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The Best Chronograph Watch: Buying Guide & Review

best chronograph watch

Are you looking at investing in a new timepiece, but unsure as to which one will suit your style and personality best? Discover some of the best chronograph watches available with our buying guide and review.

From varying designs to different functionalities, there’s something for every occasion, personality and requirement.

Read below for our review of the top five chronograph watches, as well as commonly asked questions, watch functionalities, the top watch brands, and more.

The Best Chronograph Watch: Our Top Five Picks

With so many choices available, there are multiple variations of chronograph watches on the market at different price ranges, in different styles, and with different functionalities. We’ve selected our top five picks that vary across price, features and more to help you on your journey to find the perfect watch at an affordable price for you.

1. Citizen Eco-Drive PCAT Quartz Men’s Watch

Perfect for daily wear, this high-end Citizen watch is bound to make a great addition to your collection, or be a great first timepiece investment.

Providing wearers with an air of sophistication, this super titanium silver-tone watch is the ideal match for those in the corporate or business world – or for people who are looking to smarten up their wardrobe with this silver accessory piece.

Atomic timekeeping technology provides wearers with synchronised time adjustments that are available in 43 different cities, making travel with your timepiece a simple task with no manual adjustments.

The perpetual calendar helps to keep you on top of meetings and daily tasks, and with a five-year limited manufacturer’s warranty, this watch will be a loyal companion for many years.

Paired with a one-second chronograph that measures up to 60 minutes, this powerful men’s watch also utilizes sustainable eco-drive technology. This means the watch is powered by light – so you never need to replace the battery, ensuring you’re always on time.

With a stunning 42mm case, this large-size watch is bound to be a favorite amongst your collection, or as a first timepiece investment, thanks to its classic design and multiple easy-to-use features.

Pros

  • Eco-drive battery, meaning you never need to replace or update the watch’s battery
  • Five-year warranty, so you have a guaranteed protection period
  • Available times include 43 cities to save you manually updating your watch when you travel

Cons

  • The 42mm case means this watch is quite large – so it may not suit all wearers (depending on your preference)

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2. Citizen Men’s Promaster Skyhawk A-T Eco-Drive Aviator Watch

This analog-digital watch is the newest addition to the Citizen collection, and provides wearers with a dynamic and visually pleasing configuration, thanks to the red and black dial design.

The variety of additional features this watch has makes it not just a beautiful timepiece, but also works as a helpful assistant during those busy work days.

Atomic timekeeping in 43 cities allows you to travel with ease, and a perpetual calendar, dual time zones and alarm capabilities keep you alert and on time wherever you go.

The chronograph features a 1/100 second setting for up to 24 hours, and the 99-minute countdown can assist you during meetings, errand-running or workouts.

The super titanium case and bracelet provide a sleek aesthetic for the wearer, while the black dial and bright orange details give the watch a playful, more casual feel, meaning it can be worn for a variety of occasions and events.

The eco-drive technology means that you never need a battery for this watch, as any light it’s exposed to keeps it working perfectly.

With 200-meters of water resistance, you can be sure that this watch will be a great companion no matter where you are in the world.

Pros

  • Water resistant up to 200-meters for swimming and shower use
  • Eco-drive technology, meaning you never have to replace the watch’s battery
  • Unique design that’s appropriate for both business and casual events

Cons

  • None

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3. Tissot Men’s T-Race Stainless Steel Sport Watch in Black & Khaki

Sold in more than 160 countries, Tissot is an authentic and reliable brand that creates timeless watches. This men’s sport watch is large in size, with the case measuring at 48.8mm, and the band width at 22mm.

With Swiss Tissot’s automatic chronograph movement, this stainless steel sports watch is ideal for those always on the go.

With water-resistance up to a pressure of 10 barometers – around 100m/330ft – you can be sure to leave this watch on when you jump in the shower, or take a plunge after a busy day in your local pool or beach.

The 316L stainless steel case has a black and khaki pod coating, and also features a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal coating, meaning any of your favorite activities can be done with ease without worrying about damaging your timepiece.

For those looking for an aesthetically pleasing, modern version of a watch with the ability to withstand a busy and active lifestyle, this is the one for you!

