Often curiosity leads to discoveries and inventions and the same is the story behind the invention of the chronograph in 1816 by a French horologist, Louis Moinet
, though at the time of creation, it was meant for astronomical purposes. However, a market version of the chronograph was made in 1821 by another French watchmaker Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec
, at the behest of King Louis XVIII, who wanted to measure the racing time of each horse.
While the chronograph complication was enough to calculate the time during a horse race, it appeared to have a drawback for the pilots of high-speed flights in the early 20th century as recording multiple time intervals with a regular chronograph had created a significant margin of error while calculating the travel time between waypoints. So, in order to reduce the margin time between the flights, Longines created the world’s first flyback chronograph wristwatch produced and commercialised from 1936 to 1951, the Calibre 13.ZN, to help the pilots for easy and precise navigation.
In a usual chronograph
, a wearer uses the top pusher to start and stop the chronograph, and the second pusher to reset the hands to zero. However, in the flyback chronograph, a user can record the intervals of elapsed time without resetting the timepiece - a flyback function allows the chronograph seconds hand to 'fly back' to zero instantly without having to stop it. This helps in shortening the time difference and hence, it’s more useful and the timing more accurate. Here are 7 flyback chronographs that made their presence felt in 2023.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph
Audemars Piguet introduced four new Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronographs, for the first time in ceramic in the line, to commemorate the occasion of the collection's 30th anniversary. Out of the four models, the Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 42 mm (Ref. 26238CE.OO.1300CE.01) is equipped with a flyback chronograph function. The monochrome reference features a black tachymeter inner bezel and a black Petite Tapisserie dial topped with a glare proof sapphire crystal. Further, the dial is incorporated with black 12 hour, 30-minute, and 60-second counters at 12,9, and 3 o’clock respectively, a round date aperture at 3 o’clock, and white gold applied hour-markers and Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating. A self winding calibre 4404 runs the watch and boasts a power reserve of about 70 hours. A matching black ceramic bracelet flanks the case. The timepiece is water resistant up to 100 metres.
Price: 69,28,000 (approx.)
Patek Philippe Self-winding Flyback Chronograph with Annual Calendar - Reference 5905R-010
The Maison’s two most popular complications combine in the new Self-winding Flyback Chronograph with Annual Calendar (Ref. 5905R-010). The 42mm timepiece is crafted in rose gold and features a concave bezel and hollowed lungs. The sunburst blue dial has gold applied faceted baton-style hour markers, a 60-minute counter at 6 o’clock, and the day, date, and month apertures; the brand patented Annual Calendar only requires one correction per year, at the end of February. A self-winding calibre CH 28‑520 QA 24H powers the timepiece and boasts about 45 to 55 hours of power reserve. Finishing the reference is a hand-stitched, shiny dark blue alligator leather strap with prong buckle.
Price: 62,51,000 (approx.)
Longines Spirit Flyback Chronograph Titanium
The new Longines Spirit Flyback Chronograph (Ref. L3.8184.108.40.206) is now available in Grade 5 titanium; previously the collection only had steel models. The timepiece measures 42mm, features a bidirectional rotating bezel with black ceramic bezel insert and a sunray anthracite dial with gilt Arabic numerals, indexes and hands, all coated with SuperLuminova. The minute counter lies at 3 o’clock and the small seconds at 9 o’clock. Powered by the automatic calibre L791.4 (ETA base) which has a flyback function with a 30-minute totalizer, and offers a power reserve of about 68 hours. The timepiece comes with a water resistance of about 100 metres and an option of a titanium bracelet or NATO strap.
Price: Rs. 5,10,000 (approx.)
