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The best chronograph watches for every budget and style

These timeless men's watches will look great on your wrist

TAG Heuer Carrera face
TAG Heuer / TAG Heuer

In the realm of horology, where craftsmanship meets sophistication, one type of timepiece stands as a testament to precision and versatility: the chronograph watch. But what is a chronograph watch, you might ask? It’s not merely a piece of jewelry; it’s a marvel that marries the elegance of a wristwatch with the functionality of a stopwatch. This exquisite blend of form and function has solidified the chronograph watch as an icon of style and utility.

In this article, we’re delving into the world of timekeeping and presenting you with a curated list of the best five chronograph watches. These timepieces span across various styles and budgets, ensuring that every enthusiast finds their perfect match. So, whether you’re drawn to luxury, seeking affordability, or yearning for a specific style, this guide is your compass to navigating the world of chronograph watches with finesse.

IWC Portofino Chronograph close up
IWC Scaffhausen / IWC Scaffhausen

IWC Schaffhausen Portofino Chronograph 39

The Portofino Chronograph 39 is a true embodiment of elegance and functionality. With its slightly reduced case diameter of 39 millimeters, this timepiece strikes a harmonious balance between classic Portofino design and a sporty chronograph complication. Crafted with a stainless steel case, it exudes durability and refinement. The silver-plated dial, adorned with rhodium-plated hands and appliques, creates a stunning contrast that catches the eye.

But it’s not just about aesthetics; beneath the surface lies the heart of Swiss craftsmanship. Powered by the IWC-manufactured 69355 caliber chronograph movement, this watch offers the capability to measure stop times of up to 30 minutes. The column-wheel design of the chronograph is visible through the sapphire glass case back, revealing the intricate mechanism that enables precision timekeeping.

Ensuring versatility and comfort, the Portofino Chronograph 39 features a beige calfskin strap equipped with a quick-change system, allowing effortless strap exchanges. This timepiece is more than just a watch; it’s a fusion of sportiness and elegance that adapts to your lifestyle.

TAG Heuer Carrera close up
TAG Heuer / TAG Heuer

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16

The revamped classic, TAG Heuer Carrera, beautifully showcases the brand’s signature design with sporty upgrades and ergonomic enhancements that pay homage to the strength of its character. The watch boasts a black dial featuring sporty red accents and numerals, presented in a distinctive new font. Its 44mm steel case is paired with a ceramic bezel, creating a visually striking and robust combination. This timepiece is powered by the Calibre 16 automatic movement, offering a power reserve of 42 hours.

The TAG Heuer Carrera’s on-the-go refinement is amplified by the steel H-shape bracelet, making a bold statement on the wrist. Water-resistant up to 100 meters, the watch is equipped to withstand the demands of an active lifestyle. The fixed ceramic bezel adds a touch of sophistication and durability to the timepiece, while the case back is made of steel, ensuring structural integrity.

With the ability to measure stop times with precision, the Carrera Calibre 16 Automatic offers a chronograph function with a 1/4-second, 30-minute counter, and 12-hour counter. The watch also displays hours, minutes, and the date. The combination of sportiness, elegance, and technical excellence in this TAG Heuer Carrera makes it a daring and exceptional choice for those who seek style and performance in their timekeeping companion.

SEIKO Prospex chronograph close up
SEIKO / SEIKO

SEIKO Prospex Speedtimer SSC917P1

The Seiko Prospex SSC917 chronograph watch is like a fusion of sporty vibes and classic elegance, all packed into a compact 39mm case. The iridescent green Lumibrite accents against the black case are like peering through a night vision scope, adding a touch of intrigue to your wrist game. But it’s not just about the looks; this watch means business.

What makes this chronograph really pop? The bracelet is a work of art with its combo of hairline and smooth polishing along with curved sapphire glass; it’s a statement piece on your wrist. There’s also Lumibrite on the hands and indexes, meaning you’ve got a green glow that is not just stylish, it’s super functional. You know, green is the king of visibility in the dark, and paired with the deep grey dial, you’ve got unparalleled legibility. Under the hood, you’ve got the V192 solar movement, giving you accurate timekeeping within ±15 seconds per month. It’s got your back for about six months on a full charge, so no worries there. And the features? Chronograph up to 60 minutes, a 24-hour hand, small seconds, a power reserve indicator, and even a date display – this watch has got you covered.

The rugged stainless steel case is coated to handle the rough and tumble, and with 10 bar water resistance, it’s not afraid of a little splash. Plus, that curved sapphire crystal has an anti-reflective coating for crystal-clear views. Tachymeter function? Yup, got it. And when you flip it over, you’ve got a screw case back.

Citizen World Chronograph close up
Citizen / Citizen

Citizen World Chronograph A-T Blue Angels Edition

Introducing the Citizen Eco-Drive Radio-Controlled Chronograph World Timer, affectionately known as the Blue Angels edition. This remarkable timepiece is a true fusion of style and functionality. Designed in honor of the Blue Angels flight squadron, it proudly bears their official logo on the dial and case back. Crafted with attention to detail, the watch features a stainless steel case with a striking blue ion-plated bezel. The non-reflective sapphire crystal not only enhances legibility but also ensures durability with its impact and shatter-resistant qualities.

It boasts a range of impressive features, including atomic timekeeping in 26 world cities, offering radio-controlled accuracy across five different time zones. The 1/20 second chronograph can measure up to 60 minutes, while the perpetual calendar and 12/24 hour time display add to its practicality. The power reserve indicator ensures you’re always in the know about its energy status. With a water resistance of 200 meters, this watch is ready for swimming, showering, and snorkeling adventures. So, whether you’re flying high like the Blue Angels or keeping it grounded, this watch is the perfect co-pilot.

OMEGA Speemaster Moon Chronograph close up
OMEGA / OMEGA

Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch

The legendary Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch is a timepiece that’s not just iconic but historic; it’s been a part of all six moon landings. Talk about a cosmic achievement! This watch is like a symbol of adventure and innovation for the brand. Crafted from stainless steel and presented on a brushed five-arched-links-per-row bracelet, it’s a nod to the heritage of moon exploration.

With a 42 mm diameter, this Chronograph features hesalite glass on the front, giving it a distinctive touch. Flip it over, and you’ll find an embossed Seahorse medallion on the case back, like a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. Inspired by the 4th generation Speedmaster style worn on the moon, it boasts an asymmetrical case and black step dial.

Inside the heart of this timepiece is the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 3861. It’s like the conductor of a precision orchestra, powering the small seconds sub-dial, 30-minute recorder, 12-hour recorder, and the central chronograph function. With anti-magnetic superpowers, chronograph capabilities, chronometer certification, and more, it’s got all the bells and whistles. And that 50-meter water resistance? It’s like a passport to aquatic adventures. Omega didn’t just create a chronograph watch; they crafted a piece of space history that defies limits.

Sarah Veldman
Sarah has been a freelance writer for over 7 years now, having started while she was living out of a suitcase and traveling…
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