5 Cool Finds – 5 Robust and Bold Sports Luxury Chronographs to consider
To follow with last week’s article, we continue our 5 Cool Finds selections, still with our trustful partner Chronext. We already explained to you all about this London-based online marketplace for buying, selling, and servicing of luxury watches – and here, online goes together with the same security and service as any high-end boutique. What about the “5 Cool Finds”? Simple: 5 watches, not new, not vintage, most of the time young-timers (that we believe are the new trend) that we selected for you. Today, we go for something highly masculine: a selection of 5 cool, luxurious and robust sports chronographs that will definitely look great on the beach, on a boat, on a racing track or for your most active passions.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore certainly is the best definition of a robust luxury chronograph
This week’s 5 Cool Finds selection is simple: elegance and refinement are not the rule. What we want here is sports, robustness, function – but this doesn’t mean we can’t look for luxury and nice mechanics. We’ve been choosing 5 watches that are known to be extremely reliable, super-solid, watches that can be used and abused for what they’ve been created for: sports – but with style and passion for horology. Here are 5 highly masculine and large chronographs from high-end brands and with in-house movements.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Bumble Bee
In 1972, Audemars Piguet defined a new concept in watchmaking: the sports luxury watch, with the Gerald Genta-designed Royal Oak. It was a watch made to be worn as a sports watch, made in steel, however with all the luxurious appeal of the old Maison and a superb ultra-thin movement. Robust case, refined dial, sumptuous mechanics. An icon was born. 21 years later, this watch gave birth to a new concept, an even sportier, still luxurious watch; the Royal Oak Offshore. With its 43mm case, a chronograph movement and a combination of lightweight and robust material, this watch created the idea of the sports luxury chronograph, with an extremely bold design. As a precursor of the large and highly masculine watches trend, it was impossible for us not to feature at least one Royal Oak Offshore in this selection.
The one we’ve selected sums up everything a Royal Oak Offshore should be (and this, much before brands like Hublot entered the game): bold design, bold colors, bold materials and still the AP spirit behind. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph we have today is nicknamed “Bumble Bee”, a reference or to nature or to the Transformers movie, due to the combination of a black case / bezel / strap / dial, with numerous bright yellow accent. Of course, don’t expect here the subtlety of the original 1972 Royal Oak, however one can’t denied the appeal of this watch – and that’s what we were looking for today. The 42mm case is made in forged carbon; the iconic octagonal bezel with 8 gold screws is in black ceramic, as well as the first links of the black rubber strap. The crown and pushers are rubber coated. This fusion of materials just rocks in the case of this watch, for a both durable and light feel on the wrist. The Mega-Tapisserie dial is black, with white gold hand and indexes. Numerals, second hand and tachymeter track are in striking yellow.
Behind the dial is AP’s calibre 3126 / 3840, an automatic modular chronograph manufactured in-house, with luxurious finishings (unfortunately not visible from the caseback). Still, you’ll know that this extremely masculine watch, both because of the colors / material and the overall look, is made with the usual extreme care of AP, and powered by a high-end movement. This is the kind of combination that we love here. The present example is from 2010, with original box and papers. The original “Hornback” black alligator strap with yellow double stitching is also included. Price is 18.450 Euros, a hefty price for sure, but don’t forget that you look at an icon. Listed here.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Ltd. “Juan Pablo Montoya”
After the “Bumble Bee” edition, here is another hot version of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore, a limited one for famous pilot Juan Pablo Montoya. While the first was bold mainly for the colors used, this one plays on the proportions and shapes, as it remains relatively discreet in terms of dial color and material. However, the case is all about robustness and race-inspiration. Beware, this watch is big, remarkable and clearly not meant to be hidden under a cuff. However, once you’ll assume it, it simply rocks. Considering the partnership linked to this watch, Audemars decided it would be relevant to make the watch from the same materials used in Formula 1 cars, and the watch is crafted mostly from titanium and carbon fiber. The massive case measures 44mm in diameter, 15mm in thickness …and thanks to the titanium and carbon fiber, it remains a very light watch despite its massive size.
Even if close to the iconic look of the Royal Oak, this Montoya edition shows interesting differences. For instance, the bezel, with screws that are inserted in recessed areas, or chronograph pushers on top of the protection device. The bezel is titanium with carbon fiber exposed. The dial is quite subtle, despite this bold design, with white background and black indications. However, if you pay attention, you’ll remark the specific pattern in the middle, shaped like a flag, also completely different from the usual Tapisserie guilloché. This watch is equipped with AP’s calibre 2226, an automatic chronograph, in-house produced, this time visible from the back of the watch. The present example comes with original box and papers, as well as the racing-inspired leather strap. Price is 28.900 Euros, reasonable considering the almost new condition, the market and the new retail price (around 40,000 Euros). Listed here.
