The small complications boutique

Watchmaking lingo can sometimes be difficult to understand for the average person. Fortunately, watches amateurs now have their own “chief” tick-tock fanatic to help them grasp the intricacies of this sometimes wild lexicon. Are they useful or not? Frank Sans C is here to break the code of small complications, accompanied with a selection of quite surprising watches.

By Chloé Redler


Definition: a chronograph is an instrument used to measure the time between two intervals. Usually, it is equipped with three counters – 60 minutes, 60 seconds, and small seconds – two pushers, a column wheel, and a vertical clutch.

CARTIER, Santos Chronograph

Santos de Cartier Chronograph Watch.

This watch was imagined at the beginning of the 20th century by Louis Cartier for his pilot friend Alberto Santos-Dumont, who wanted a watch that would ease his prehension while piloting his aircraft. Over the decades, the Santos then became one of the iconic models of the luxury brand.

The bold extra-large model of the Santos de Cartier Chronograph, a 44,9 mm case for a 12,4 mm thickness.

Steel case, yellow gold bezel, visible screws, Roman numerals (with a secret signature inside the “V” of the “VII”), crown decorated with a blue synthetic spinel, sword hands… This new stylized version perpetuates the legacy of this watchmaking classic. For the sake of modernity, this timepiece only has one start/stop pusher located at 9 o’clock. As for the reset function, it is available directly on the crown.

The Santos de Cartier Chronograph is equipped with the “QuickSwitch” interchangeability system.

The watch is powered by a manufacture automatic calibre which features a column wheel and a vertical clutch. One last detail: the timepiece is delivered with two different bracelets (steel and rubber), which feature an easy “QuickSwitch” interchangeability system.

€15 900

Click here to read the Santos de Cartier Cronograph Watch full technical sheet.


SEIKO, Prospex Speedtimer mechanical Chronograph

You may not know this but in the 1960s, Seiko took sportive timekeeping up and created time measuring instruments approved by many international sport bodies.

The Seiko Prospex Speedtimer mecanical Chronograph.

Building on this momentum, in 1969, the watchmaking brand introduced the automatic chronograph Speedtimer, equipped with a column wheel and a vertical clutch – a first for a wristwatch. After becoming inherent to Seiko, the Speedtimer now has many different models such as this 42,5 mm steel version with an anthracite grey dial, paying homage to the 1964 Crown Chronograph.

An undeniably sport chic chrono.

It is enhanced by a tachymeter scale used to calculate the average speed of a vehicle between two distance markers (read the article: “High-scale watches”). Bevelled markers, hours and minutes hands covered in coloured Lumibrite, chronograph pushers… All these traits are inspired by the original model. Water-resistant up to 100 m, this sportive version offers a 45-hour power reserve.

€3 000

Click here to read the Seiko Prospex Speedtimer full technical sheet.


ZENITH, Chronomaster Sport Pink

Such a nice introduction, on one hand to illustrate the chronograph, and on the other, to shed a light on a cause that concerns us all, the fight against breast cancer.

The new Chronomaster Sport Pink supports the international fight against breast cancer.

This year, once again, Zenith supports the organisation Susan G. Komen®, one of the main organisations fighting against breast cancer worldwide. For the occasion, Zenith created the Chronomaster Sport Pink, limited to 500 copies only. 20% of the proceeds will indeed go to the association to give daily support to the cancer patients and their families, improving research and patient’s access to treatments.

The El Primero caliber offers a 5 Hz high frequency, namely 36 000 A/h, with a 1/10th of a second chronograph function.

The Chronomaster Sport Pink bears the colours of the cause and has a 41 mm steel case with a steel bezel engraved with 1/10th of a second. The pink dial has a sunray pattern with three counters and a matching date disc – between 4 and 5 o’clock. Both chic and sporty, this water-resistant up to 100 m watch is animated by an El Primero calibre with a 1/10th of a second precision and a nearly 60 hours power reserve.

Edition limited to 500 copies – €12 300

Click here to read the Zenith Chronomaster Sport Pink full technical sheet.



Definition: very useful on a daily basis, the power reserve is a complication that indicates the time left before the movement stops working.

IWC, Portugieser Automatic

The IWC Portugieser Automatic and its power reserve at 3 o’clock.

