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Best Chronograph Watches for 2019

Chronographs are beautiful devices that combine form and function, and because of this a high quality one can be quite expensive. Here are the best chronograph watches to be found online for a range of budgets.

A chronograph is basically the combination of a display watch and a stopwatch. Well, that is putting it simply. Chronographs have been relevant in the aviation, space and automotive world for years and these pieces of accessory are quite popular because of their usual stylish design and high level of functionality. Although these beautiful watches are highly sought after, chronographs remain misunderstood and underutilized by many.

Studies have shown that most of the consumers seeking out chronographs neither know how to operate them nor understand them. Some of the admirers have never even used the watches before. The chronograph usually features pushers that are used for controlling the stopwatch functions. There are many chronograph watch manufacturers and products on the market today, and this makes it a bit tedious to pick out one from the whole bunch. This review has bee put together to help you narrow down the list for an easier search.

How much should I expect to spend on a chronograph watch?

There are many different chronograph watches on the market and they come in a wide range of prices. You can get good budget models for less than $200 dollars while more expensive one is close to $1000. There is a category of watches that isn’t meant for the average person though. These watches are thousands of dollars in price. Hence, you can be sure of getting a watch for you no matter what your budget is.

What features should I consider in a budget chronograph watch?

Water resistant rating

The water-resistant rating of a chronograph is an important feature to consider when looking for a watch to buy. Make your choice depending on the level of exposure the watch is going to get. Looking at the water-resistant chart, you can choose from 3 ATM, which can only withstand accidental splashes to 100 ATM that is suitable for intergalactic travels and deep sea diving.

Pushers

Pushers are basically buttons on the watch used for starting, stopping, and resetting the chronograph function without actually interfering with the watch. The number of pushers may range from one to three, with three being the generally adopted design.

Chronographs have been relevant in the aviation, space and automotive world for years and these pieces of accessory are quite popular because of their usual stylish design and high level of functionality.

Movement

The movement of a chronograph watch refers to the mechanism that powers the complication of the watch and drives the hands. It is easy to ignore the movement of a watch, as it is not something you see immediately, but a person with an eye for detail would appreciate the mechanism behind the watch. There are various types of watch movements but the column wheel and the coulisse lever are the two most common movements. Column wheel movements are of higher quality and are usually more expensive than the coulisse lever.

Complications

The complications of a watch simply refer to any feature beyond displaying hours and minute. A watch indicating only hours and minute is considered to be simple movement. Chronographs are generally considered as the most recognizable complication on watches. Other complications to be found are alarms, chronographs, automatic winding, and day/date display. Therefore, consider the complication of the chronograph watch before making your purchase.

What are the more advanced features that I should consider in a high-end chronograph watch?

Case and Bezel

The case of the chronograph watch is the metal, or sometimes ceramic or plastic housing, which is used to contain all the various parts of the chronograph watch. This is also called the body, and it often affects the overall quality and price of the timepiece. Of course, this makes sense as a gold case will defer in price to a silver one.

The bezel is one of the most popular parts of a chronograph watch, or any watch really. It is the ring that surrounds the dial of the timepiece. There are different types of bezels, and they can be used for measuring distance, speed, and to track elapsed time. The bezel can be made of precious metals, which adds to the quality and the cost of the watch.

The case and bezel of the chronograph are two features you need to consider before getting a piece. Therefore, ensure you consider these two on your next trip to the chronograph store.

Crystal

The crystal is like the window into the watch. It is that clear cover that protects the dial and the other parts from debris, dust, and any other external element. The crystal is often made of acrylic, mineral, sapphire or glass, and each of them has different drawbacks and benefits. Sapphire is the most durable and expensive crystal, while acrylic is quite inexpensive and a lot less durable. Therefore, don’t just settle for any crystal, ensure you make a choice depending on your budget and preference.