Carl F. Bucherer Manero Flyback Anniversary
This year marks the 135th anniversary of the Carl F Bucherer, as well as the 20th anniversary of Ethos Watch Boutiques, the brand’s exclusive watch retailer in India since 2010. Both the brands have joined hands to introduce an India edition timepiece - the Manero Flyback Anniversary (Ref. 00.10919.08.53.99) limited to 88 pieces only. The 43mm stainless steel timepiece is covered with a double-domed sapphire crystal and features short curved lugs and a fluted and signed crown along with retro-style pushers. The blue sunray finished matte dial is incorporated with a tachymeter scale on its periphery, 18K rose gold applied hour markers and skeletonised dauphine hands that pays tribute to India's love for gold accessories. There are silvered minutes and seconds counters at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock respectively, and a large date aperture at 6 o’clock. Driving the model is an automatic CFB 1970 calibre which offers about 42 hours of reserve .
Price: Rs. 7,19,000 (approx.)
TAG Heuer Monza Flyback Chronometer
TAG Heuer’s recreation of its Monza, the new Monza Flyback Chronometer (Ref. CR5090.FN6001) pays tribute to motorsports; the original Monza was born when Niki Lauda won the F1 World Championship in 1975. The 42mm sporty timepiece features a forged carbon case topped with a domed sapphire crystal. The watch has a grey skeletonized face with tachymeter and pulsometer scale on its inner bezel. The dial further has red and blue accents with translucent blue sapphire crystal counters 0f 30-minute at 3 and seconds counter at 6 o’clock and a date feature at 9 o’clock . The chronograph hand and the hour markers are blue lacquered and applied with Super-LumiNova®. The TAG Heuer Calibre Heuer 02 COSC Flyback movement runs the watch and boasts a power reserve of about 80 hours. The timepiece has water resistance up to 100 metres and is worn with a black textile strap with textile lining and blue stitching details.
Price: Rs. 11,52,000 (approx.)
Richard Mille 72-01 Le Mans Classic
The brand’s fascination with the racing circuits led to the association of Richard Mille and the biennial Le Mans Classic race in 2008, and since then Richard Mille has released editions according to the colours of the event. This year it was the RM 72-01 Le Mans Classic, an iteration of the brand’s pre-existing model 72-01 flyback chronograph. The 38.4mm x 11.68mm x 47.34mm tonneau shaped reference is crafted with white and green Quartz TPT, a material composed of over 600 layers of parallel filaments obtained from separating silica threads. The 150 pieces limited edition features a black titanium skeletonised dial with lume-coated hand and hour markers that glows green. Further accentuating the dial are the green, white, and orange hues and the Le Mans Classic nameplate shows in between 10 and 11 o’clock. There is a huge vertical date aperture located at 7 o’clock, a 24-hours counter towards the bottom of the dial with ‘16’ in red, indicating the 4 PM traditional endurance race starting time, a minute counter towards the upper side of the dial, and a small seconds counter at 9 o’clock. Inside the case beats an in-house Calibre CRMC-1 at a frequency of 4Hz, visible through the caseback. The tech-forward chronograph timepiece comes with a matching white rubber strap, and offers about 50 hours of power reserve.
Price: Upon request
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph
Roger Dubuis’ supercar inspired Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph (Ref. DBX 1046) debuted at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2023, and is a 45mm timepiece crafted with lightweight carbon. The model features openworked lugs and pushers and a hyper-resistant ceramic bezel that makes it lighter in weight. The black skeletonized dial of the watch features a tachymeter on its inner bezel and circular grained and sandblasted mainplate and bridges decor. The chronograph minutes display at 3 o’clock is crafted with a radical isotoxal shape where a tripartite hand carries the 0, 1, and 2 next to the 0-9 digits. What this allows one to do is read the elapsed time easily, which in this case is a total of 30-minutes. The brand has developed a new RD780 calibre, an integrated flyback chronograph with two patents; one linked to the second hand of the chronograph and the other to the display of the minute counter, which boasts a power reserve of about 72 hours. The flyback chronograph also has a visible column wheel, a tilted balance wheel with variable inertia and a vertical coupling clutch. Completing the masterpiece is a notched rubber strap. The timepiece is water resistant up to 100 metres.
Price: Upon request
Images: Courtesy Brands