Sports watches are no longer designed—or desired—just for the rugged outdoors. As a result, watchmakers are free to dress them up with fancy complications, precious metals, and snazzy dials. Take, for instance, Patek Philippe’s Aquanaut cased in 18-karat rose gold, Rolex’s Daytona in platinum, or Hublot’s skeleton-dial Big Bang with an integrated tourbillon in carbon fiber and Texalium, a fiberglass-based fabric with a proprietary finish and a thin coating of aluminum that produces a reflective surface. They’re hardly the kind of pieces you want to knock around. Even TAG Heuer, which has always been a player in the traditional sports watch category, is upping the ante with its Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon “Glassbox”—a top-of-the-line piece in the company’s collection at $24,050. Here is a closeup view of sporty timekeepers meant to catch an eye or two.
The 47 mm Submersible Forze Speciali is executed in ultra-light but tough titanium with a DLC coating. Inside its fit with an automatic mechanical P.9100/R movement featuring an Incabloc® anti-shock device, a power reserve of three days and a total of 328 components. It is water resistant to 300 meters (approx. 985 feet). $30,400
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Parmigiani’s take on a sporty chronograph, the 42 mm Tonda PF Sport Chronograph in stainless steel, has the usual features of the function mixed with the high-end flourishes reminiscent of the dress watches the Swiss watchmaker is known for such as its knurled bezel and Clou triangulaire guilloché on the dial. $29,000
Zenith’s 42.5 mm Pilot Big Date Flyback in ceramic (above left), not only has a sharp new look with contrasting white hour markers against a ribbed black dial for legibility, it also comes equipped with the El Primero 3652 automatically high-frequency chronograph caliber integrating a big date and flyback function in the 5Hz movement, $13,500; Hublot’s 43 mm Big Bang Integrated Tourbillon Full Carbon incorporates lightweight and durable carbon fiber, as well as a snazzy design material called texalium which is a fiberglass-based fabric that has a proprietary finish and a thin coating of aluminum on the surface (above right), $127,000.
With a brown embossed dial encircled by an 18-karat rose-gold case and applied numerals with luminescent coating, the 40.8 mm Aquanaut Ref. 5167R-001 is hardly the kind of thing you want to bang around, but as far as Patek Philippe goes this is about as sporty as it gets, $45,540.
Tourbillons aren’t exactly TAG Heuer’s bread and butter—the company is known for true sports watches meant to get rugged—but for the 60th anniversary of the Carrera, the company upped the ante (and its price) by incorporating one in this striking 42 mm Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon “Glassbox” in stainless steel, $24,050
The Rolex Daytona has already reached near mythical status with ever increasing prices on the secondary market. As a traditional sports watch it has somehow transcended to the ultimate elite status and this 40 mm Cosmograph Daytona in platinum with its icy blue dial is the absolute height of luxury in the precious metal, $77,800.
Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms watch has always been an icon of the dive watch genre and this year the company launched a series of the model to celebrate its 70th anniversary. This 42.3 mm Fifty Fathoms Act 1 Series III in steel (above left) has an exhibition caseback for a view of the mechanical movement and its platinum oscillating weight decorated with a “Fifty Fathom 70th” inscription. It is limited to just 555 pieces and will set you back $17,400; Breguet, meanwhile, might be better known for its very traditional dress watches, but the company actually has a very close history to aviation. Louis Charles Breguet, the great-great grandson of Breguet founder, Abraham-Louis Breguet, was a French aircraft designer and builder. That history continued and this 42 mm Type XX Chronographe 2067 in steel (above right), $18,000, is a modernized commercial example, with a bidirectional graduated rotating bezel, of the Type 20 created for the French Military of Defense in the ’50s.
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