Aesthetics

Although many people would rather consider the functionality of a watch before the aesthetics, it is still a vital feature to consider. The aesthetics of the chronograph watch has to deal with the design, the materials used, the way it sits on the wrist, and many more. A watch with a very high aesthetic value will look more classy and expensive than it really is, and it adds to your overall looks and style. Therefore, put the aesthetics in your considerations list – if you have one – before buying a chronograph watch.

1) TAG Heuer Monaco available for $3675 on Amazon

Key features
  • Sapphire crystal.
  • 100m water resistant.
  • 7-inch adjustable strap.
  • Self-winding automatic movement.
  • Blue dial.

TAG Heuer is one of the biggest and most reputable watchmakers around today with over a century and a half of experience. They have numerous high quality, premium products on the market and the TAG Heuer Monaco is one of the most popular, probably because Steve McQueen wore it in 1971. This chronograph watch features a blue dial that is a nice contrast with the body, making it look really stylish. It boasts a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with a high level of durability. The 7-inch adjustable leather strap and deployment buckle makes it sit perfectly on your wrist. It features a self-winding automatic movement, and luminescent markers and hands. The tradeoff to all these numerous exciting features is its very steep price, which isn’t that much of a surprise, as it is an epitome of a luxury watch.

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How does this item compare to other chronograph watches?

The TAG Heuer Monaco is a real luxury chronograph watch, which is evident in its features and price point. It has a 100m water resistance rating, which means it is suitable for swimming but not high-board diving. The sapphire crystal is highly durable and resistant to scratches, so your watch will maintain its glowing look for a long time. It has a 7-inch leather strap that is easily adjustable and makes for a comfortable use alongside the deployment buckle.

What's not so good about it?

It is quite difficult to get a flaw on this exquisite timepiece. It feels more like nitpicking, to be honest. The luminous property of the chronograph watch could be improved upon. Also, the steep price makes the watch inaccessible to many people. Another issue that some users have with this watch is the fact that it feels thick and heavy on the wrist. This is not a deal breaker though, only a factor of preference.

Pros:
  • The watch boasts a sapphire crystal that is very durable and resistant to scratches.
  • Its design gives it a high aesthetic value.
  • The adjustable leather strap gives you a comfortable feel.
  • It can be used for swimming and snorkeling.
Cons:
  • The watch is quite expensive.
  • It feels a bit thick and bulky on the wrist.
  • The luminous property could do with a bit of improvement.

2) Timex Expedition Field available for $53 on Amazon

Key features
  • INDIGLO backlight.
  • Mineral crystal.
  • 100m water resistant rating.
  • 10 years battery life.
  • Quartz movement and analog display.

Timex is another popular brand that manufactures top-of-the-line watches. The Timex Expedition Field is a highly functional chronograph watch that is easily accessible to everyone. It boasts a quartz movement with analog display, and it has an INDIGLO light-up watch dial. The chronograph watch boasts a battery life up to 10 years. It features a scratch resistant mineral crystal, which isn’t as durable as sapphire but is a lot better than acrylic. It also has a water-resistant rating of 100m. what’s more? You can get all these amazing features at a very affordable price.

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How does this item compare to other chronograph watches?

One of the most significant selling points of the Timex Expedition Field chronograph watch is the water-resistant rating of 100m, which is comparable to that of watches that are more expensive. This rating means that you can use the watch for snorkeling and swimming but not for board diving. The mineral crystal is quite durable and offers a decent level of resistance to scratch. The chronograph measures up to about 30 minutes, which is quite expensive for a watch in its price point. The strap materials are durable and offer options from fabric to leather for a more comfortable use.

What's not so good about it?

One of the most obvious flaws of this chronograph watch is the luminescence that is below average. Some users have complained about a slight misalignment in the chronograph hands, which doesn’t really affect the accuracy. Another issue that often comes up is the durability of the leather strap, as there have been complaints of it tearing after a few months of use. The watch is also a bit heavy, which may be a bit uncomfortable sometimes.

