Movements and Complications

A Guide to Retrograde Watches

Retrograde watches have eye-catching dials that display time or other functions in an unusual way.


Watchmakers use retrograde displays in many ways, including the day, date, month, minutes, seconds, or power reserve. The retrograde hand will move in an arc, and once it reaches the end, it snaps back to 0. For example, retrograde minutes begin at 0 and snap back when it reaches a new hour at 60. On the other hand, a retrograde power-reserve indicator will start at the highest number when the watch is fully wound and move down to 0 as the power reserve dwindles, then jump back to full when the watch is wound. Retrograde dials are frequently paired with jumping-hour watches. Since jumping-hour watches don’t have an hour hand, having this unique dial display makes the absence of an hour hand less noticeable. Read on to discover the best luxury retrograde watches. 

Chanel Monsieur

Retrograde Minutes

Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée

Retrograde Hours and Minutes

Harry Winston Midnight Retrograde Second Automatic

Retrograde Seconds

Bovet Récital 21

Retrograde Date

Breguet Tradition 7597

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar

Retrograde Date

Louis Moinet Tempograph Spirit

Retrograde Seconds
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