Watches have been around since the sixteenth century. Nearly five hundred years later, they are used for far more than to simply count the hours in a day. Numerous watch types and complications exist.
In this article, here at Jack Mason, we will be explaining the importance of chronographs and listing some of the best chronographs we have for men.
What Makes a Chronograph?
The origins of the chronograph lie in the 19th century. The name chronograph comes from the Greek words “Chronos,” the classical personification of time, and “graph,” to write. This name comes from the nature of chronographs as stopwatches and a countdown timer.
Early chronographs were separate from watches and were used to take measurements such as astronomical movements, heart rates, and lap times for horse races on the race track. These were often inconvenient to use, as they relied on ink to take measurements.
Cue a century of development and chronographs would be put in wristwatches starting in 1913. After being famously used to help save the life of astronauts during the near-disastrous Apollo 13 lunar space exploration mission, chronographs began to enjoy mainstream popularity as a wardrobe staple.
A chronograph is defined by the complications it has. The most important complication in a chronograph is the stopwatch, usually activated by a button slightly above the crown. Contemporary chronographs usually have two or three smaller inset faces for measuring seconds and minutes and distinct hands to track elapsed time.
Chronographs also regularly feature tachymeters. Tachymeters help measure the speed at which distance is traveled when distances are measurable.
To find this, the formula is T=3600/t. T is the scale value of the tachymeter, whereas t is the amount of time elapsed. 3600 is derived from the number of seconds in an hour. For example, if the time it takes to travel a mile is 60 seconds, the tachymeter scale will equal 60 miles per hour.
Simply press the button to start the tachymeter, then when the distance traveled is passed, press the button once more. Many watches have movable bezels to allow for any adjustments as needed.
Chronographs, because designation relies on their complications, often have some overlap between other types of sports watches. Chronographs are most commonly integrated into racing or pilots watches, but any type of watch may theoretically include a chronograph.
Whether worn on wrists for practical use or for the unique aesthetics and a distinct look, continue reading below for some of the best Chronographs that Jack Mason has to offer.
The design of the Avigator Multi-Scale Chronograph takes inspiration from some of the original men’s wristwatches of the 1930s. In doing so, Jack Mason creates a watch at once classically iconic and daringly modern.
The caseback is designed with a winged star, surrounded by a shutter-lens pattern that subtly suggests the movement of a plane rotor. These aeronautical symbols together show that the Avigator is a true pilot’s watch, created to allude to the remarkable history of flight.
Beyond aesthetic beauty, the Avigator is at heart a functional watch made for convenience. The sapphire crystal is made from one of the strongest crystal materials behind diamond, and the 316L stainless steel case ensures protection for both the exterior and interior components.
What’s more, the watch is water-resistance tested at 100 meters, allowing an active lifestyle for both the watch and the wearer. The watch also features SuperLuminova markings for ease of reading.
Three Versions of the Avigator
There are three variations of the Avigator available:
The first variation comes with a tan leather band and showcases a dial design with a white dial with black markings. The second, a black dial with a brown leather band, features both white and gold markings. The third variation has a sleek navy dial with white markings. The last of these is notable in that two of the chronographs subdials are pure white, giving an extra splash of color to an already ambitious design.
Additionally, all of these watches are compatible with any Jack Mason 22mm strap.
Highlights: The aeronautical embellishments make this a pilot’s watch to remember. With extensive practical components and a large variety of models to choose from, it is easy to find an Avigator to suit any style.
Taking us from the air to the road, the next watch on this list, the Mirabeau Chronograph, is a high-powered racing watch. On the dial, the tachymeter and two chronograph subdials are featured, with a date window subtly peeking out from the 6 o’clock position.
The designer includes a sculptural caseback alluding to the history of the piece: A steering wheel is marked in the center of the caseback, surrounded by an embossed tire-tread pattern.
The tachymeter and other markers are assisted by SuperLuminova markings, which charge with exposure to light to ensure visibility in darkness.
The Mirabeau Chronograph comes with one of four different dials and sub-dials:
The first, a pure white dial with black lettering and gold hands and indices, comes with a tan leather strap.
The second, a sky blue dial, also features one white subdial and one tri-colored subdial, with a tan leather strap that also holds the unique distinction of having small perforations along its length.