Pros:
  • It comes at a very affordable price.
  • The 100m water resistant rating is quite decent for its price point.
  • The mineral crystal is pretty durable and resistant to scratch.
  • It has a 10-year battery life, which is very impressive.
Cons:
  • The lume on the watch is below average.
  • Some users have complained about a slight misalignment in the chronograph hands.
  • The leather strap tends to tear too easily.
  • The chronograph watch is a bit heavy, which may be comfortable.

3) Seiko SNDC31 Classic Stainless Steel available for $93 on Amazon

Key features
  • 100m water resistant rating.
  • Japanese Quartz movement.
  • Analog display.
  • Croco-embossed leather band.

Seiko has been in the watchmaking industry for about 125 years and it is one of the few fully integrated watchmakers, and they develop their own movements with leading-edge tech. The SNDC31 Classic Stainless Steel is a top-quality chronograph watch that features cream-colored dials with numeral indices. It also features three chronograph subdials and the 38mm stainless steel case has a hardlex dial window. It also boasts Japanese quartz movement and a croco-embossed leather band that improves your overall experience. It has a water resistant rating of 100m, which is quite decent considering the fact that it is a budget-friendly chronograph watch.

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How does this item compare to other chronograph watches?

The biggest advantage of using the Seiko SNDC31 Classic Stainless Steel chronograph watch is its affordability, which is even more encouraging when you compare its features with those of more expensive watches. The water-resistant rating of 100m means you can use the watch for swimming and snorkeling but not board diving. It boasts a croco-embossed leather band, which offers a high level of comfort alongside the buckle closure. The watch has a classic design that is aesthetically pleasing, thereby adding to your overall style.

What's not so good about it?

Out of the box, it is obvious that the leather band is where Seiko saved money. Although the band feels comfortable, its durability is questionable, which is why some customers decide to change the band. Although the hands can retain light for a while, the lack of a backlight makes it unreadable at night. Also, the hands and the dial have the same color, so you may have to strain your eyes a little to read the watch properly even in bright light.

Pros:
  • The watch is comes at an affordable price.
  • The croco-embossed leather band is quite comfortable.
  • It has a classic design that is aesthetically pleasing.
  • The 100m water resistant rating means it is suitable for swimming and snorkeling.
Cons:
  • The quality of the band is a bit lacking.
  • It is a bit tedious to read at night because of the lack of backlight.
  • The hands and the dial are of the same color, which makes it a bit difficult to read the watch.

4) Casio Men's Heavy Duty available for $37 on Amazon

Key features
  • Resin band.
  • Heavy duty design.
  • Quartz movement.
  • Analog display.
  • 100m water resistant rating.

Casio is one of the household names in the wristwatch space, and the Men’s Heavy Duty chronograph watch is another one of their brilliant productions. As the name implies, the chronograph watch has a pretty heavy duty design that gives it a feel of sophistication and makes it look a lot more expensive than it actually is. It boasts a quartz movement and analog display. It has a water resistant rating of 100m, which puts it among the very best watches on the market. It also features a stainless steel case material, and the band is made from resin. That’s not all, you get all these features a low-budget price.

Image Source: Amazon

How does this item compare to other chronograph watches?

The biggest draw of the Casio Men’s Heavy Duty chronograph watch is its low price, which is almost shocking especially when you consider its impressive features. The watch can be used for snorkeling and swimming, as it has a 100m water resistant rating. It also features a mineral crystal, which improves the overall durability of the timepiece. Using the Men’s Heavy Duty watch is made convenient with the resin band and buckle.

What's not so good about it?

For its price, it is no surprise that this chronograph watch has a few flaws. The bezel is made of plastic material, which feels cheap and not very durable. Also, it doesn’t come with a backlight neither are the hands glow in the dark, so it is near impossible to read the watch at night. The durability of the band is also under question, as many users have complained about it coming loose after only a few months of use.

