Pushing the Envelope: 6 Unconventional Chronograph Watches

Bovet Cambiano Special Edition watchA growing number of chronographs have push-pieces in unorthodox places. In this WatchTalk article we explore several of them, including a modern-day take on a vintage Omega watch and a Bovet timepiece that can shift from wristwatch to pocketwatch to table clock with the push of a button.

Omega has introduced an updated version of its 1969 Bullhead watch, named for its asymmetric case with chrono buttons on top, which bears a (perhaps mild) resemblance to a bull’s head. The new Seamaster Bullhead Chronograph looks much like its ancestor, but behind the dial there’s something different: a co-axial automatic Caliber 3113, with a column-wheel chronograph mechanism. The new Bullhead trades the original’s rounded push-pieces for flat ones. The watch also has an internal rotating bezel, which can be controlled by the second crown, found at 6 o’clock. The bezel has a 24-hour scale on it, with alternating blue and black backgrounds for day and night. The watch is being released in a limited edition of 669 pieces and is priced at $9,600.

Omega Seamaster Bullhead

Panerai’s Luminor 1950 Rattrapante 8 Days Titanio has its push-pieces on the left side of the case. The button at 8 o’clock starts, stops and resets the main chronograph seconds hand. (A rattrapante, or split-seconds chrono, has two superimposed chronograph seconds hands.) The 10 o’clock button controls the split seconds hand, which can measure partial times or a second event simultaneous with the first. These push-pieces, like the case, are made of brushed titanium. The watch is powered by a manually wound Caliber P.2006/3, which has three barrels to provide an eight-day power reserve. Small seconds are at 9 o’clock, the chronograph minutes counter is at 3, and above 6 is a   linear power-reserve indicator. The watch comes on a rubber strap and is water resistant to 100 meters. Price: $27,200.

Panerai Luminor 1950 Rattrapante 8 Days Titanio

Bovet introduced the Cambiano Special Edition chronograph last year.  Like the majority of Bovet watches, the Cambiano makes use of the brand’s signature Amadeo convertible case: with crown  at 12 o’clock and a removable strap, it can quickly be adjusted to serve as a wristwatch, pocketwatch, or table clock. The Cambiano has a 45-mm round steel case with polished steel chronograph pushers on either side of the crown. The watch is powered by an automatic movement with a 50-hour power reserve. On the rhodium-plated dial, the chronograph counters have solid oak subdials. The Cambiano comes on a leather strap and is water resistant to 30 meters. Price: $32,200.

Bovet Cambiano Special Edition


Left-hand crowns and push-pieces are hallmarks of the U-Boat brand. The Chimera 48 mm Carbon is an automatic GMT chronograph with a 48-mm forged carbon case. The crown has a special locking release at 7 o’clock. The crown and locking device, as well as the unusually shaped left-side pushers, are made of titanium. The dial uses a superimposed two-level design. On it one finds a snaking GMT hours hand, a date display at 9 o’clock, small seconds, and chronograph counters for 30 minutes and 12 hours. The watch is being produced in a limited edition of 200 pieces. Price: $14,000.

U-Boat Chimera 48 mm Carbon

To highlight its connection to motorcycle racing, ContaTempo Scuderia designs its chronographs to resemble stopwatches. The Master Time has its crown and push-pieces at the top of the case, stopwatch style. (The crown also has a bow, like that on a stopwatch crown.) The start/stop push-piece, at 11 o’clock, is raised and the reset push-piece, at 1, is almost flush with the case, making it easier to distinguish start from reset without looking. The watch has a 46-mm stainless-steel case plated in rose gold and comes on a leather strap. Price: $3,295.

CT Scuderia Master Time

The Chronofighter models from Graham have a distinctive trigger on the left side of the case to start and stop the chronograph. The Chronofighter 1695 Silver is a recent addition to the series. The crown at 9 o’clock is dwarfed by the large silver trigger that covers it. (The case is also made of silver; hence the “silver” in the watch’s name. The “1695” refers to the year London watchmaker George Graham began making watches.) There is a reset button at 10 o’clock and a 30-minute totalizer at 6. Price: $11,550.

Graham Chronofighter 1695 Silver

This article first appeared in the June 2014 issue of WatchTime Magazine and has since been updated.

One Response to “Pushing the Envelope: 6 Unconventional Chronograph Watches”

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  1. Daniel McDonald

    As dedicated yachter, I’m always on the lookout for some new wrist candy to flash around the club. I thought I was sold on the Luminor Rattrapante until I stumbled on this article. Now, I think it will have to be the Cambiano. You had me at solid oak subdials.

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