The third dial is white, with black lettering, tachymeter, and indices, and features one black subdial and one tricolor subdial. This dial comes with a matching black perforated strap.
The final dial showcased is a black dial with silver markings and indices. One subdial is white, and the other is tri-colored. This dial comes with one of two bands: A stainless steel bracelet or a perforated black leather strap.
All models of the Mirabeau are protected by a sapphire crystal and powered by a Miyota OS21 movement. Thanks to the quick-release pins found in all Jack Mason watches, all variations of the Mirabeau Chronograph are compatible with any Jack Mason 20mm strap.
Highlights: The elegant design of the Mirabeau Chronograph accentuates the rich history of racing watches. Numerous embellishments improving legibility, accuracy, and durability complement the wide varieties of the watch, allowing for extensive customization.
After traversing land and air, the third watch on this list brings us to the open seas. The Halyard Chronograph combines streamlined, classic design elements with functionality to create an ideal nautical watch.
The watch features a stainless steel case, as well as water-resistance testing up to 100 meters. The sapphire crystal offers additional protection from the elements, and our SuperLuminova markings placed on the hands and indices ensure high legibility on the most moonless of nights. The chronograph also showcases a Miyota OS20 movement.
Visually, the tachymeter seamlessly blends with the rest of the dial while still maintaining legibility. On this caseback, the nature of the Halyard Chronograph is made clear: A anchor surrounded by an embossed wave pattern ensures that the Halyard Chronograph cannot be seen as anything less than an exemplary nautical watch.
Three different variations of the Halyard Chronograph exist. The first model features a sky blue dial and comes included with a tan leather strap, giving a more formal appearance to the sport watch.
The second model features a navy blue dial and a brown leather strap, giving a darker, earthier appearance to the chronograph.
The third variation showcases a pure white dial with black lettering, a subtle red second hand, and a tan leather strap. This eye-catching model is matched by a unique aesthetic component: On the caseback, a large ship wheel, flanked by the watch features, the Jack Mason name, and a knotted rope come together to proudly announce a nautical watch that is individual by design.
Highlights: Visually, the Halyard Chronograph showcases a nautical watch with understated complexity, versatile in both formal and casual settings. Multiple unique caseback designs ensure the wearer can find a model perfectly tailored to them, and various other design elements allow for both durability and legibility.
Halyard Sport Chronograph
Every aspect of the Halyard Sport Chronograph, from the complications and dial to the caseback, is created to declare its nature as a definitive Nautical watch. Even the name Halyard has a nautical origin: “Halyard” refers to a rope used to hoist the sails or flags of a ship.
Each Halyard Sport Chronograph showcases stopwatch and tachymeter functionality. It possesses a large, easily read dial and SuperLuminova markings to ensure legibility. A unidirectional bezel and three subdials further guarantee the functionality of the timepiece.
The chronograph also has a date window inset at the bottom of the 6 o’clock subdial. The caseback, in keeping with the nature of the nautical watch, centers an anchor flanked by laurels and a wave pattern suggesting the open seas.
Two versions of the Halyard Sport Chronograph exist, with radically different aesthetics: The first chronograph is pure black, with silver indices and a black rubber strap that holds up well under exposure to water. The second chronograph is dynamically flashy: While the case itself is silver, the edge of the bezel, crown, and stopwatch, and tachymeter buttons are all gold in appearance. This is all complimented by a navy blue dial, highlighted by silver subdials and gold-colored, silver-accented hands. While the second chronograph comes with a tan leather strap, quick-release pins ensure that any model of the Halyard Sport Chronograph is compatible with any Jack Mason 22mm watch strap.
Highlights: Nautical accents, high legibility, and the option of a water-resistant strap combine a love of the sea with elegant functionality in the Halyard Sport Chronograph, making it the perfect nautical statement piece on or off the water.
Built for the aeronaut in us all, the Pursuit Chronograph takes inspiration from classic pilots' watch designs to create a watch that acknowledges the past while looking towards the future. The 316L stainless steel case is manufactured with a highly protective sapphire crystal and water tested at 100 meters for maximum durability. Alluding to the past while looking forward to the future, the Pursuit Chronograph offers a modern take on the classic pilot’s watch.