Pros:
  • It is one of the most affordable chronograph watches with great features.
  • You can use it for swimming and snorkeling because of its impressive water resistant rating.
  • It boasts a mineral crystal that improves its overall durability.
  • The resin band and buckle make it very comfortable on the wrist.
Cons:
  • The bezel is made of cheap plastic material, which isn't very durable.
  • The hands don't glow in the dark and it doesn't have a backlight, so reading it at night is tedious.
  • Some users have complained about the band coming off too easily.

5) Citizen Eco-Drive Titanium

Key features
  • Eco-Drive technology.
  • Perpetual calendar.
  • 200m water resistant rating.
  • Japanese Quartz movement.
  • Analog display.

Citizen Watch is a multibillion-dollar company with numerous top-of-the-line watches to their name. The Eco-Drive Titanium chronograph watch got its name from the Eco-Drive technology used in making the watch. It features a perpetual calendar, which is a unique feature that gives you a convenient user experience. The watch does not need any battery change and charges as you are using it. The Eco-Drive chronograph watch is eco-friendly, as it doesn’t leach chemicals to the surroundings like other watches that require a battery change. It is not the cheapest watch you will find, but its unique features and high functionality makes it a top choice among users.

Image Source: Amazon

How does this item compare to other chronograph watches?

The Citizen Eco-Drive Titanium chronograph watch has many impressive features. The perpetual calendar is quite unique and follows a 4-year cycle that makes it accurate till 2100. Pretty impressive right? You can also read the clock conveniently in the dark, and it can run for up to 7 years when fully charged. Another very impressive feature is the Eco-Drive technology used in making the watch that allows it to charge both in natural and artificial light. The 200m water resistant rating means you can use it for scuba diving and high impact water sports.

What's not so good about it?

One of the downsides of using this chronograph watch is the amount of time it takes to set it up, which isn’t really a surprise as it is a precision instrument. Another drawback is the fact that it features a mineral crystal, which is a bit disappointing for a watch of its caliber. Some users have complained of the rotational clicks of the bezel feeling cheap and loose.

Pros:
  • It has an impressive water resistant rating of 200m, which makes it suitable for scuba diving.
  • The perpetual calendar makes it acccurate till 2100.
  • The Eco-Drive tech makes it charge in both natural and artificial light.
  • You can read the watch easily in the dark.
Cons:
  • A sapphire crystal would have been more fitting for the watch.
  • It takes a bit of time to set it up.
  • The rotational clicks of the bezel feel cheap and loose.

6) Victorinox Swiss Army Maverick GS available for $695 on Amazon

Key features
  • Stainless steel bracelet.
  • Swiss quartz movement.
  • 100m water resistant rating.
  • Analog display.

Victorinox is a manufacturing company that is well known for their Swiss Army Knives. They also manufacture and supply top quality watches and the Swiss Army Maverick GS is one of their best chronograph watches. It features a stainless steel bracelet that gives you a firm feeling on your wrist. It also boasts a coin-edge bezel and black dial for an improved user experience. The stainless steel case features anti-reflective sapphire dial window. The Swiss Army Maverick GS features a Swiss quartz movement and an analog display. It is averagely priced for a chronograph watch.

Image Source: Amazon

How does this item compare to other chronograph watches?

The Victorinox Swiss Army Maverick GS chronograph watch has a water-resistant rating of 100m, which makes it suitable for snorkeling and swimming, although you can’t use it for your deep water dives. It is also made of high-quality stainless steel bracelet that gives it a look of class. The fold over clasp with safety gives you a firm but comfortable feeling. You can also read it conveniently in the dark because of its luminous quality.

What's not so good about it?

The watch comes a bit heavy, which may be a bit uncomfortable, though this shouldn’t be an issue as quality often comes heavy. Some users have complained of the chronograph not working sometimes. Some users have also complained that the watch seems to lose time, which is such a bummer considering its price point.

Pros:
  • It is an excellent option for snorkeling and swimming.
  • The stainless steel bracelet is quite durable.
  • You can read the watch in the dark.
  • The fold over clasp with safety gives it a firm and comfortable grip.
Cons:
  • The watch is a bit heavy.
  • Some users have complained about it losing time.
  • Some users have complained about the chronograph not working properly.

