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WATCHES OF THE YEAR: WatchPro reveals the best Racy Chronographs from the past twelve months

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IN A MARKET WHICH HAS SEEN BOTH UPS AND DOWNS THIS YEAR, ONE THING REMAINS A CONSTANT AS IT DOES EVERY YEAR – THE EXCELLENCE OOZING FROM THE WATCHMAKING INDUSTRY’S BEST CHRONOGRAPHS.

WATCHES OF THE YEAR WINNER

Tag Heuer
Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition
$6,750

TAG Heuer added a second limited edition Carrera to mark the watchmaker’s 160th anniversary and it takes this winning spot this year. A Silver Dial Limited Edition was unveiled at LVMH Watch Week in January, and has now been joined by a Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition. The name Montreal was given to a collection of Heuer automatic chronographs launched in 1972 and is back for 2020 on the dial of a 39mm chronograph made in a limited run of just 1,000.

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Montreal brought a splash of colour to the typically monochrome world of racing timekeepers with yellow, blue, red, white and black used across the dial, and this year’s reboot uses the same colour palette for the circular-cased watch with its matte white face with three blue sub dials. Its manufacture Calibre 02 automatic chronograph movement, visible through a commemorative case back, has power reserve of 80 hours.

WATCHES OF THE YEAR: RACY CHRONOGRPAHS

Michel Herbelin
Newport Regatta Carbon Chronograph
$3,528

Michel Herbelin made a statement this year with an oversized forged carbon and DLC coated chronograph in support of its ambassador Aurélien Ducroz, a French adventurer, sailor and double world champion in freeride skiing. The Newport Regatta Carbon Chronograph is made in a limited series of 300 numbered pieces worldwide.

Carbon construction makes the 46.5mm watch light, strong and shock-resistant, making it ideal for extreme sports. As well as a chronograph, the watch has a 15-minute regatta countdown function, day and date displays. It is powered by a Sellita 13 ¼ SW501 BV a movement made especially for Michel Herbelin. Water-resistant to 300 meters, this limited edition is worn on a blue Newport rubber strap.

Iron Annie
Bauhaus Chronometer Chronograph
$2,650

The Iron Annie Bauhaus chronometer chronograph, ref. 5020, received the coveted seal of quality in the certification centre for chronometers of the Glashütte observatory. For this, each individual watch must be presented and subjected to a comprehensive, multi-day test. This distinguishes the chronometer test of the Glashütte observatory from other chronometer tests, in which usually only the movement, not the complete watch, is tested for its accuracy.

The watch uses the ETA / Valjoux 7750 movement equipped with a balance made of non-magnetic and temperature-stabilized Glucydur and a balance spring made of Anachron, the highest quality grade of Nivarox. That is a lot of credibility in a sub-£2k watch.

Zenith
Chronomaster Revival Shadow
$8,200

Inspired by a 1970s prototype, Zenith says its Chronomaster Revival Shadow reimagines what could have been, rather than directly reproducing a historical brand timepiece. The Shadow is housed in a 37mm case, a faithful reproduction of the very first watch fitted with the El Primero, the A384. But instead of the traditional choice of stainless steel with a superficial layer of black coating, Zenith has opted for micro-blasted titanium.

Unlike the prototype from 1970, which had a manual-winding chronograph movement, the Chronomaster Revival Shadow features the most prolific automatic chronograph ever made, the El Primero, visible through the display back. The hands and applied markers are filled with white SuperLuminova that emits a bright green glow in the dark and the black rubber strap with a cordura-effect features a touch of white on the stitching, fixed to a micro-blasted titanium pin buckle that matches the stealthy finish of the case.

Audemars Piguet
Code 11.59 Self-winding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph
CHF 240,000

Audemars Piguet combined a flying tourbillon and flyback chronograph in the same watch for the first time in a fresh Code 11.59 launching this year. A limited edition of 50 pieces uses the automatic manufacture movement 2952, a skeletonized caliber with a rhodium-toned 22ct pink gold oscillating weight.

AP’s Code 11.59 Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph comes in a 41mm 18ct white gold case with front and back glare-proof sapphire crystal. It is waterproof to 30 meters while its open-worked dial with blued 18ct white gold hands is framed by a blue inner bezel.
This launch, worn on a blue crocodile leather strap, builds on around seventeen years of tourbillon chronographs from AP after the first was released in 2003. That Royal Oak Chronograph was the first and now the combination is increasingly used across AP’s collections.

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