A chronograph watch is always a great option. This type of timepiece offers a perfect combination of functionality and looks. A chronograph is a versatile watch that comes in a variety of forms. All the top watch brands sell their own chronograph watches, with some selling dive watches, others selling dress watches, and some brands selling tool watches.
For a watch to be defined as being a chronograph watch, then it needs to have an in-built stopwatch. Some chronograph watches will have two dials, one focusing on seconds, and the other focusing on minutes, usually with a limit of 30 minutes. These dials truly enhance the look of a watch.
Many people purchase chronographs because of their looks, only ever using the chronograph function to ensure that they don’t overcook their dinner. The very best chronograph will always deliver accurate time thanks to a high-quality movement, offer comfort due to a well-designed strap, and be visually impressive too.
To ensure that you choose the best chronograph watch for your needs, then consider this list of the ten best chronograph watches, as well as the buying guide that follows it. Then, you should be in a good position to invest your hard-earned dollars safely.
View The Best Chronograph Watch Below
1. TAG Heuer Men’s Monaco
This watch will be well known to fans of Steve McQueen, as he wore it in the famous film, Le Mans. It was, remarkably, the very first chronograph to feature a square shape, as opposed to a standard round face. As you’d expect and hope for from Tag Heuer, it keeps perfect time, is comfortable to wear, and looks beautiful. It has a hard-wearing stainless steel case with a diameter of 39mm.
The black strap is made of leather. Also, this watch has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal dial window, which is just another feature that ensures you’ll be investing your money in the long-term. There are two chronograph dials, one that offers you 60 seconds, and the other that offers you 30 minutes. This is an iconic chronograph that has stood the test of time; it’s an excellent choice for anyone seeking quality, style, and accurate timekeeping.
+ Iconic watch once worn by Steve McQueen
+ Two chronograph dials
+ Safe investment
+ Stunning looks
+ Sapphire crystal
Why We Liked It – It’s a classic timepiece that has been popular for over half a century because it looks good, is durable, and keeps impeccable time thanks to the Swiss-made, caliber 11 movements.
2. Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona
Rolex epitomizes luxury. And this watch, with its platinum case and Oyster bracelet, is certainly luxurious. The price reflects that luxuriousness. A Rolex is a safe investment for any watch collector. The chronograph functions are highly accurate – down to 1/8 of a second – and are easily activated by pushers that can be screwed down when they’re not being used, so the watch remains sleek when it’s been worn normally.
This Rolex Daytona watch can be worn underwater – it offers effective resistance to a depth of 100m. It has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. As this is a mechanical watch – with a 4130 caliber Rolex movement – it has a power reserve of 72 hours. It’s an exceptional timepiece that is well worth the money.
+ Gorgeous, luxury watch
+ Highly accurate chronograph down to 1/8 of a second
+ 4130 caliber movement
+ Water-resistant to 100m
+ Platinum case and bracelet
Why We Liked It – This is Rolex’s best chronograph in terms of beauty. The platinum case and bracelet work perfectly with the ice blue dial. It’s pure luxury that is highly recommended to any serious watch collector.
3. Zenith El Primero
This Zenith chronograph is a special watch, indeed. Its looks offer a perfect compromise between elegance and athleticism, making it an ideal watch to be worn for work or play. It has a gorgeous silver dial that incorporates eye-catching, yet understated rose-gold elements. The El Primero also features water resistance, so you can wear it while swimming, as long as you don’t go deeper than 100m.
The 42mm case is made from stainless steel, while the bezel is made from 18ct rose gold, both complementing each other very well. It has a black leather strap that is both comfortable and durable. There are three different chronograph counters with their own dials and colors, with one blue, one black, and one silver. The crystal is made from sapphire, meaning that it’s both resistant to scratching and reflection.
+ Three chronograph counters
+ Water resistance to 100m
+ Elegant and sporty looks
+ 42mm stainless steel case
Why We Liked It – The Zenith El Primero is simply one of the best chronograph watches on the market. It’s a safe investment that offers a lot of versatility, allowing you to wear it in both smart and casual environments.
4. Hublot Big Bang Ferrari
Hublot is synonymous with quality. That’s why you always see a Hublot watch on Floyd Mayweather’s wrist. And, just like the unbeaten boxer, Hublot never lets you down, always delivering a winning performance. This is a stunning watch. The titanium case has a substantial diameter of 45mm that is round and has a skeleton back. The bezel is also made from titanium and has a lug that’s made of black and red composite resin.
As always, with Hublot, the strap is unique too, and it’s made from a combination of Alcantra and rubber, with red stitching to top it off. The clasp is also made from satin-finished titanium. This is a luxurious, eye-catching watch that has a Ferarri applique, making it the choice for car enthusiasts who want to get accurate timekeeping.
+ Titanium 45mm case
+ Alcantra and rubber strap
+ Water resistance up to 100m
+ Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
+ Stunning looks
Why We Liked It – Hublot makes fantastic watches, and this chronograph is a perfect example of that fine quality. It looks spectacular, but it’s also highly functional, as well as durable and comfortable to wear.
5. Omega Speedmaster
The Omega Speedmaster is one of those watches that has a special place in history. After all, there aren’t any other chronograph watches that have been worn on the moon. This limited edition Omega Speedmaster features some premium materials that you won’t find on many other watches.