7) Fossil Men's 44mm Black Leather Band Steel Case

Key features
  • Leather band.
  • Quartz movement.
  • 50m water resistant rating.
  • Analog display.

Fossil is a manufacturer of watches and other accessories and the Men’s 44mm Black Leather Band Steel Case chronograph watch is one of the latest of their long line of top quality products. The watch has a 44mm case diameter, which is indicated in its name, as well as a leather band. It boasts a quartz movement and features an analog display system. The buckle at the end of the leather band gives it a comfy clasp. This chronograph watch is pocket-friendly, so you don’t have to break the bank to buy it.

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How does this item compare to other chronograph watches?

This chronograph watch features a stainless steel case that improves its durability. The luminous hands mean you can read the watch conveniently in the dark. The round shape and polished case finish improve its aesthetics, thereby adding to your overall style. The leather band and the buckle clasp make for a very comfortable experience.

What's not so good about it?

The Fossil Men’s 44mm Black Leather Band Steel Case does come with a few flaws, which isn’t at all shocking considering its price point. However, the 50m water resistant is pretty low considering the fact that some less expensive watches have higher water resistant ratings. Another issue with this watch is the leather band that seems to be made from cheap material thereby reducing the overall durability. The watch has a low resistance to scratches, which is also a bit of an issue for many users.

Pros:
  • The watch is very affordable.
  • It is readable even at night.
  • The round shape and polished case improve it aesthetics.
  • The watch is quite comfortable to use.
Cons:
  • The 50m water resistant rating is pretty low.
  • The leather band is not very durable.
  • The low scratch resistance is also an issue for some user.
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8) Hugo Boss Grand Prix available for $229 on Amazon

Key features
  • Mineral crystal.
  • 50m water resistant rating.
  • Stainless steel case.
  • Leather band.
  • Quartz movement.

Hugo Boss is another reputable brand that has many high-quality watches on the market. The Hugo Boss Grand Prix is a very functional watch from this watchmaker. It features a date calendar for an added experience, and the mineral crystal is scratch resistant and highly durable. The watch only has a water-resistant rating of 50m, which means it can only withstand shallow water or splashes. The stainless steel case and leather band complement each other perfectly to give the watch a classy look. It comes at a reasonable price, so you don’t have to pay big bucks to wear a quality watch.

Image Source: Amazon

How does this item compare to other chronograph watches?

One of its most significant advantages is its stylish looks, which can be attributed to its round design, synthetic leather band, and stainless steel case. The chronograph watch also features a date calendar that helps you keep track of the date, and the mineral crystal is very durable and resistant to scratch. The leather watch is quite comfortable to use, and it is reasonably priced.

What's not so good about it?

Perhaps the biggest drawback of using the Hugo Boss Grand Prix chronograph watch is the water resistant rating. A 50m rating for a watch at its price point is quite disappointing especially when you consider the fact that many less expensive watches have better ratings. The watch is also a bit heavy, which may prove to be a hindrance in some physical activities. The synthetic leather band is not very durable.

Pros:
  • The watch is aesthetically pleasing.
  • It has a date calendar for keeping track of the date.
  • The leather band is quite comfortable.
Cons:
  • The water resistant rating is too low for such a watch.
  • The watch is a bit on the heavy side.
  • The synthetic leather band is not really durable.

9) Tissot PRS 516 available for $1094 on Amazon

Key features
  • Leather band.
  • 100m water resistant rating.
  • Analog display.
  • Automatic movement.
  • Sapphire crystal.

Tissot is another reputable manufacturer of watches with a number of quality and highly functional watches to their name. The Tissot PRS 516 is one of their high-end chronograph watches and it deserves a mention on our list. The watch has a round shape that adds to the aesthetics. It boasts a fixed black ceramic showing tachymeter marking on the bezel and the movement is automatic. It also boasts a 100m water resistant rating that adds to its already high functionality. This chronograph watch is luxuriously priced, making it unaffordable for most people.

