Summer Rewind: Our Five Favorite Chronographs Of 2020
Four brands and a retailer offer their take on this classic complication.
Even as 2020 drags on for the world at large, watch brands continue to power through the unique challenges of our day. Despite economic concerns, a health crisis, and the absence of international fairs like Baselworld and Watches & Wonders Geneva, the show must go on.
To date, brands of all stripes (and even a famed retailer in this case) continue to push the envelope on what, we suspect, is the most widely loved complication. So today, we are highlighting five chronographs that run the gamut from vintage-inspired to eye-catching, cool and contemporary, and more.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at our five favorite chronographs of 2020, so far.
Jacob & Co. Epic X Chrono Sky Blue
The famed jeweler turned horological heavyweight, Jacob Arabo, the eponymous founder of Jacob & Co., brings the bling with this exclusive chronograph dressed in titanium and rose gold. The 47mm wide watch is relatively subdued. At least in comparison to the brand’s over-the-top, diamond-encrusted “Billionaire” pieces and its rotating mechanical marvels like the Opera Scarface (HERE).
With a healthy 48-hour power reserve and water resistance of 200m, this is a watch that would rather see the action of daily wear than sit at home in a safe.
In keeping with the brand’s penchant for exclusivity, the piece debuted at Watches of Switzerland and MAYORS boutiques with a limited run of 180 pieces and a price tag of nearly $50,000.
TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Silver Limited Edition
TAG Heuer celebrated 160 years in the business with a killer revival of the Carrera Chronograph. Released during LVMH Watch Week in January, this new Silver Limited Edition carries the same clean-as-can-be aesthetic as the mid-century racing watches of six decades ago. Only now it sports a more modern 39mm case size and an in-house movement. Watchonista’s US Managing Editor and resident racing fanatic, Josh Shanks, went hands-on with this legend reborn.
IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph Boutique Edition
In many cases, IWC’s Portugieser takes the form of a relatively simple time-only watch. This is not one of those cases.
April 2020 saw the release of the special boutique edition Portugieser with a one-minute flying tourbillon, flyback chronograph, and retrograde date, all wrapped up in either platinum or rose gold. This 43.5mm timepiece, limited to 50 pieces for each version, balances complexity with legibility and includes an extra dose of elegance.
As an added bonus, Watchonista’s review of this piece was written by our own Portuguesa, Viviana Shanks.
WEMPE Iron Walker Automatic Chronograph
Integrated bracelets, stainless steel cases, German calibers, and dials in blue and black. WEMPE’s new Iron Walker Automatic Chronograph hits all the right notes at a price of less than $5k.
For those of you who might not have heard of WEMPE, the Glashütte-based retailer and watchmaker has long served as the destination for horological pickups, as Sylvester Stallone has long known (HERE). It even got a mention in the recent blockbuster, Uncut Gems. The new chronograph features a 42mm case and a 54-hour power reserve with style and sportiness to boot.
Zenith DEFY 21 Ultraviolet
Now for something a little different. The June release of this chronograph by Zenith broke all the color codes with an eye-catching ode to purple. The DEFY 21 Ultraviolet brings the same technicality we’ve come to expect from the brand’s high-frequency, skeletonized chronographs and washes it in a shade once reserved for royalty.
The watch features a 44mm titanium case with a matte, sandblasted finish and a dial accented with shades of white and gray. These touches help balance out what is otherwise a proudly vibrant timepiece. Watchonista’s Editor-At-Large, Rhonda Riche, gets the inside scoop on this purple powerhouse.