Chronographs and divers are two of the most popular types of watches – and I must say I understand why. Looking at my own watch collection, it consists mostly of divers and chronographs from a number of brands and in various price categories. These watches certainly offer much more than just telling the time; for me, it’s not so much the functionality that matters, but rather the aesthetics.
Some chronograph watches can measure speed while travelling and others can time certain events like regattas. Of course, you could also use your watch to time how long you’ve parked somewhere to avoid getting a fine or how long your eggs have boiled; all that in one good-looking watch on your wrist. Thus, we’ve picked three popular chronographs from different brands and taken a closer look at them.
IWC Schaffhausen Pilot Chronograph
Of the three watches we’ve selected for you, the IWC Pilot Chronograph is probably the most complete package with a day and date indication; the layout of the dial is somewhat different because of this. With the day and date display at three o’clock, the dial has a very technical, instrument-like character. The bold hands and markings speak for themselves and make the dial very readable. Unlike the other watches, the IWC Pilot doesn’t come with a tachymeter bezel which limits its functionality, but gives it a slightly more minimalistic look.
Like any chronograph, the top button starts and stops the timing function and the bottom button resets it. Elapsed minutes are displayed at 12 o’clock and the hours can be seen on the six o’clock subdial. The Pilot Chronograph is remarkable for its high-quality case, and strap or bracelet. It also contains a nice historic element with the triangle at the top of the dial. On military watches this triangle at 12 o’clock helped to tell the time in all conditions as in the dark you only had the lume to look at. Measuring 43mm, the IWC Pilot is the biggest of the three.
While the Tudor has the shortest history, the Speedmaster has the longest track record of them all. Being the official watch for NASA astronauts, this watch has endless stories to tell. Aside from the first models in the late 50s and early 60s, the modern (hesalite plexi) Speedmaster hasn’t changed much over the years.
Just like the Tudor, the dial on the Omega Speedmaster features a symmetrical layout; though this time with three subdials instead of two. The small seconds is at the nine o’clock position while the other registers keep track of minutes and hours elapsed. Of the three watches on this list, the Speedy has the least water resistance at only 50 meters. Size-wise it is in the middle; it’s 1mm larger than the Tudor and 1mm smaller than the IWC. Like the legendary Rolex Daytona, the classic Speedmaster Moonwatch doesn’t have a date display. Nevertheless, it’s without a doubt the most iconic model of the three.
Tudor Black Bay Chronograph
Compared to the other watches, the Tudor Black Bay Chronograph is the new kid on the block. It was first introduced earlier this year, just before Baselworld 2017. This two-register chronograph is inspired by famous sports watches from the past. The dial layout is symmetrical with the subdials on the left and right side and a small date window at the six o’clock position. At 41mm, the Black Bay is the smallest of the three.
The chronograph has screw-down pushers to improve water resistance. These give the Black Bay Chronograph the best waterproof rating of the three with no less than 200 meters of water resistance. The tachymeter scale on the Tudor is reminiscent of that on its big brother, the Rolex Daytona, although the layout is a bit different: The numbers on the bezel are rotated around the dial, whereas they are all horizontal on the Daytona. Another distinctive feature is of course the snowflake hands. The watch is powered by an automatic in-house movement. This modern caliber was developed in a partnership between Tudor and Breitling. While this may seem unusual, collaborations like this are relatively common in watchmaking.
While these watches share some features, each has its own distinctive qualities that will delight its future owner. Whether it’s the iconic design of the Speedy, the aviation-inspired design of the IWC, or the value for money that you find with the Tudor, you’re bound to find something that works for you. With so many watches to choose from, it’s always a personal choice as to which features are important to you and which give you the most pleasure while looking at your wrist again and again.