By almost any standard, the luxury watch world enjoyed a successful year in 2021 despite the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and its worldwide economic consequences — with high-profile retailers reopening and expanding, new auction records set, some large-scale industry events (like our own WatchTime New York) returning, and of course, a host of notable timepieces launched. As we wrap up 2021 and look ahead enthusiastically to 2022, we take our annual look back at some of the year’s notable timepieces in various popular categories. Today we showcase chronographs.
Commemorating 50 years since a Bulova watch went to the moon on the Apollo 15 mission, the Bulova 50th Anniversary Lunar Pilot Limited Edition closely replicates the original model, which was specifically engineered for space travel, with a chronograph to track the duration of oxygen supplies, battery power, and other life-sustaining onboard systems, and a case designed to withstand changes in pressure, temperatures, atmospheric conditions, and gravity. The modern watch has a 45-mm case made of grade 5 titanium with gold-toned crown and pushers and gold-colored details on the dial, including the central seconds hand, the subdials, and the classic Bulova logo. Behind a gold-toned commemorative caseback is Bulova’s proprietary UHF (ultra high frequency) quartz caliber, beating at 262 Hz for an extremely high degree of timekeeping accuracy. Learn more about the watch here.
Lucerne-based watchmaker Carl F. Bucherer and Genevan writing instrument purveyor Caran d’Ache teamed up to produce the Signature Moments project, a limited-edition set pairing a specially designed Carl F. Bucherer Manero Flyback timepiece with an equally exclusive, customized Caran d’Ache rollerball pen. The watch’s subdials are executed in a graphite gray, contrasting sharply with the silvered dial, which plays host to a multicolored array of hour markers. The colors chosen for the dial details evoke those of the artists’ colored pencils that Caran d’Ache produces as part of its repertoire. The 43-mm stainless steel case houses Carl F. Bucherer’s self-winding Caliber CFB 1970, with a 42-hour power reserve and a column-wheel-driven chronograph with a flyback function. You can read more about the watch and its companion pen here.
The eye-popping green dial of Girard-Perregaux’s Laureato Chronograph Aston Martin Limited Edition draws its historical inspiration from the colors assigned to distinguish the nationalities of international racing teams in the 1900s, specifically the “British Racing Green” adopted by British marques in general and Aston Martin in particular. The second timepiece released in the partnership between the Swiss watchmaker and British automaker, its dial also features a cross-hatched diamond pattern first used on Aston Martin’s “AM” logo of the early 1920s, a motif still found on the quilted seats of Aston Martin high-performance cars. The hands are partially openworked and luminous-treated, with the central chronograph seconds hand sporting a counterweight that echoes the look of the side strakes introduced on the 1958 Aston Martin DB4. Girard-Perregaux’s automatic Caliber GP03300-0141 serves as the engine inside the 42-mm steel case. More details and photos here.
The Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph LE 200 is the latest member of the Rieussec watch family and pays the most direct aesthetic tribute to its historical predecessor, the “time writer” clock invented in 1821 and regarded as the first chronograph device. The gold-colored base of the watch’s complex, six-part dial is embellished with a traditional grain d’orge guilloché motif, and the domed, rotating chronograph disks on the bottom left and right are also gold-toned. Reminiscent of the historical machine’s stationary inking nibs, a blued double hand is fixed between the two disks to tally 60 elapsed minutes and 30 elapsed seconds. A monopusher at 8 o’clock on the case activates the chronograph. On the dial’s periphery are applied inscriptions reading “Nicolas Rieussec” and “Homage 200 ans” (Tribute to 200 years) and a decorative border with a filet sauté guilloché pattern. Montblanc’s highly decorated Caliber MB R200 beats within the 44.8-mm steel case, offering a power reserve of 72 hours. More on the watch and its history here.
Omega’s Speedmaster Chronoscope pulls off the rare feat of combining three chronograph-related scales on its vintage-inspired dial and bezel: a tachymeter, telemeter, and pulsometer. Deriving its name from the Greek words “chronos,” meaning time, and “scope,” meaning to observe, the model pays tribute to vintage Omega chronograph watches from the 1940s with its spiral track patterns, snailed subdials, and leaf-shaped hands. Omega has unveiled seven total references, six that use stainless steel for their 43-mm cases and another in Omega’s exclusive bronze gold alloy. Inside all of them is a new, manually wound manufacture movement, the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 9908, whose noteworthy features include Geneva waves in Arabesque that radiate outward from the balance wheel rather from the center of the bridge — the first time that Omega has executed this distinctive, high-horology finish in this way. Click here for more info and additional versions.