42,3 mm wide, this beautiful steel Portuguese timepiece has a nice white oversized dial with contrasting blue hands and indices. Furthermore, two horizontal counters respectively correspond to the small hacking seconds – at 9 o’clock – and to the seven days power reserve – at 3 o’clock. This timeless classic is powered by an automatic manufacture movement, which is equipped with a bidirectional Pellaton winding system and two barrels. This watch is also decorated with Côtes-de-Genève and endowed with an openwork oscillating mass and a gold medallion, which are visible through the transparent caseback. Bearing the colours of our tick-tock fanatic, a blue alligator strap elegantly completes the look of this piece.

€13 300

Click here to read the IWC Portugieser Automatic full technical sheet.

The Portugieser Automatic Boutique Edition by IWC.

This watch also has a Boutique Edition made of red gold, perfectly complimenting the navy-blue dial and strap.

Boutique Edition – €25 700

Click here to read the IWC Portugieser Automatic Boutique Edition full technical sheet.



Definition: GMT stands for “Greenwich Mean Time”. This small complication is made for globetrotters and displays the local time – where you currently are – as well as a second time zone – the time it is back home for instance.


The J12 GMT by Chanel.

Designed in 2000 by famous Chanel artistic director Jacques Helleu, the J12 is now an integral part of the very private circle of watchmaking icons. Reinterpreted times and times again, this 41 mm version is made of high technology matte black ceramic, and it is endowed with a GMT function. This version is one of the easiest to read GMT on the market, thanks to its red-tipped arrow hand contrasting with the black lacquer dial. Situated on the flange, the 24-hour time zone avoids the need for a day/night indicator, which offers a perfect visibility in any circumstances. As for the date, noticeable between 4 and 5 o’clock, it is discreet, but it is there.


Click here to read the Chanel J12 GMT full technical sheet.



Definition: more poetic than truly useful, the moonphase is THE ultimate astral complication. Still, it is quite technical and often calls for the savoir-faire of a craftsperson for the decoration of the satellite. On the other hand, the role of the master-watchmaker is to create an elaborate process to closely track the lunar cycles.

TISSOT, Carson Premium Lady Moonphase

The TISSOT Carson Premium Lady Moonphase.

PRX, Seastar, Gentleman… The Tissot icons can sometimes steal the spotlight from other lesser-known collections, though they would deserve some attention too. Classic and timeless, the Carson line is one of them. An essential accessory, the 32 mm Premium Lady Moonphase is made of 316L steel and designed for thinner wrists. Powered by a Swiss EOL (End Of Life) quartz movement, a delicate and iridescent moonphase occupies the space at 6 o’clock on a silver dial with a circular guilloché-work in the center. This dial is punctuated with Roman numerals, a date – at 3 o’clock – and blue leaf hands. Water-resistant up to 50 m, this watch is also available with a leather strap.

The moonphase provides a nice animation to the Tissot Carson Premium Lady Moonphase.


Click here to read the Tissot Carson Premium Lady Moonphase full technical sheet.



Definition: the big date is a quite recent watchmaking complication created by the Lange & Söhne manufacture in 1994. It is inspired by a clock of the Semper Oper, the theatre of Dresden, which is the hometown of Walter Lange, grandson of the founder, whose date appears in two distinct apertures.

Horloge 5 Minutes de l'opéra de Dresde
The origin of the Big Date? The Five-Minute clock of the Dresden opera house.

CHOPARD, L.U.C Lunar Big Date Dubail Edition

The CHOPARD L.U.C Lunar Big Date Dubail Edition.

This exceptional timepiece is a collaboration between the Dubail maison and Chopard. The L.U.C Lunar Big Date Dubail Edition is a 42 mm pink gold watch endowed with both a moonphase and a big date. Situated at 12 o’clock, the latter stands out on a silver slightly sun-brushed dial which lets the meticulously decorated moonphase shine. Remarkably precise, this beautiful and romantic complication displays only a tiny difference between the true lunar cycle and what is indicated on the watch – only one day every 122 years. Powered by an impressive automatic movement, this watchmaking feat was achieved brilliantly by the manufacture. Only 8 proud owners will be able to watch this poetic performance.

Visible through a sapphire caseback, the back looks as good as the front does thanks to the automatic calibre meticulously decorated with Côtes-de-Genève.

Edition limited to only 8 copies – €40 100

Click here to read the CHOPARD L.U.C Lunar Big Date Dubail Edition full technical sheet.



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