Looking for a chronograph with a completely in-house-manufactured movement? In this feature from the WatchTime archives, we showcase some of the industry’s top picks, from seven power brands.
1. ANTI-MAGNETIC: OMEGA SEAMASTER PLANET OCEAN 600M CHRONOGRAPH
This Omega dive watch is one of the most modern and sturdiest all-around chronographs on the market. The case, in stainless steel, titanium or Sedna (rose) gold, is water resistant to a depth of 600 meters, and the ceramic bezel resists scratches. A transparent caseback offers a great view of the super-modern, antimagnetic in-house movement. The use of fully antimagnetic components makes a soft iron inner case unnecessary. Stainless steel, ceramic bezel, 45.5 mm, in-house movement 9900, automatic, chronometer, $8,350.
2. VISUALLY ELEGANT: A. LANGE & SÖHNE DATOGRAPH AUF/AB
This A. Lange & Söhne chronograph offers beauty and practicality. The many indications – time, elapsed time, large date, power reserve, and tachymeter track – are arranged in elegant balance across the dial. The viewer can see the mechanism with all the Glashütte quality features. Other advantages include a flyback function and a long power reserve of 60 hours. For a review of this watch, click here. Platinum, 41 mm, in-house movement, L.951.1, hand-wound, $90,700.
3. HIGH-TECH LOOK: HUBLOT BIG BANG UNICO TITANIUM
A flyback function – to time, reset and restart the chronograph using the lower push button – is just one advantage of the Hublot Big Bang. Consider the three-day power reserve, water resistance to 100 meters, and a quick-change system for straps. But the most convincing feature of Hublot’s bestseller is its modern high-tech look with its multi-piece case, skeletonized dial and grooved rubber strap. For more on the Big Bang Unico, and to see other case versions, click here. Titanium, 45 mm, in-house Caliber HUB1242 Unico, automatic, $19,900.
4. CALCULATING: BREITLING NAVITIMER GMT AURORA BLUE
The hallmark feature of the now 65-year-old Breitling Navitimer (we explore it in detail here) is its circular slide-rule bezel, which can be used to determine flight data such as fuel consumption. From a horological point of view, this chronograph icon has been a standout for many years with its in-house movement that has both a high-quality column-wheel control as well as a modern vertical clutch for an enhanced power reserve of 70 hours. Now it’s available in a blue version with a second time zone. Stainless steel, 48 mm, in-house Caliber B04, automatic, chronometer, $9,290.
5. SCRATCH-RESISTANT: ROLEX OYSTER PERPETUAL COSMOGRAPH DAYTONA
This iconic, racing-inspired Rolex chronograph was updated in 2016, for the first time in years. In addition to changes on the dial, the most significant improvement was the addition of a ceramic bezel to protect the once-sensitive tachymetric scale from scratches – as integral to this sporty chronograph as the engine of a car. (More details in our report on the watch from Baselworld 2016). Humming under the hood is the well-known in-house Caliber 4130 with its three-day power reserve and proprietary blue Parachrom hairspring that resists magnetic disturbances and impacts alike. Stainless steel, ceramic bezel, 40 mm, in-house Caliber 4130, automatic, chronometer, $12,400.
6. SIMPLICITY: PATEK PHILIPPE REFERENCE 5170R
Patek Philippe filled out its portfolio with the 2009 introduction of hand-wound Caliber CH 29-535 PS. It’s the brand’s first mass-produced chronograph movement without additional functions. Men’s chronograph Reference 5170 appeared in 2010 in yellow gold, then in white gold and now in rose gold with a silver or black dial. The darker model is the most striking version so far and adds a new, sporty touch to the attractive basic chronograph. Rose gold, 39.4 mm, in-house Caliber CH 29-535 PS, hand-wound, $81,080.
7. EVERGREEN: ZENITH EL PRIMERO 36,000 VPH CLASSIC CARS
Tricolor subdials are a distinguishing feature of this legendary high-beat chronograph from Zenith, whose balance frequency permits measurements of 1/10 second. Legendary, too, is the El Primero caliber: Presented to the public in January 1969 as the world’s first automatic chronograph, the functional and attractive column-wheel movement has never undergone major revision. Stainless steel, 42 mm, in-house Caliber 400, automatic, chronometer, $6,700.
I REALLY WANT A : ROLEX SEA DWELLER Diver’s watch !!!
This piece helped me sort out my options for in-house movements. I have always admired the Omega Co-Axial, but it seemed that it shouldn’t be in the categories with the bespoke pieces, like the Lange and Pateks, but here I am facing down my demons. I had a Lange but I never wore it, based on fear of the price point, and it’s potential loss. I pulled the trigger on this Omega, and I have never looked back. A wonderful machine, and one I can wear all day every day……who knew such a thing was possible!? Omega rules the value quotient.
Chronograph with inhouse movement? Citizen, and with Eco Drive, you also get up to 270 days reserve power, auto power saving, perpetual calendar, alarm, and a 2d time zone. While chronographs were the province of expensive watches, it’s more than ironic that the great race to make the first automatic chronograph barely preceded the introduction of Quartz drive and an explosion of features which could take advantage of it. Not to forget, quartz is inherently more accurate with a more consistent power flow, something auto’s have to compensate in order to deliver accurate numbers. You don’t get the same precision when dozens more gears are powering a display timing an event to the tenth of a second – the entire challenge to getting an auto winder to work at all as a chronograph.
