Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches
Buying Guide

Six High-End Manual Wound Chronographs

Powering a watch by winding it yourself provides a wonderful immersive feeling.

| By Robin Nooy | 7 min read |
A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Platinum Limited Edition

The chronograph remains one of the most beloved complications in the watchmaking world, and it can be found in anything from relatively affordable to ultra-high-end. You can divide them into two groups basically, with automatic chronographs on one end and manual wound ones on the other end. Within either of the two sub-families, you can find a whole range of very desirable chronographs at various levels of complexity. In today’s Buying Guide we’re taking a closer look at chronographs that offer that delightfully immersive sensation of manual winding a watch, and do so at the highest levels of mechanical watchmaking.

A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante

The chronograph has always been a very important complication in A. Lange & Söhne’s portfolio and has broken new ground with watches like the incredibly complex Double Split and Triple Split. Another fine example of the brand’s chronograph watchmaking capabilities is the 1815 Rattrapante in platinum. Perhaps a little less complex in execution, it never fails to impress. The 41.2mm by 12.6mm platinum case houses a beautifully balanced dial, and of course that impeccably finished Calibre L101.2. And being a rattrapante, you can split the chronograph seconds to time two individual events if needed! The finishing is beyond comparison, as always. A boutique exclusive limited to 200 pieces, its price is upon request.

A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Platinum Limited Edition

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Quick Facts – 41.2mm x 12.6mm – 950 platinum case, brushed and polished – sapphire crystal front and back – 30m water-resistant – solid silver dial, argenté finish – black printed numerals and scales – blue steel hands – Calibre L101.2, in-house integrated split-seconds chronograph – 365 parts – 21,600vph – 58h power reserve – hand-finished – hours, minutes, small seconds and rattrapante chronograph with 30-minute counter – black alligator leather strap – boutique exclusive, limited to 200 pieces – price upon reguest

F.P. Journe Linesport Chronographe monopoussoir rattrapante

The Linesport Chronographe Monopoussoir Rattrapante is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you mention F.P. Journe. It has a very distinct appeal, primarily due to the frosted finish of the case and bracelet, and the exposed gaskets. The ruthenium-plated silver dial is typical Journe, with guilloché in the middle, very legible subdials, applied numerals and signature hands. The split-seconds function is indicated with overlapping ivory and red gold hands. The pusher at 2′ starts, stops and resets the regular chronograph, with the pusher at 4′ activating the split-seconds. The movement is finished with red gold bridges and plates, and the frosted theme continues on the bracelet. It retails for USD 95,600.

F.P. Journe LineSport Chronographe Monopoussoir Rattrapante Red Gold

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Quick Facts – 44mm x 12.10mm – red gold case, frosted and polished – exposed rubber gaskets – sapphire crystal front and back – ruthenium-plated silver dial – guilloché decoration – applied numerals – silver subcounters – gold hour and minute hand – ivory and gold split-seconds hands – big date – Calibre 1518, manual-wound column wheel chronograph – 18k red gold bridges and plates – 21,600vph – in-line lever escapement – oscillating pinion – 80h power reserve – hammered red gold bracelet – USD 82,200

MB&F legacy Sequential evo

Perhaps the chronograph to outdo all other chronographs, the MB&F Legacy Sequential EVO is in a whole different league. The cleverly constructed movement, developed by Stephen McDonnell, has multiple modes to time events. At the push of a button, you can run both chronograph modules independently or simultaneously. You can also use it in cumulative mode, or as a lap timer. No less than five pushers and a crown grace the caseband, with the Twinverter at 9′ controlling both chronograph systems. The entire mechanical side of things is completely exposed, in typical MB&F style. It comes with either a black or orange back plate and is worn on a black or white rubber strap. The award-winning Legacy Sequential EVO costs EUR 160,000.