Image Source: Amazon

How does this item compare to other chronograph watches?

The round shape and leather band combined with the dark color of the watch make it a very beautiful timepiece. The 100m water resistant rating means you don’t have to worry about it getting damaged while swimming or snorkeling. It also boasts a sapphire crystal, which is highly durable and resistant to scratches. The butterfly flap featured on this chronograph watch is not often used on watches, giving it that unique look and adding to its overall style and user experience.

What's not so good about it?

The Tissot PRS 516 is a premium model chronograph watch, which is quite evident in its stylish look and high functionality. However, it has a few drawbacks, though they are not deal breakers. The steep price is the most significant of these drawbacks, as not many people can afford to get the timepiece. The watch is also quite heavy. Although this in itself isn’t a problem, as it is to be expected from such a high-class watch, the weight could become uncomfortable during physical activities. Some users have suggested that the leather band needs a bit more improvement.

Pros:
  • It features a butterfly flap that is quite comfortable and adds to its style.
  • The watch ca be used during your swimming or snorkeling sessions.
  • The watch is aesthetically pleasing.
  • The sapphire crystal is scratch resistant.
Cons:
  • The watch is on the pricey side.
  • It comes a bit heavy.
  • The leather band could be improved upon.

10) Bulova 47mm Precisionist available for $599 on Amazon

Key features
  • 300m water resistant rating.
  • Fold-over-clasp-with-safety.
  • Stainless steel case and band.
  • Analog display.
  • Japanese quartz movement.

The Bulova 47mm Precisionist is another watch that often comes up on any list of the top chronograph watches, and for good reasons. Just as the name implies, this timepiece is infinitely accurate and intricately designed. The chronograph is refined with a precision timing to about 1/1000th of a second. The case and band are made of stainless steel, and it has a stationary bezel. It features quartz movement and the water-resistant rating is a whopping 300m. It features a fold-over-clasp-with-safety that is quite comfortable. The Bulova 47mm Precisionist is not really a cheap watch but its impressive features make it look like one.

Image Source: Amazon

How does this item compare to other chronograph watches?

This chronograph watch from Bulova has some pretty impressive features. It has a water resistant rating of 300m, which you don’t see every day. The mineral crystal is scratch resistant and has a decent level of durability. Its stainless steel case and band complement each other to make it a beautiful timepiece. It features a fold-over-clasp-with-safety that makes it firm and comfortable on your wrist.

What's not so good about it?

One of the biggest disadvantages of using this chronograph watch is the space between the case and the bezel that collects dirt, thereby making it difficult to clean the watch. The window of the watch is very reflective, thereby causing unwanted reflection especially when you want to read the watch under direct sunlight. The luminescence quality of the watch is weak, making it a bit difficult to read it at night.

Pros:
  • The 300m rating makes it a top choice water resistant watch.
  • The clasp is quite sturdy and comfortable.
  • It boasts a mineral crystal that is durable and scratch resistant.
  • The stainless steel case and band make it a beauty.
Cons:
  • There is a space between the case and the bezel where dirt hide.
  • The highly reflective window makes reading under direct sunlight inconvenient.
  • The watch has a weak luminescence, so you may find it difficult to read it at night.

In conclusion...

Watches are mainstays in our everyday lives and their importance cannot be overemphasized. Unlike most other watches, chronograph watches offer more than just checking the time. They include a stopwatch feature that improves their functionality. It is, however, difficult to get a good chronograph watch these days if you don’t know the right things to look out for. This is because of the increasing number of products on the market. Before you decide on a chronograph watch to buy, you need to consider the water resistant rating, the movement, the crystal, the case, the bezel, and so on. Suffice to say, there are many features you need to consider.

If you do not have time to go through multiple watches one after the other, comparing features, you can just take a look at the chronograph watches reviewed here, as they are all some of the best you will find on the market.