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 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 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 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 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 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.