiral tachymeter scale (measured in km/hr) in the center, overlapping the minutes counter at 12 o’clock and hour counter at 6 o’clock. It is available in two stainless steel case sizes, the “standard” 39.5 mm version and the “Grand Taille” 43-mm variation that has become a hallmark of Eberhard watches. The exhibition caseback offers a view of the self-winding ETA Valjoux 7750 movement, whose rotor has been enhanced with an image of the historical Alfa Romeo Type 12C racecar in which Nuvolari won many victories. Click here for more on the watch.
While it is known widely for its elegant, high-horology timepieces, F.P. Journe has been making its presence felt, in its own distinctive style, in the luxury sports-watch arena for the better part of a decade now, and its latest version of its Centigraphe Sport features its most boldly sporty dial design to date. It has an ergonomic design with a rocker at 2 o’clock, rather than the usual double pushers, to start, stop, and zero the chronograph function. A patented innovation in the movement’s chronograph mechanism isolates the stopwatch from the timekeeping — a separate chronograph train is driven directly by the mainspring in a patented design — so the balance amplitude is unaffected while the former is running. The three subdials on the bright yellow, lacquered aluminum dial display elapsed times of 20 seconds at 3 o’clock, 10 minutes at 6 o’clock, and 1 second (divided into 1/100th increments) at 10 o’clock; the latter’s hand makes one revolution around its dial per second and can be stopped anywhere along its trajectory. For more on this model, and Journe’s other sporty, yellow-dialed 2018 release, the Octa Sport, click here.
Girard-Perregaux’s new Laureato Chronograph comes in a variety of materials and sizes, including the panda-dial model pictured here. All the new models are distinctly recognizable as from the Laureato family, with a polished octagonal bezel, Clou de Paris hobnail motif on the dial, and integrated bracelets and straps. They also feature subtle details like octagonal-shaped chronograph pushers shaped like the bezel and snailed finishes on the three subdials, two for the chronograph minutes and hours counters, the third for the small seconds display. The larger model, in the 42-mm case, has its hour markers secured to the minutes circle and a clear sapphire caseback; the smaller, 38-mm versions has separate hour markers and a solid caseback. The movement is the self-winding GP03300-01 caliber, with 63 jewels, a 28,800-vph frequency, and a 46-hour power reserve. To see more versions of the Laureato Chronograph and learn more about Girard-Perregaux’s new timepieces for 2018, click here for our SIHH report on the brand.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Chronograph is the sportiest of the brand’s new Polaris collection, whose design codes are rooted in the now-famous Memovox Polaris from 1968, a diving watch with a mechanical alarm. Its inner rotating bezel features a racing-inspired tachymeter scale, and the chronograph pushers have been engineered to ensure an ideal grip. Like all the watches in the vintage-inspired Polaris collection, its dial consists of three concentric circles with contrasting finishes: sunray in the center, graining on the outer circle with its vintage-inspired Arabic numerals, and opaline for the rotating inner rotating bezel flange. The dial’s bi-compax layout has a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and small seconds at 9 o’clock. The timekeeping and the stopwatch are driven by a self-winding manufacture movement, Caliber 751, which is visible through a sapphire caseback and holds a 65-hour power reserve. For my hands-on, detail-packed review of the Polaris Chronograph, click here.
Patek Philippe welcomed quite a few firsts to its various collections in 2018, including the first perpetual calendar in its Nautilus series and another one that garnered quite a bit of buzz, the first chronograph in its sportiest and most accessible family, the Aquanaut. The Aquanaut Chronograph’s steel case, with the hallmark gently-rounded octagonal bezel, measures 42.2 mm in diameter and features an array of satin and polished finishes on its surfaces and flanks. The screw-down crown, which helps ensure a water-resistance of 120 meters, is embedded between the shoulders of a curving crown protector, which in turn is bordered on each side by two elongated chronograph pushers. The sloping lugs integrate seamlessly into the sporty rubber strap. The gradated light-to-dark gray dial sports the familiar embossed pattern of the Aquanaut range, and the large, 60-minute chronograph-counter subdial at 6 o’clock is subtly shaped to echo the octagon shape of the bezel. Patek’s manufacture Caliber CH 28-520 C, with automatic winding and an integrated column-wheel-controlled flyback chronograph function, powers the watch. For more info, click here.
Porsche Design launched its latest limited edition, celebrating 70 years of Porsche sports cars and offered exclusively to members of the Porsche Club of America (PCA), in 2018. The Chronograph 70Y Sportwagen PCA Edition features design elements, materials and colors that are emblematic of both Porsche cars and the PCA, and it is powered by an in-house-made engine, the Werk 01.200 caliber, the Porsche Design brand’s first proprietary movement. The 42-mm titanium case, with black titanium carbide coating, frames a black carbon fiber dial accented with white hands and indices and a central flyback chronograph hand and small seconds hand in Porsche’s Guards Red color. For this extremely limited edition (70 pieces), Porsche Design outfitted the Werk 01.200 COSC-certified chronograph caliber with a very special technical highlight: a winding rotor shaped like Porsche’s famous Fuchs forged alloy wheel. Designed for the Porsche 911 more than 50 years ago, the shape of the Fuchsfelge has become an iconic visual element of Porsche cars. For more details (and a video) click here.
Speake-Marin combines modern and vintage elements in a standout (and veddy British) chronograph introduced at SIHH 2018: the London Chronograph Valjoux 92. The historical, manually winding movement has been sourced from the late ’50s/early ’60s, a time before the Quartz Crisis disrupted the Swiss watch industry. Speake-Marin’s watchmakers discovered just a handful of examples of the Valjoux 92 caliber tucked away in a safe for the past six decades, and meticulously repaired 15 of them to make them fit for contemporary usage in the new watch’s 42-mm titanium case, distinctly modern with its hallmark Speake-Marin “Picadilly” design. The dial has a 45-minute chronograph subdial at 3 o’clock and a running seconds subdial at 9 o’clock; both appear to be “floating” over the central rotor element, shaped like a watchmaker’s topping tool, that rotates with the hours. For an in-depth, hands-on review of the London Chronograph, click here.
Back in 2016, Zenith caught the eye of vintage-military-watch aficionados with its release of the Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2, an aviators’ chronograph that paid tribute to the now-legendary “Cairelli” watch the brand made for Italian Navy and Air Force pilots in the 1960s. This year, Zenith followed it up with a new version of the watch, with a flyback function, available in a vintage-look bronze or aged steel case. The 43-mm case has a rotating aviator-style bezel, and a classical bicompax dial design. The dial is in either a bronze-grained or slate-gray-grained color and has hour numerals and rhodium-plated hands treated with Super-LumiNova. The bezel and chronograph pushers, as they were on the steel-cased, black-dialed model released in 2016, were engineered to meet special easy-handling specifications mandated by the original watch’s military customers. The automatic El Primero 405B, one of the Zenith brand’s prestigious family of high-frequency chronograph calibers, powers the timekeeping and stopwatch functions, For an in-depth review of the “Aged Steel” Tipo CP-2 model, click here.