Speed Kings: 4 Of The Best Racing Chronographs

Speed Kings: 4 Of The Best Racing Chronographs

Adrienne Faurote
By Adrienne Faurote June 15, 2017

Like space travel, deep sea diving, and high altitude adventures, the world of watches will always tie itself in with motorsports. It’s a connection that has endured for decades and as long as we have a desire to go faster, we’ll keep seeing these amazing timekeeping instruments emerge for years to come. Today, watch brands continue to fuel this connection while tapping into their archives to develop new releases for hungry watch collectors and racing enthusiasts. Naturally, a good chronograph can’t be beat for a day on the race track. So, let’s look at a few of the coolest models in recent history, both old and new.

Heuer Autavia Jo Siffert

Heuer Autavia

While watches like the Monaco and the Carrera usually take the spotlight when digging into Heuer’s history, there’s no denying that the Autavia family has seen a recent spike in attention. Tag Heuer’s latest 2017 reissue is a pretty big indicator of that. The one pictured above, however, is pretty special. It’s the Heuer Autavia “Jo Siffert” edition, and a watch that truly represents why Heuer usually comes in first place when discussing vintage watches and racing. This beautiful example can almost be seen as the “Paul Newman Daytona” of the Heuer world and stands as a very important part of the brand’s history.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher New Watch side

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher

At the other side of the spectrum, we have a watch that was released just a few years ago – the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher. Pioneered by none other than Giulio Papi, the watch features an interesting take on traditional split-seconds and flyback chronograph designs. Essentially, the watch allows you to stop one of the independent chronograph hands to “record” a lap time while starting another and keeping the first as a reference. Bring it all together with one of the biggest names in motorsports history, and you have a watch that’s worthy of the breakneck speeds it was designed for.

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Omega Speedmaster

Yep, you read that right – the Omega Speedmaster. Though the watch will never rid itself of its Apollo mission connections, there’s no escaping the fact that it was originally designed as a driver’s watch. The model pictured above is a Mark II variant, but it still possesses many of the high-contrast traits that made it great for the race track. So whether it’s timing laps at the speedway or rocket-fueled lunar slingshot maneuvers, the Speedmaster prevails as one of the most historic high-speed timekeepers ever.

Rolex Daytona Paul Newman Reference 6263 With RCO Dial

Rolex Daytona

No list of this kind would be complete without the Rolex Daytona, especially the ref. 6263 pictured above. It’s tie to Paul Newman is significant, appropriate, and immortal in every way. This is about as good as it gets for a racing watch and the Daytona’s cult following is no joke. As a capable, durable, and exclusive timepiece, it’s no wonder that Daytona still reigns as king in the arena of motorsport timepieces.