Arguably horology’s handiest complication, the chronograph this year celebrates its 200th anniversary. Originally created by one Louis Moinet in 1816, it has evolved into an indispensable tool for pilots, divers and sportsman across the globe. The first automatic chronograph wasn’t engineered until the late sixties, yet by then there was an immense appreciation for the beauty of the complication as well as its functionality. Harrods, purveyor of all things luxurious have recognised this Herculean event by staging a month long exhibition in their Fine Watch Room through March.
Highlighted within the exhibition will be a number of standout watches, the likes of which reflect the diversity and ingenuity of the chronograph. Interestingly, most of the curated timepieces have an iconic historical predecessor that has gone on to help define the modern automatic chronograph. Omega will be present with the Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon, a modern reinterpretation of the original Moonwatch, and Zenith will be showing an El Primero Chronomaster 1969, a new take on what was one of the first ever automatic chronos back in ’69.
Inherently linked with motor racing, the chronograph has been tackled by many brands looking to capitalise on the romantic history, as well as state-of-the-art technology of the sport. Whilst it lacks the charm and beauty of the original, the Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 01 is a significant release for the brand, pointing in the avant-garde direction of TAG under the helm of Jean Claude Biver. It will be showcased in Harrods, and visitors can marvel at its unashamed modern design. One for the vintage lovers though is the Bremont Jaguar MKI, a throwback watch with a dial design borrowed from one of the most beautiful classic cars of all, the Jaguar E-Type. Other brands present include Vacheron Constantin and Jaeger-LeCoultre, who’ll display their Harmony Monopusher and Duometre chronographs, respectively.
Today, chronographs have transcended their original contexts. We no longer need a watch for timing purposes, yet those of a discerning nature can’t help but be drawn to these functional yet beautiful objects of desire.
Harrods' chronograph exhibition will be taking place from 1st-30th March in the Fine Watch Room. For more information, visit harrods.com.