Monochrome Watches
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Buying Guide

Six Racing-Inspired Chronographs For Petrolheads

Born out of a love for cars and racing, these watches will not look out of place on any race track.

| By Robin Nooy | 6 min read |
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary Edition Panda Dial

There’s no denying that “Boys and their Toys” is still pretty much a thing in today’s society. It’s also a given fact that watches, cars, and especially the combination of the two, still very much works. There’s of course a long-standing relationship between the automotive industry and watchmaking, whether it’s mechanical, quartz or fully digital. This originates from the necessity of precision timekeeping in racing. Nowadays, it’s more about getting that racing feel on the wrist as more mechanical chronographs are used to boil an egg instead of timing a race. Nevertheless, these six race-ready chronograph watches perfectly demonstrate the symbiosis between cars and watches!

Tissot PRS 516 Chronograph

Tissot is one of those brands that regularly showcases its ability to create good designs with serious mechanical watchmaking at a decent price. A perfect example of this, and one that suits today’s topic of choice, is the PRS 516 Chronograph. Originally introduced in 1965 in a cushion-shaped case, it is now a round and bold sports chronograph destined for the race track. At 45mm it’s definitely on the larger side, but overall it fits the style. Available in steel cases with a black ceramic bezel, a blue or black dial and on a leather strap or bracelet. Power comes from the Valjoux 7753-based A05-H31 movement. It’s priced at just under EUR 2,000.

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Quick Facts – 45mm x 16.3mm – stainless steel case – fixed ceramic tachymeter bezel – sapphire crystal front and back – 100m water-resistant – black or sunray-brushed blue dial – white numerals and hands – black subcounters – red chronograph hands – Valjoux A05-H31 (7753-based) – automatic cam/lever chronograph – 28,800vph – 60h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph – black leather strap or steel bracelet – EUR 1,925 (leather) or EUR 1,995 (bracelet)

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary Edition Panda

Such a selection wouldn’t be complete without a TAG Heuer. The brand is renowned for its racing-inspired chronographs, such as the Monza but even more so the Monaco and the Carrera. Celebrating the Carrera Chronograph’s 60th anniversary this year, a new and very handsome limited edition has been presented, modelled after the reference 2447SN from the late 1960s. It’s very close to the original but comes with the very modern Calibre Heuer 02 automatic integrated column-wheel chronograph movement. Presented on a perforated black leather strap, it definitely looks the part! It’s limited to 600 pieces at a price of EUR 6,600.

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary Edition Panda Dial

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Quick Facts – 39mm x 14.55mm – stainless steel case, polished – fixed bezel – sapphire crystal front and back – pump-style pushers – 100m water-resistant – silver sunray-brushed dial – black chronograph counters – indices and hands with beige Super-LumiNova – black lacquered central chronograph seconds hand – Calibre Heuer 02, in-house – automatic integrated chronograph with column wheel & vertical clutch – 28,800vph – 80h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph – black calfskin leather strap with folding buckle – limited to 600 pieces – CHF 6,600

Jacob & Co Jean Bugatti Chronograph

With the innovative Jean Bugatti Chronograph, extravagant independent watchmaker Jacob & Co has entered the rare category of ultra-high-end chronographs. It positions the running time on the backseat, as the central hands indicate the chronograph’s retrograde and jumping minutes and seconds. The movement has two 3Hz tourbillon escapements and one 5Hz regulator for the chronograph. Housed in a 46mm white or rose gold case with either a blue or cream-coloured dial, the style is a far cry from what Jacob & Co is primarily known for. At USD 250,000 each, it certainly is Jacob & Co expensive though.

Jacob & Co. Jean Bugatti Chronograph Double Tourbillo

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Quick Facts – 46mm – 18k white or rose gold case – calibre Jacob & Co. JCFM09, hand-wound, two 3Hz tourbillons, 5Hz regulator for the chronograph, 48h power reserve, high-frequency chronograph with central double retrograde seconds and jumping digital minutes indications – leather strap – limited editions of 57 pieces per colourway – USD 250,000

Depancel Allure Chronograph Tangerine Limited edition

French niche watchmaking brand Depancel is a perfect entry to this list, as the brand’s name is derived from French car manufacturers Delage, Panhard and Facel Vega. The company specialises in car-inspired watches with amusing twists here and there. The Allure Chronograph Tangerine L.E. is the latest release, with a deep blue dial and bright orange details and hands. The fixed tachymeter bezel has a ceramic insert, which is a big plus considering its price. Power comes from the tried-and-tested ETA 7753 automatic chronograph movement. Limited to 100 pieces only, it retails for EUR 1,695.

Depancel Serie-A Allure Chronograph Tangerine

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Quick Facts – 43mm x 15mm – stainless steel with fixed ceramic tachymeter bezel – sapphire crystal front and back – 100m water-resistant – dark blue dial with striped pattern – orange details and hands – ETA 7753, automatic – 27 jewels – 28,800vph – 48h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph – H-shape metal bracelet with folding clasp or blue leather strap – limited to 100 pieces – EUR 1,695

Louis Moinet Time To Race Chronograph

With the Time To Race Chronograph, independent watchmaker Louis Moinet offers a unique approach to a racing chronograph. Its signature Memoris monopusher chronograph has been transformed into a series of colourful watches with big roundels just like vintage race cars used to have. Adopting the French, British and Italian national colours, each racing number is unique to the customer. So in short, there will never be two red number 2’s for instance. The exposed mechanics of the automatic LM96 calibre only add to the racing flair. The Louis Moinet Time to Race retails for CHF 30,500.

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Quick Facts – 40.7mm diameter – brushed & polished grade 5 titanium case – single chronograph pusher – box-shaped sapphire crystal – sapphire crystal caseback – openworked dial with large racing number – off-centred hour and minute dial with central chronograph seconds and biregister chronograph counters – Calibre LM96, automatic – 28,800vph – 48h power reserve – blue, red or green rubber strap with folding clasp – bespoke pieces only – CHF 30,500

Baltic Tricompax Chronograph

Baltic has been on a real surge this past couple of years and has skyrocketed in popularity thanks to well-designed and built, friendly-priced watches with a vintage vibe. The Tricompax Chronograph is a big step up for the young company, but as always ticks a lot of very pleasant boxes. We can forgive the Daytona-esque look, as it is just a very handsome package styled after vintage sports- and racing chronographs from the sixties. The Panda or Reverse Panda dials are always a hit, and at 39,5mm in diameter and 13,5mm in height, it has very nice dimensions. Baltic opted for the manual wind Sellita SW510-M, to stay within the theme. At EUR 1,585 on a leather strap, or EUR 1,645 on a flat-link bracelet, it’s a cracking deal really!

Baltic Tricompax Panda and Reverse Panda Chronograph

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Quick Facts – 39,5mm x 13.5mm – stainless steel case – double-domed sapphire crystal – solid caseback – pump-style pushers – 50m water-resistant – light beige or matte black Panda/Reverse Panda dial – applied hour markers – Dauphine hands – Sellita SW510-M manual wound chronograph movement – 23 jewels – 28,800vph – 63h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph – grey leather strap or steel bracelet – EUR 1,585 (strap) or EUR 1,645 (bracelet)

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