The watch features chronograph subdials uniquely placed at the 6 o’clock, 9 o’clock, and 12 o’clock positions, a date window placed between the 4 and 5 o’clock positions. The crown reveals a star, subtly embossed. Similarly, a winged star is visible on the caseback, which also highlights the primary features of the watch’s design.
The Pursuit Chronograph is available in two styles. While both use the same stainless steel case, one showcases a navy sunray dial with silver accents, two white subdials, and a brown Italian leather strap. The other model has a beautiful black dial with silver markings and a matching black strap.
Both models also utilize SuperLuminova markings on the hands and indices and are powered by a Miyota OS10 movement.
Highlights: The special texture created by the sunray dial, combined with the classical design elements and attention to durability, makes the 42mm Pursuit Chronograph both a functional and beautiful statement piece.
When Jack Mason’s designers sought to redesign their original racing watch, they took inspiration from the awe-inspiring iconography of American muscle cars. The result is the Camber. Mechanically speaking, the camber refers to the subtle tilt on a car’s wheels, which lets them grip the road under the tightest of turns.
That same tilt is represented in the uniquely italicized numbers on the dial, as well as the inward slope of the tachymeter. The subtle, raised-diamond appearance of the crown implies the roughness of the road, and the caseback elegantly represents the steering wheels and tires of a car.
Far from merely evoking the power of a classic car, the Camber has the functionality to back up the connection to its muse. The 42mm stainless steel case is built with both a stopwatch and tachymeter, as well as a protective sapphire crystal.
The standout component of the Camber, however, is the movement. The Time Module Caliber VK63 movement features a snapback chronograph function, which allows the second hand of the chronograph to instantly reset its position. This watch has a Japanese quartz movement.
The Camber itself has a sleek, black dial and subdials, with black hands accented in silver. The chronograph's second hand is red to further invoke the feel of a classic race car. The watch comes with a stainless steel bracelet, though through the use of quick-release pins, the Camber can be worn with any 22mm Jack Mason strap.
Highlights: The Camber, in every aspect of its design, is evocative of both cars and the road they tread. In particular, the one-of-a-kind dial, featuring italicized numbering and a snapback chronograph, gives the watch a devil-may-care smoothness befitting the smoothest of drivers.
AOPA Pilot’s Chronograph
The AOPA Pilot’s Chronograph takes its name from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), which Jack Mason has collaborated with to create this special watch. Working hand in hand with pilots to create the watch, our combined efforts resulted in a design built with pragmatism in mind. In this regard, the AOPA Pilot’s Chronograph stands the test as a true one-of-a-kind offering.
The black case is made from stainless steel and has been water-resistance tested at 100 meters. The dial of the watch showcases a monochrome, black-and-white design and proudly presents the winged shield which marks the logo of the AOPA.
Jack Mason also integrates three different colors of Trigalight H3 and SuperLuminova markings on the hands and dial to maximize legibility under any condition. The acrylic crystal used to protect the dial is unique in that it provides flexibility under variable air pressure, unlike many other crystals.
The interior components include a Swiss Ronda Caliber 5030.D movement that is specially protected from magnetism. At 45mm, the chronograph is one of Jack Mason’s larger pieces, making it perfect for those looking to make a statement.
Turning the watch partially over reveals a small star embossed on the crown of the watch, and flipping the watch over entirely reveals the whole history and design of the timepiece: The caseback features the logo and founding date of AOPA and the names of both collaborators, as well as professing “Your Freedom to Fly.” On the outer edge of the caseback, all the features we have highlighted so far are listed.
Highlights: Jack Mason and AOPA have come together to create a watch that magnificently blends form, function, and history. For once, the discerning watch user has the ability to wear a pilot’s watch truly designed for and by pilots.
Featuring the standard tachymeter and chronograph, as well as giving special attention to additional legibility markers and functionality under exposure to magnetism, air, and water pressure, the AOPA Pilot’s Chronograph is a true all-purpose sports watch.
The Powers of Timekeeping
On any day of the calendar year, the alarm may sound for adventure. It's important that your watch keep up with your daily activities: work, dates, or even racing at Daytona. Chronograph watches are part of a rich tradition that continues to dazzle us in the present.