Pros

  • Water resistant up to 100-meters, so you can leave it on in the shower and pool
  • Scratch resistant and sturdy for all activity uses
  • Features a unique design with different color hues that traditional watches do not usually offer

Cons

  • At almost 49mm in diameter, the watch face is very large, therefore may not suit those looking for a smaller or more subtle timepiece

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4. Seiko SBDL089 PROSPEX SPEEDTIMER Solar Chronograph Watch

This stainless-steel timepiece is a Japanese made chronograph watch, featuring materials made from Japanese Quartz and Silver. Suitable for someone with a medium budget for their next timepiece, this wrist accessory is classically designed, and provides wearers with a sleek, stylish look.

With a case width of 39mm, this smaller-size watch features a band width of 21mm, making it ideal for those looking for a simpler, more modest statement, without compensating on design or style.

Inspired by the 1969 Speedtimer design, this stainless steel watch features a 60-minute chronograph function in a sub-dial, with hours of power reserve.

The chronograph subdials are created with high levels of legibility, so that when you’re reading your timepiece, it’s clear and easy to peruse no matter the time of day or night.

The stainless steel bracelet is finished with smooth and hairline polishing to create a modern interpretation of the original 1969 design.

For those looking for a timeless, vintage model, this solar chronograph watch is the perfect choice to find the balance between a modern and ageless style.

Pros

  • Based on a timeless 1969 design – creating a vintage, ageless style for wearers
  • Suitable for mid-range budgets
  • Smaller size makes it ideal for all styles and aesthetics

Cons

  • Made with high-quality materials – may not be suitable for everyday wear or those with a busy daily schedule

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5. Omega Speedmaster Racing Automatic Chronograph Black Dial Stainless Steel Men’s Watch

For those looking for a timepiece to impress, this Omega Speedmaster watch is the one for you. By far the most expensive watch on this list, the silver-tone band and case will provide wearers with a sleek and sophisticated design, ideal to dress up any suit or shirt.

With scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, this men’s watch has a 40mm case diameter and a band width of 22mm, making it ideal for all wrist sizes. Water resistant up to 100-meters, you can wash your hands or take a shower in your Omega timepiece without worrying about its durability.

The black dial features luminescent hands and markers, making it easy to read in the early mornings and late nights. The watch also features index hour markers and minute markers around the outer rim, for your convenience.

This iconic model features two sub-dials within the chronograph, displaying 60 seconds and 12 hour time.

With a 60 hour power reserve, this scratch-resistant watch is a dapper addition to those looking to splash the cash on an ageless design.

Pros

  • 60 hour power reserve so you don’t have to worry about the battery running out
  • Water resistant up to 100-meters, ideal for swimming and showering
  • Sleek and sophisticated design – sure to be the envy of all your friends and colleagues

Cons

  • This watch is significantly more expensive than the other’s we’ve reviewed, meaning it may not be feasible for everyone

View on Amazon

The Best Chronograph Watch: Read This Before You Buy

We’ve shared our favorite chronograph watches with you – so now let’s get into some of the details to help you get closer to making a decision as to which chronograph watch is best for you.

Things to look for when buying a chronograph watch

When you’re looking at buying a new watch, there are certain things to consider to make the timepiece the most suitable for you and your needs. We advise looking at the following before you consider what type of chronograph watch is right for you.

1. Mechanical Chronographs vs. Quartz Movement

If you’re wondering what the difference between a mechanical and quartz watch is, they both offer two different sets of perks. Depending on what you’re looking for in your timepiece, the difference between the two will help you decide which watch variation will work best.

If you enjoy a more timeless, vintage model that has an interesting history behind it, you’re going to be looking at a mechanical chronograph watch. These mechanical watch types tend to have more interesting mechanism designs and chronograph features, making them more appealing to watch lovers.

On the other hand, chronograph watches with a quartz movement mechanism tend to be more affordable, and include some more advanced features, like alarms and stopwatches. These watches tend to be more modern looking, and don’t have that same vintage or timeless feel to them when compared to their mechanical counterparts.

If you’re looking for a timeless design with interesting dial faces, a mechanical chronograph watch would be a good choice – for watches with more modern features, look for a quartz caliber chronograph watch.

2. Watch Size

Most chronograph watches are larger in size, both in thickness of the watch face, and width across the wrist. This is due to the complicated mechanism and additional pusher that these watches include. Their size is larger than a typical watch to contain all of this.

In this case, when you’re shopping for a chronograph watch, it’s wise to try the watch on before purchasing – you want it to fit snugly around your wrist, and fit comfortably under your shirt sleeve (should you wear it for formal or work purposes).