One of the flagships of Parmigiani Fleurier’s new Tonda PF collection, characterized by a purist aesthetic inspired by the Golden Ratio, the Tonda PF Chronograph features a gleaming 42-mm stainless steel case with a hand-knurled platinum bezel and contains Parmigiani’s COSC-certified 5 Hz Caliber PF070, an integrated, high-frequency, column-wheel movement that ticks at 36,600 vph and amasses 68 hours of power reserve. The three-register dial hosts a grain d’orge guilloché motif that is emblematic of the new collection and a set of white-gold hands. The dial’s almost flush surface was achieved by using a thinly sandblasted minute track and counter outlines around the subdials, and the case’s chronograph pushers have been seamlessly fused into the profile of the hallmark teardrop-shaped lugs. lugs. The movement has a new oscillating weight in 22k rose gold, widely open-worked with a central PF logo medallion. For the lowdown on the entire Tonda PF collection, click here.
Among Rolex’s releases at its first Watches & Wonders show was a new version of its iconic, motorsport-styled Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona with an 18k white gold case and an intriguingly textured dial made of metallic meteorite. Specifically, The dial material is derived from the remnants of an asteroid, composed primarily of iron and nickel, which exploded millions of years ago and subsequently cooled to create distinctive, interwoven crystallized surface patterns. These so-called “Winmanstatten patterns” are unique to each dial, impossible to replicate, and sealed with a special chemical treatment. The tachymeter bezel atop the gold case is made from Cerachrom, a durable, virtually scratchproof material patented by Rolex; other patents abound throughout the movement, Rolex’s COSC-certified Caliber 4130, which beats inside the 100-meter water-resistant case. Read our full report on the watch here.
Inaugurating yet another strategic partnership between a luxury watchmaker and a high-end automobile marque, the TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph Special Edition adopts the classic tricompax design of the Carrera along with a number of Porsche-inspired aesthetic details. Among the latter are the red Porsche inscription emblazoning the engraved black ceramic tachymeter-scale bezel; applied numerals in a font used on Porsche dashboards; an asphalt-pattern dial created especially for this inaugural timepiece; and an overall color scheme in the classic Porsche colors of red, black and gray. Recessed into the gray asphalt surface are three black subdials with red details and azurage centers. The 44-mm steel case, with pump-style chrono pushers, contains a specially modified version of the Heuer 02 caliber with a black rotor formed to resemble a Porsche steering wheel. More on the watch and the partnership can be found here.
Ulysse Nardin rolled out its new Marine Torpilleur collection, inspired by the Swiss watchmaker’s history as a supplier of chronometers to many of the world’s navies in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Marine Torpilleur Annual Chronograph, as its name implies, offers the rare complication combo of a chronograph and an annual calendar, both driven by the in-house automatic Caliber UN 153. The case measures 44 mm in diameter and is water-resistant to 50 meters. The dial features pear-style hands, Roman hour numerals, and subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock, the former for the elapsed chronograph minutes, the latter for the annual calendar. The date at 6 o’clock changes automatically, in sync with the month, and the annual calendar system is adjustable both forward and backward via the large crown, which means that the month and day can be easily adjusted in both directions. We cover the entire Marine Torpilleur collection here.
Equipped with a new ceramic bezel bearing an ultra-readable, etched 1/10th-second scale, the Zenith Chronomaster Sport represents, according to Zenith, “a new era for the quintessential Zenith sporty-chic chronograph,” the Chronomaster. Its sleek, 41-mm steel case features the pump-style chronograph pushers of earlier models, and the tricompax dial (in either matte black or matte white) hosts a set of overlapping subdials in the classic El Primero colors of blue, anthracite, and light gray, just as they appeared on the classic A386 model from 1969. Its high-frequency chronograph caliber, the most recent version of the classic El Primero, powers a central seconds hand that makes a complete rotation around the dial in 10 seconds rather than 60, enabling the wearer to read elapsed times to 1/10th second directly on the bezel. Outfitted with a large blued column wheel and a lever-operated lateral clutch, stores a power reserve of 60 hours. More visuals and technical details here.