F.P. Journe Octa Chronographe Ruthenium

The Best Chronographs to Buy Now

Chronographs are one of the first complications enthusiasts consider when diversifying their collections. The allure of a well finished manually-wound chrono is hard to rival, and the complication dates back to the early 1800s, a period of significant expansion within the industry. 

Chronographs come in all shapes and sizes, from sport to dress, manual to automatic. Today we will simplify the complex market and examine some of the best chronographs the watchmaking industry has to offer collectors across all varieties. 

A. Lange & Söhne Triple Split 424.037


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To start off with one of the greatest chronos ever made, we feature A. Lange & Söhne’s Triple Split, the most sophisticated pure chronograph available. Prior to Lange, the only split variety of chronograph available was the split-seconds chronograph. One of the hardest movements to assemble on its own, the split-seconds was later enhanced by Lange’s double split, capable of splitting both the seconds and the minutes (a feat never achieved before). Although no other brand successfully matched the Double Split, Lange went a step further with the Triple Split, breaking the seconds, minutes, and hours. This is easily one of the most aesthetically pleasing movements available for purchase in the entire industry, no exaggeration — we’ll let you be the judge. 

Rolex Daytona 116589TBR “Eye of the Tiger”

Rolex Daytona 116589TBR "Eye of the Tiger

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Shifting from a classy dress watch to a blingy sports piece, next up is the Rolex “Eye of the Tiger”. To say this piece is polarizing would be a severe understatement. The “Eye of the Tiger” takes a white gold Daytona and bathes it in brilliant-cut pave diamonds, a bezel of trapeze-cut diamonds, and further brilliant-cut diamonds at the hour markers. The dial arranges the diamonds among a sea of black lacquer tiger stripes to create the striking dial pattern that defines this piece. If you are looking for a show stopper Rolex and enjoy the attention a watch of this stature would afford, this is the piece for you. This is certainly a conversation starter. 

The F.P. Journe Octa Chronographe Ruthenium

F.P. Journe Octa Chronographe Ruthenium

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A discontinued chronograph from F.P. Journe, the Octa Chronographe Ruthenium Edition is one of Journe’s most subtle designs. The dial is well balanced between the time and the chronograph functionalities, and a date is presented towards the top of the dial. This particular variant of the celebrated model is especially valuable, with ruthenium coated dials and movement, limited to only 99 pieces. The Octa Chronographe was Journe’s first chrono (later replaced by the Centigraphe), but it is one of the best manifestations of Journe’s design available within his collections. It’s a shame this model is no longer made today. 

Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph 5930P

Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph 5930P

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A combination of both a world time complication and a chronograph, the 5930P is a contemporary Patek offering, released in 2021. The watch features a green dial with guilloché and chrono register, surrounded by concentric world time rings that enable tracking of different time zones. Patek has coupled the 5930 with an automatic winding caliber for convenience in daily wear and 48 hours of continuous power reserve. It is always exciting to see brands like Patek experiment with bolder colors like green that in the past would have been considered unthinkable. 

Cartier Tortue Monopoussoir Chronograph


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A special variety of chronograph manufactured by the premier design house in the industry, Cartier’s Monopoussoir (or monopusher) chronograph allows all functions of the chronograph to be controlled from a single “mono” pusher. This is no simple feat of mechanical engineering, all the more so when achieved in a thin package measuring a mere 10mm thick. In addition to its mechanical intrigue, this piece has a beautiful guilloché dial and snailed sub dials, providing a texture that is incredibly alluring. To further separate this piece from other options within the market segment, the Tortue Monopoussoir Chronograph is tonneau-shaped rather than a conventional round or rectangular watch. 

A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph “Pour Le Mérite” 712.050


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Lange’s Tourbograph showcases yet another successful combination of complications with a chronograph. The Tourbograph was released as part of the 165th anniversary “Homage to F.A. Lange” collection, a series of limited pieces with exceptional degrees of craftsmanship. For the Tourbograph’s part, the watch couples a tourbillon with a chronograph, flaunts a guilloché dial, and is limited to only 50 pieces in Lange’s proprietary honey gold. This watch is simply the definition of high horology. 

Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award


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Released in 2015 to mark the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission of 1970, the 1,970 piece limited edition Omega Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” commemorates one of the United States’ most historic and heroic missions to the moon. Unlike a traditional Speedmaster, this piece replaces the aluminum bezel insert with black ceramic, appliqué indexes on the dial rather than printed ones, and a white dial to match Snoopy’s color scheme. This piece also features a highlight on the chronograph register of 14 seconds, since on the Apollo 13 mission, the astronauts used the Omega Speedmaster to time a 14 second firing of engines to help return home safely. The details continue to the caseback, which features a solid sterling silver hand engraved representation of snoopy applied on an enamel base. The Silver Snoopy Award is given by NASA to suppliers that distinguish themselves in service to the nation. Omega was awarded the honor in 1970 following the Apollo 13 mission as a result of the crucial role they played with their watches in ensuring the success of the mission.

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Burgundy Dial


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Next up, we return to a popular classic from IWC, the Portugieser. This particular variant of the legendary chronograph is notably outfitted with a burgundy dial. The Portugieser line was introduced in 1939 with the reference 325, the first of a legacy collection that has helped to shape IWC’s presence in the industry in the modern era. The example pictured here is quite special, with its wine-red dial, brushed from the center towards the outskirts of the dial in a sort of sunburst effect. This watch is an affordable piece that packs a serious punch by playing both the classic and the unique roles, maintaining the design of old but incorporating a stunning dial variant that is much more rare and distinctive. 

Patek Philippe 5170P Tiffany & Co. Dial


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Yet another show-stopper from Patek Philippe, the 5170 is the brand’s vintage inspired chronograph, blending the aesthetics of vintage Patek with the manufacturing capabilities of modern machinery. While on the surface this piece may look like just any regular 5170, closer examination of the beautiful blue dial reveals two defining details. Firstly, in place of conventional markers, the blue dialed variant featured uses baguette-cut hour markers. Secondly, this piece bears the legendary Tiffany & Co. dial stamp that has helped many other references explode in the secondary market. An atypical example of a modern classic from Patek, you cannot go wrong with the 5170P with Tiffany Dial. 

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph Frosted

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph Frosted 26239BC.GG.1224BC.02

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The Royal Oak family provides our final recommendation among class-defining chronographs. This chronograph’s true beauty shines not merely in its complication, but also in its case and bracelet finish. The Royal Oak has a long standing reputation for exceptional finishing across the case and bracelet; this frosted variant, however, displays an entirely different perspective on case treatments. First introduced in 2016, AP’s frosted finish is achieved by hammering the surface of the gold with a diamond-tipped tool repeatedly. In effect, the watch is always catching light reflecting off the various valleys in the surface, creating a scintillating appearance that ostensibly suggests the presence of diamonds.