It is ill-advised to purchase a chronograph watch online, as you cannot feel the real dimensions of the watch or see if it will be a good fit for you. Take your time and go in-store when you’re looking at purchasing a chronograph watch, so you know that it’s going to be a perfect fit before investing.

3. Design

As one of the most popular types of watches, the chronograph has a wide range of designs and styles to choose from. There are vintage watches that have historical roots, and there are more modern takes on chronograph designs based on current watch trends.

The ceramic bezel on the watch face is often presented in different designs to appeal to different wearers. From an octagonal bezel to a bidirectional bezel, this watch feature provides wearers with multiple functions, depending on the watch itself, as well as providing some extra design or color options to appeal to watch owners.

Some bezels can work to measure distance, heart rate or have a fitted telemeter – depending on the watch brand, and the type of chronograph watch you choose. Whichever you decide, a bezel design is often something watch lovers look for when selecting a new timepiece.

Some chronograph watches also feature a monopusher. A monopusher is the button on the side of your chronograph watch. Chronograph watches tend to only feature one-button on the side of the watch face instead of two. Most analog watches normally incorporate two buttons in their design, which allows you to change the watch’s hands.

While this may seem strange, this single-button design of the chronograph watch was originally incorporated in antique pocket watches from over a century ago. This single button is used to start, stop, and reset the stopwatch times on the timepiece.

You can also choose a flyback chronograph watch – in this type of watch, you can use the reset function without having to stop the chronograph itself. In a regular chronograph watch, you have to stop, reset and restart the watch in order to time an event or use the timer – with a flyback chronograph, you can just use the timer with more ease.

All of these different designs and elements come together to create hundreds of thousands of design options for you to choose from – hopefully, one of them will be the right fit!

4. Watch Features

Across various chronograph watches there are several features that watch lovers value highly. From the different variations of monopushers, bezels and designs, there is a list of specific features that are suited for every watch wearer.

Some technical features that chronograph movement uses are the column wheel and vertical clutch. Due to its mechanical design, watch lovers highly appreciate the intricacies of this movement, and for some it can be a significant purchasing factor.

Whatever your watch needs, make sure you pick a chronograph watch that suits you, whatever your requirements may be.

The Best Chronograph Watch: Commonly Asked Questions

Take a look at some of the commonly asked questions when it comes to the best chronograph watches, to help you make an informed choice when it comes to purchasing your perfect chronograph watch.

What is a Chronograph Watch?

Put simply, a chronograph is a stopwatch that is housed within your timepiece. Typically, most chronograph watches feature two pushers – one to start the timer, and another to reset it again.

They also feature sub-dials to measure the elapsed seconds, minutes or hours that you’re tracking, making it simple to use, and a handy companion whether you’re out and about or in the office.

Why Would I Need a Chronograph Watch?

Chronograph watches are really useful – whether you’re doing laundry, timing something in the oven, or exercising – the ability to set a timer on your wrist is a really accessible and underrated function of a watch.

Although modern technology allows us to do everything from our phones or tablets these days, using your watch to actually time something is a lot more convenient, as it’s just a glance away, and doesn’t require you to constantly wonder where your device is. Simply lift your wrist, and you’ve got the answer!

What is the Difference Between a Chronograph Watch and a Regular Watch?

The basic difference users will find between analog watches and chronograph watches is their levels of functionality.

Analog watches simply display the time with their two hands, showing the current minute and hour. Chronographs, however, feature a “complication.” This is an industry term, meaning it does something other than tell the time – and in this case, it doubles as a stopwatch (and so much more, depending on which brand and model you choose).

Some chronograph watches measure your heart beat, others can set alarms, and display multiple time zones.

Do Chronograph Watches Use Batteries?

Based on their highly-functional capacity, a chronograph watch requires much higher energy use than a basic analog watch. Whenever the chronograph feature is activated, more energy is consumed. If this function is used regularly, the battery life can be assumed to last around 10 to 12 months.

There are some chronograph watches that are now becoming solar powered – meaning that no battery is required at all. The watch you choose will depend on the battery life and what is required within the watch – so make sure you read the spec list before you purchase.

How Many Different Types of Chronograph Watches are There?

There are three main types of chronograph watches: simple, flyback and rattrapante.

Simple chronograph watches are the standard chronograph. It is controlled by one or two chronograph pushers that allow it to start, stop and reset, which is found on the side of the watch face.

The Flyback is a more advanced watch that enables users to restart the watch’s timer while the chronograph is already running.

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