Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

The Best Chronograph Watches of 2023

Looking back at a fruitful year, the MONOCHROME editorial team selects its favourite chronograph watches of 2023.

| By Brice Goulard | 5 min read |

The end of the year is near, so it’s time for the MONOCHROME team to sit down and look back at everything that happened during what was objectively a rich year for new models… There was a lot, with so many new watches launched in all categories and all price ranges. Today, we kick off a series of buying guides representing our selection of what we think are the best watches in each category, starting with one of our all-time favourite functions and probably one that so many watch enthusiasts appreciate: the chronograph. From classic to innovative, vintage or ultra-modern… According to the MONOCHROME team, here are the Best Chronograph Watches of 2023.

We have compiled over 250 articles under the “chronograph” tag this year. Narrowing down this selection to a handful of models wasn’t easy, believe me. Some will be missed, but the process involved a team vote, and we had to make some concessions. And the result is these five watches… Objectively and historically, all highly important models in the field of chronographs.

A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph

While the classic Odysseus already made a strong impression on us, the chronograph version feels like an equally important model. Despite being a highly limited and (obviously) costly edition – 100 pieces,  EUR 135K -, it is a notable model for its movement. Its calibre L156.1 Datomatic is indeed the first-ever automatic chronograph of the brand, quite something when you know Lange’s background in the chronograph field. And as you’d expect, it comes with a long list of features and tricks under the hood. The watch itself feels surprisingly “non-chronograph” at first sight – maybe for the best, in order to respect the design of the original Odysseus – thanks to a clever display and beautiful integration of the pushers. The Odysseus Chronograph is truly an impressive watch.

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A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph

For more details about the Odysseus Chronograph, please consult our hands-on article here.

Audemars Piguet ROO Beast Black Ceramic

If the title of the most emblematic watch at AP easily goes to the Royal Oak Jumbo of 1972, the original Royal Oak Offshore of 1993, a watch nicknamed the Beast, gets a very honourable second prize. Originally presented in steel and recently re-issued with only minor design evolutions, this year marked the release of an absolute stunner: the Royal Oak Offshore “Beast” in Black Ceramic. If the watch remains technically and spec-wise identical to its metallic counterparts, the evolution to a ceramic case gives it a powerful appeal, exclusivity and comfort. A watch that combines superlatives.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Black Ceramic Beast 26238CE

For more details about the Royal Oak Offshore Beast in Black Ceramic, please consult our hands-on article here.

Omega Speedmaster Super Racing with Spirate System

The inclusion of this watch in our list isn’t so much about the Speedmaster or its cool, sporty design but more about what lies under the hood. Omega has long been known as one of the most innovative watchmaking companies, specifically in this “mainstream” field. Following the co-axial escapement and the Master Chronometer certification, Omega pushes the envelope even further with the Spirate system, first seen in this Speedmaster Super Racing (and destined to be used in far more collections soon). What is the Spirate system? A brand new spiral and fine-tuning architecture developed for the sake of precision, an accuracy between +0 and +2 seconds/day and the ability to fine-tune the rate of the movement in steps of 0.1 seconds/day in an extremely simple and time-saving way. It’s a new step in the brand’s dedication to upper-class precision and reliability.

Omega Speedmaster Super Racing Spirate System

For more details about the Speedmaster Super Racing and the Spirate System, please consult our hands-on article here.

Rolex Daytona

One of the most emblematic chronograph watches on the market underwent an update this year… The new Rolex Daytona is here, and many things have changed, even though you’ll have a hard time seeing it. In typical Rolex fashion, we’re talking about gradual evolutions rather than a revolution. The design has been refined ever so slightly, with a ring around the ceramic bezel and thinner dial elements (markers and sub-dial rings). Looking closer, the whole case is different, and the movement has changed to become calibre 4131, which includes the Chronergy escapement and a brand new decoration – which remain invisible on these steel editions but, for the first time, can be seen through a transparent back on the platinum version and the highly coveted Paul Newman-inspired 126529LN. All in all, no major changes, which means that this collection will remain one of the most sought-after on the market.

For more details about the updated Cosmograph Daytona, please consult our review article here.

TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox Chronograph

Again, one of the most important watches in the chronograph category, the TAG Heuer Carrera, has seen new versions released this year. We could have talked about the cool Panda 60th Anniversary, but it’s the new Glassbox version that got the most attention. A mix of modern and vintage references, this new version is compact and comes with a rather unique design, built around an ultra-domed sapphire crystal and the absence of a bezel. The result is brilliant, specifically in this reversed panda edition (the blue version isn’t bad either). The Carrera Glassbox also introduced a new calibre TH20-00, an updated Heuer 02 movement, revised with reliability and efficiency in mind. The Carrera Skipper, based on the same architecture, is also an appealing option.

TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox video review

For more details about the Carrera Glassbox Chronograph, please consult our review article here.

7 responses

  1. I wish the entire Monochrome team a merry Christmas! Otherwise, I like your choice of chronographs! 🙂

  2. Thank you very much for the wishes, and the same goes out to you of course! Glad you like our selection!

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