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Sports Watches Are Raising Their Horological Game. Here Are 4 of the Very Best.

Make room, Rolex and Patek: A new group of watchmakers 
is jumping onto the field.

Tag Heuer Carrera Plasma Profile Courtesy of Tag Heuer

The meteoric and continuing rise of the sports watch has spurred unabashedly elitist brands such as A. Lange & Söhne and Vacheron Constantin to produce more casual timepieces, aimed at clients who want watches they can (hypothetically) knock around without remorse despite five- or six-figure price tags. Even Patek took it up another notch: In April, it launched a monopusher chronograph that measures down to tenths of a second and features seven exclusive patents. The ultra-technical, platinum-cased creation drove home the message that the brand plans to elevate its sports-watch category beyond the ubiquitous (but impossible to obtain) Nautilus.

But in a twist, this year has seen more accessible brands raising the bar on their own sports models, unveiling increasingly pricey versions no doubt meant to capture some of the still-fevered market. Tag Heuer released a six-figure chronograph accented with lab-grown diamonds, for example, while Grand Seiko debuted its first constant-force tourbillon—and both brands took pains to say that these models were, rather than one-off events, instead a hint of things to come. In other words, expect a whole new team of watch brands to get in on this high-stakes game.

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