MB&F Legacy Sequential EVO Chronograph Split Seconds Lap Timer Stephen McDonnell

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Quick Facts – 44mm – zirconium case – skeleton dial with black or orange plate – in-house movement conceived by Stephen McDonnell for MB&F, hand-wound integrated dual chronograph with two column wheels and Twinverter switch – independent mode, simultaneous mode, cumulative mode, sequential mode (lap-timer) – black or white rubber strap – CHF 160,000

Jacob & Co Jean Bugatti

Jacob & Co is primarily known for its extravagant over-the-top watchmaking, yet the Jean Bugatti is a completely different beast. It puts the running time on the back seat, as the dial is dominated by the retrograde indications for the chronograph. The outer scale is for the single-digit seconds, with the inner one indicating the 10-second segments. When either of the two is at the end, they jump back to zero again. A window between the two flying tourbillon escapements shows you the jumping minutes. An additional balance wheel found on the very complex backside of the movement regulates the chronograph complication. At USD 250,000 it’s priced just as hefty as the 46mm red or white gold case suggests.

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

Patek Philippe 5172G Salmon Dial

The Patek Philippe 5172G has always been one of our favourite chronographs around, but when the Maison launched it with this beautiful salmon dial it became even better. The extremely stylish watch has a gorgeous white gold case with stepped lugs and very classical pump-style pushers. The dial is finished with applied hour markers and syringe-style hands with a black outline. The chronograph subdials are pushed down every so slightly, which is a very lovely touch. Around the back, you have a full view of the intricate construction of the manual wound chronograph movement, finished to perfection. At CHF 68,000 it is very pricey, but it’s actually the most affordable on this list. Or should we say least expensive?

Patek Philippe Chronograph 5172G Salmon Dial

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Quick Facts – 41mm x 11.45mm – 18k white gold case, polished – sapphire crystal top (box-type) and caseback – 30m water-resistant – salmon-pink varnished dial – white gold applied numerals – tachymeter scale – white gold fine-tipped baton hands – bi-register chronograph subdials – calibre CH 29-535 PS, in-house – manually wound chronograph movement – 270 components – 28,800vph – 33 jewels – 65h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds and chronograph with instantaneous minutes – Patek Philippe Seal – brown alligator leather strap with gold fold-over clasp – CHF 68,000

Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321 Canopus Gold

When Omega released the Speedmaster Calibre 321 Canopus Gold last year, we labelled it the greatest hits model of the Speedmaster range. It combined all the best attributes of the legendary chronograph into a single watch. It’s shaped like a vintage CK2915 for the most part and comes on the historically significant flat-link bracelet, it does use modern materials such as sapphire crystal and of course, Canopus gold. But the absolute best part is the recreated Calibre 321 movement seen through the caseback. This classical column-wheel and horizontal clutch chronograph was used in all of the early Speedmasters, from 1957 to circa 1968. The Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321 Canopus Gold costs a very steep EUR 95,500

Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321 Canopus Gold review

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Quick Facts – 38.6mm x 13.9mm – 19k Canopus gold case, brushed and polished – domed sapphire crystal with sapphire crystal caseback – fixed Canopus gold tachymeter bezel – 60m water-resistant – black onyx stepped dial with 18k gold indies and Broad-Arrow hands – Omega Calibre 321 (in-house, historic reproduction) – manual wound column-wheel and horizontal clutch chronograph – 18,000vph – 55h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph with 12h and 30min counters – Canopos gold flat-link bracelet – EUR 95,500

8 responses

  1. I love manual wound watches. Never saw the added value of an automatic once you have more than one.
    These are, of course, wonderful. Even the more low end manual wound integrated chronos used to be wonderful movements, pity there’s not many of them left.

  2. That the Speedy costs more than the Journe is absurd. I actually like it, too.

  3. I wind my automatic from time to time… never seems to do much for me. Do I need to drink or take a pill first ? Missing something !

  4. The manually wound it’s yesterday, you live for watch, not watch help you to live your life, pay about 100 t and never be sure that time is right …

  5. Journe for the weekdays and Sequential Evo for the weekends!

  6. if there were a couple of misses on this list, it would be the Vacheron Split second (fair enough, it’s automatic with the peripheral rotor..) and the Gronegraaph.

  7. I’ve only owned 3 hand swiss automatics only as a status symbol. For practical time keeping I use my Iphone for count down timing, stop watch, alarm etc.
    Honestly, a complex Swiss lux chrono is no more useful as an old fashioned turntable, LP as a source of listening to recorded music.
    These items really have little practical use; questionable accuracy, utility, expensive to maintain. No more than a object to make a statement.


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