Sadly the industry marketing spring powered watches simply refuses to discuss the plebian watches sold for far less that do much more.
Hmmmm , forgot # 8 ( lucky number somewhere) Seiko , Check it out !
كل المجموعه جميله جدا … بس أنا حابب HUBLOT أكتر ساعه .
Very informative send me more
Given I’m a new owner of one, i have to bring up the Angelus U30. I’m aware there are only 25 made, however a completely in-house designed and manufactured chrono with a Rattrapante Flyback function for less than $60k? I’m aware it’s not a Lange, but still….
At the top it says: “Written by Alexander Krupp December 16, 2019”, yet the comments are from all the way back in August of 2017. Maybe it should say “updated Dec 16, 2019”..?
I guess it’s alive like Johnny #5! It reads March 16, 2020!
Wow. One day I hope to be able to own some of these beauties.
I have a Rolex Daytona which has the in-house 4130 movement. Mine is a Z serial from 2008. It’s the 116520.
I’ve had absolutely zero issues with mine as with my other 4 Rollers.
Rolex reliability is very much a strong point and probably the envy of all other watch manufacturers.
From Gerry Dimatos in Australia.
Just like Toyota…
What about Jaeger Le Coultre chronograph Polaris ?
What baffles me is that the manufacturers push out and journalists eat up these pseudo-divers’ watches which come on leather straps (with no mention of water friendly straps being offered by manufs. How is one supposed to dive in it? Or do they expect us to buy them aftermarket after shelling several thousand dollars on a brand new divers’ watch?
What watch are you referring to specifically? The Omega? Pretty sure they sell their watches with steel bracelets or rubber straps as options. Let’s face it: nowadays most people who buy tool watches like diving or pilot watches don’t use them for their intended application. People like the aesthetic so not sure why you are baffled that some offer a leather strap option.
My Omega came with a rubber strap.
After decades of experience with Rolex and Breitling and spending plenty on “repairs,” I have little faith in your comments about durability and reliability. I have settled happily with three brands that have given me zero problems: Casio, Citizen and Sinn. So when you say “durable,” I ask you and the manufacturers to prove it. No watch company offers long term use/wear reviews of their products..it’s all by oblique reference to some pilot, mountain climber, racer or other celebrity wearing the product, probably for free. As jewelry, your top 7 may be fine, but as working, reliable time pieces there is little proof.
JJ Stives, Certified Commercial Diver, FAA Licensed Commercial Pilot, Fort Pierce, Florida
You’re right. The industry and the related sales blogs will not give reliability information except, on occasion, obliquely.
The biggest joke is that they claim that “perpetual calendar” watches won’t need adjustment until the year 2100. Yeah, except for having to send them in for servicing every three or four years to fix the complication.
Not caused by improper usage? Regular service every 5 years or so…wait I don’t think I know anybody who will be witnessing the need for the 28-day February of year 2100…!
I have been a watch guy for over 50 years. For durability and reliability, Ball, Citizen and Seiko do the job.
I would add the VC Overseas, I just got a stainless steel one 3 weeks ago and love it. The movement is very nicely finished with a nice column wheel displayed between bridges with a Maltese cross in the middle of the column wheel. Very cool watch.
I believe a mistake had been made in regards to the Navitimer. The caliber is BO5. Caliber BO4 is the chronomat 44 GMT. Breitling developed this in house movement for the chronomat watch. Brietling installed this top drawer movement into the Navitimer later. The chronomat 44 GMT watch is superior to Rolex. Both Breitling and Rolex are in-house movements, both are column-wheel with vertical clutch. The Breitling chronomat 44 GMT has 47 jewels, a date window, 70 hours power reserve, GMT function as well as 200 meters water resistance. Also, least we forgot, Rolex had a two year warranty. Breitling warranted their in-house B01 movement for five years. Rolex then followed suite with five years as well. If one is considering a chronograph movement and not studying the Breitling story, one us missing out.
The BO4 movement is used in several pieces. (Not just the Chronomat 44 GMT)
The Daytona is a beautiful watch that colour combination is blows me away. Very cool
ALS, PP, Rolex, all yes. No to the others.
why were there no IWC watches considered?
I have a Grand Seiko as well as one of the 2001
SS Daytona’s with their them new manufactured movement. I’ve also got a Breitling Chronomat in steel-gold bThe Grand Seiko is, given an accuracy of <0.25 seconds/day, in my opinion, superior in every way to everything here.
Does it really matter 0.25 sec per day. Rolex is by far better brand. I would get a Grand Seiko if they improved the looks.
Yes indeed. And the word is slowly getting too.
Beautiful watches, beware of Omega!! I saved for a couple of years for my first Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean “Master co-axial”, had it for three months and it’s already at the Swatch repair shop awaiting for parts for a complete maintenance service. I believe thats an overhaul of the watch based on the Swatch website.
Good luck to you. My experience with them in that department was horrendous.
Nice list, some beautiful watches here.
And, I’ll be “that guy” that says, what about Seiko? :)
Aloha! Very cool and informative article. Thank you.
How about Parmigiani? I believe this to be an in-house chronograph movement, but I may be wrong…