The Racing Watch

by Time&Style Staff

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Precision timing is essential to all racing events and the mechanical stopwatch was long the standard tool for measurement. So important was the advent of the chronograph that almost as soon as the wristwatch was put into production, watchmakers sought to integrate these complications into them.race1
Racing chronographs are meant to remind you of being at the track, and many of the world’s top brands have created watches in honour of specific circuits and events. The Rolex Daytona, for example, is named for the Florida speedway and contains a tachymeter scale, a ring of numbers used in conjunction with the chronograph to measure the time it takes for an object to travel one mile. You’ll also find this scale on the bezel of the Omega Speedmaster. Famed for its travel to the moon and favoured by NASA, the Speedmaster began life as a racing chronograph. (Left to right: Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, $37,850; Omega Speedmaster, $4,800)

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Chopard has built an entire legacy of men’s racing watches around the famed Italian Mille Miglia—a 1,000-mile road race which ran from 1927 to 1957—including the boldly red Rosso Corsa edition that is as visually loud as the vintage cars it celebrates. (Chopard Mille Miglia Rosso Corsa, $9,850)
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In a similar vein, Oris’s Calobra is named for a town on Spain’s isle of Majorca, home to the annual Classic Rally. (Oris Calobra Limited Edition, $3,900)
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Modern racecars, too, are the source of inspiration for chronograph watches, like Tissot’s new PRS 516 Extreme and Citizen’s Eco-Drive Primo collection—both of which take design cues from the high-tech materials and cutting-edge technology found in their cockpits and engines. (Left to right: Tissot PRS 516 Extreme Automatic, $1,575; Citizen Primo, $475)