Today, we take a look at five of the most prestigious manually wound traditional chronographs currently on the market. Their names should come as no surprise: Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Breguet, A. Lange & Sohne and F.P. Journe. They are amongst the watchmaking elite, with prices ranging from $50,200 up to $87,100, each clearly designed for the high level connoisseur. Let’s take a look at how they compare:
The Patrimony Traditionelle Chronograph was first launched in 2009, but its aged very well over the years. It’s one of the larger watches in this list, coming in a 42mm by 10.6mm white gold case. Inside, the Vacheron houses the caliber 1141, which comes from the Lemania caliber 2320. It beats at 2.5Hz, consists of 164 parts (21 jewels), and has a power reserve of 48-hours. The chronograph features a column-wheel with vertical clutch for smooth judder free operation. While they share similarities in their design, the Vacheron Constantin is slightly larger than the Patek Philippe, by 3mm, meaning it wears differently. Those in the market for a high-end chronograph should consider both watches, but try them on first. The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionelle Chronograph is priced at $58,700. For more, please visit the official Vacheron Constantin website.
The Patek Philippe Chronograph 5170G-001 was introduced in 2010 as a replacement to the brand’s ref. 5070, and featured a new in-house chronograph. Three years later, the brand launched the model in white gold with a silvery white dial with gold applied Breguet-style numerals. The watch comes in a sleek 39mm case that is the perfect size for this type of watch. The Patek Philippe caliber CH 29-535 PS features a column-wheel and vertical clutch for smooth operation. The modern movement has 269 parts (33 of which are jewels). It beats at 4Hz and has a 65-hour power reserve. Its legacy, in-house caliber, and exquisite finishing justify the extra expense of this chronograph. The Patek Philippe Chronograph 5170G-001 is priced at $87,100. For more, please visit the official Patek Philippe website.
The Breguet Classique Chronograph reference 5287 comes in a 42.5mm white gold case and is powered by caliber 533.3, which is a Lemanina based chronograph movement with column-wheel and vertical clutch. Breguet bought Lemanina in 1992, and so their watches are naturally going to be powered by the same movements. It beats at 3Hz, has 24 jewels, and a power reserve of 48-hours. The dial features numerous classic Breguet features, including Breguet hands, and guilloche-work. The Breguet Classique Chronograph 5287 is priced at $50,200. For more, please visit the official Breguet website.
The Centigraphe Souverain’s design stands in contrast to the rest of the watches on this list. It has a sportier, and more contemporary look, which is fitting, considering it’s also a contemporary brand, still run by its original founder, François-Paul Journe. The design of the Centigraphe Souverain is nothing like the previous chronographs in this list. The brand blends contemporary lines with traditional watchmaking. Inside the Centigraphe Souverain is an in-house caliber 1506, made as Mr. Journe envisioned, in 18K gold. It presents the biggest power reserve of the group at 80-hours. Although its design is the most polarizing of the group, the fact this watch is made by one of the greatest living watchmakers, with a gold movement made in-house, should be reason enough to check it out. The F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain is priced at $57,870. For more, please visit the official F.P. Journe website.
The 1815 Chronograph is the only watch is this list that is made in Germany. Made from untreated German nickel, the plates have a different look than the typical Swiss movement. The 1815 Chronograph is presented in a 39.5mm by 10.8mm case, which is slightly smaller and more wearable than the brand’s Datograph, which features a variation of the Chronograph’s movement. It is hard to fault the caliber L951.5, which consists of 306 parts, and 4 screwed gold chatons. And while it doesn’t feature the brand’s patented date function (non of the watches in this comparison feature a date), it does have something the others do not: a flyback function. It’s because of additions like this that A. Lange & Sohne is one of the most sought after German watch brands, and is able to compete directly with the top Swiss watch houses. The A. Lange & Sohne 1815 Chronograph is priced at $51,500. For more, please visit the official A. Lange & Sohne website.