Girard Perregaux Laureato Chronograph in rose gold
In this episode of the 5 Cool Finds, we look at bold, sporty, robust chronograph. However, they have to be real luxury watches. And for that, Girard-Perregaux is a brand to highly consider, an old Maison with strong historical background, proper watchmaking skills and desirable designs. However, you might have the vision of a small and elegant dress watch when mentioning GP. Don’t forget the strong and robust Laureato though. The Laureato refers to a watch launched in 1975 by GP, after AP but before PP and all the others entered the market of luxury sports watches. GP can be seen as one of the pioneers in this context and that gives a strong legitimacy to the watch we have today, a large chronograph with luxurious appeal: the Laureato EVO 3.
The Girard-Perregaux Laureato we have for you here has everything the other watches of this kind have: a strong case, mixing round and geometric shapes, a large diameter, a necessary boldness, a mix of materials, and then again, the beauty of mechanics and an in-house produced movement. This Laureato Chronograph measures 44mm, with a shaped case, on top of which an octagonal bezel is affixed (see here a reference to the 1975 model and not to a certain AP). No screws, a rubber insert between the case and the bezel, a rubber strap, a brushed central container but here an elegant material: rose gold. Why not… A sports watch can also be gold and luxurious! Inside the case is an automatic chronograph based on the GP3300 with a chronograph and date-by-hand module on top (movement visible from the back). Just like you expect, this watch is solid, bold, visible on the wrist, waterproof and reliable. A proper sports luxury chronograph in gold, from a “grande maison”, for a reasonable price: 11.420 Euros (original box, papers, rubber and leather straps). Listed here.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Chrono GMT Navy SEALs
Again another brand that you expect to see more in the dress-watch or grand-complications markets: Jaeger-LeCoultre. No Master Ultra-Thin, Reverso or Hybris-Mechanica today. Instead, we have again a strong (to say the least) luxury chronograph, again with large diameter, fusion of several materials and in-house movement (and a quite complex one). The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Chrono GMT Navy SEALs is part of a collection of watches that Jaeger wanted to be as reliable and functional as possible. Thus, the watch we have today is a highly interesting combination of luxury, diving-capacities, GMT display and chronograph. So-to-say, the perfect all-rounder. This watch could follow you everywhere, and for almost all activities (diving, racing, hill climbing, trekking, or simply traveling) but always in style.
With its 46mm case in grade 5 titanium and its ceramic bezel, this JLC is ready for all types of adventures. It is water resistant to 1000m (yes, 1km…), which is just enormous for a chronograph – thanks to screwed pushers and crown, with rubber inserts, for a better prehension. The bracelet is rubber, but not a traditional band. Here you’ll have a traditional link construction, allowing for the comfort of rubber with the flexibility of a metallic bracelet. The black and white dial is extremely legible and indicates a second time zone and the power reserve. It is powered by a manufacture movement, with 65h of power reserve, a column-wheel and a 4Hz frequency. This watch was a limited edition of 1,500 Pieces and is now offered for a reasonable price, considering all you could do with it: 7,990 Euros (box, papers). Listed here.
Jaeger-LeCoultre AMVOX2 Chronograph Limited
To end up with this week’s 5 Cool Finds, we have a watch with a bit more elegance, even more focussed on the horological side, but still a functional, robust and bold timepiece, of course with chronograph feature – but not your usual chronograph. This watch is part of the AMVOX / Aston-Martin based collection – you can see the subsidiary dial for seconds with winged Aston Martin logo at 6. Made in 499 Examples in 2009, this watch is rare, and not only because of the low productions numbers but also because of the way the chronograph is activated. Indeed, as you can see, there are no pushers… Strange. So how to start the chronograph function? By pushing the sapphire crystal at 12 (start/stop) or 6 (reset). It is in fact the only automatic vertical trigger chronograph wristwatch. And that alone makes this watch collectible.
For the rest, the 44mm Jaeger-LeCoultre AMVOX2 Chronograph Limited is a extremely desirable watch, with steel case, partially skeletonized dial – where some of the chronograph mechanisms are visible – and with wandering registers (again not a usual display) for the 30-minute counter at 3 and the 12 hour counter at 9 – here, the discs are rotating, not the hands. A trigger in the caseband at 9 allows to lock the chronograph function. The movement is automatic and manufatured by Jaeger. This Jaeger-LeCoultre AMVOX2 is a great opportunity to have a watch with a unique feature on the market, which also happened to be highly limited and well designed. Price is 9,490 Euros (box and papers included). Listed here.
For more watches for sale, keep an eye on Chronext. Everyday, some new items are listed and offered with great security. For more details – and the possibility to win a 2016 Rolex Explorer – please look here.
I have to say thank you for this article. There are some very interesting pieces that I’d never heard about in this article. Keep them coming. Great Work! Thanks.
Love the BumbleBee !