It has a sand-blasted 950 platinum dial that also comes with two sub-dials built into it, which distinguishes it from the previous Speedmaster that was worn on the moon all those years ago. The brushed ceramic bezel is made even more eye-catching, thanks to the fact that the numbers and marks on it have been engraved and then filled with Super-LumiNova so you can see them in the dark. It also has a grey leather strap.
+ Classic Speedmaster with a twist
+ Made from high-grade materials
+ Two chronograph dials
+ Omega Co-Axial 9300 Caliber movement
Why We Liked It – The Omega Speedmaster is one of the world’s most enduringly popular luxury chronographs. This one is a variation on the classic model. It looks fantastic and is as dependable as you’d hope it would be.
6. Tag Heuer Carrera
The original Tag Heuer Carrera came out back in 1963. It got its name from the famous Carrera auto race that was universally recognized as being the most dangerous in the world. This Carrera chronograph from Tag Heuer is a very modern watch. It has a 45mm case that is made from a fine-brush and polished titanium that has been coated in black PVD. The crystal is made from sapphire. It’s also been treated so that you don’t get any reflection on it.
The 30-minute counter chronograph is accurate down to 1/4 of a second. This watch has a 02T caliber Heuer movement that is well-known for its accuracy. It’s an automatic chronograph that has a power reserve of 65 hours. The strap is another eye-catching feature that’s made from black calf’s skin, and it’s complemented by a folding clasp buckle.
+ Part of the famous Carrera series
+ Comfortable to wear
+ Large, 45mm, titanium case
+ Accurate chronograph function
+ Tachymeter scale
Why We Liked It – It’s a Carrera, which means that there’s a lot to like about it. This model is particularly pleasing when it comes to its appearance and will suit your look, whatever it is.
7. Franck Muller Vanguard
This automatic chronograph from Franck Muller has a look like no other. The design is truly unique. It’s an excellent choice for anyone who loves grey, as it has a grey camouflage dial, grey luminescent hands, a grey outline, and a grey rubber strap with a grey top. This may be a lot of greys, but it doesn’t matter, as this creates a very eye-catching aesthetic that’s very original indeed. The dial features a date window at the 6 o’clock position.
It also has a chronograph function, offering sweeping seconds that’s fluid and good-looking. There is also a 30-minute counter at the 3 o’clock position. It’s splash resistant, too, as it will work when submerged in water to a depth of 30m. The case has a diameter of 45mm, and it’s made from brushed titanium, making it durable, as well as enhancing the look of this watch. It has a Swiss automatic movement that will deliver accurate time.
+ Beautiful grey design
+ Swiss automatic movement
+ Comfy strap
+ Brushed titanium case
+ Deployment buckle
Why We Liked It – This is a truly unique watch. There aren’t many that look like this one at all. But it also has a very effective automatic movement that ensures you’ll get perfect time.
8. Omega Seamaster
This Omega Seamaster is part of the Planet Ocean line which was first created in 2005. That means that it isn’t just a chronograph watch, but it’s also a dive watch. As a dive watch, it offers a substantial amount of water resistance, and it can easily function when submerged to a depth of 600m.
There’s also a helium escape valve, so the watch continues to work when you decompress. The dial is made from a sand-blasted Grade 5 titanium that looks amazing, and the case is made from the same material and has a diameter of 45.5mm.
The bezel is innovative too – it’s the very first bezel to be made from grey silicone nitrate ceramic, as well as orange rubber. The strap is made from structured rubber offering enhanced durability, as you’d hope from a functional dive watch. This chronograph watch has to be seen to believed.
+ Water resistance to 600m
+ Chronograph movement
+ Unique bezel
+ Will function reliably as a dive watch
+ Large titanium case
Why We Liked It – The Omega Seamaster is the best choice as a chronograph watch. But, it’s also suitable for anyone who wants the option to use it as a dive watch, too, as that’s exactly what this watch is built for.
9. Timex Men’s Expedition Field Chronograph Watch
If you’re looking for a budget-priced chronograph, then this watch from Timex is a superb option. Despite the low price, it still has a genuine leather strap, and also a highly effective, 30-minute chronograph function that measures to 1/20th of a second. It has a gorgeous black dial with a lovely date window built into it at the 4 o’clock area. The Arabic numerals also help to enhance this watch’s looks.
The case is made from brass and has a diameter of 43mm. This watch can also be worn underwater without any worries, as it offers water resistance up to 100m. Another luxury feature of this low-priced watch is the scratching-resistant sapphire crystal. It also has an analog Quartz movement so that you can be certain that it will keep accurate and precise time.
+ Genuine brown leather strap
+ Black dial
+ Date window
+ Quartz movement
+ Affordable price
Why We Liked It – This rugged watch can be worn outdoors while camping just as easily as it can be worn with a suit. But the very best feature of this chronograph watch is the low price, meaning it offers superb value for money.
10. Fossil Men’s Grant Quartz
This one is another affordable chronograph watch with a Quartz movement. It has three luminous hands so that you can check the time in the dark. The 44mm case is made from stainless steel, although it’s been painted blue to give it an eye-catching look. It goes very well with the blue dial that has Roman numerals. Both of these blue features are complemented by the brown buckle-clasped leather strap.
This Fossil watch offers water resistance down to a depth of 50m, which is more than enough for most uses. The chronograph movement is highly accurate and easy to operate, too. It’s a great watch for the money – it looks far more expensive than it actually is. The Quartz movement is always dependable when it comes to keeping time.
+ Water resistance
+ Strap made from genuine leather
+ Affordable price
+ Quartz movement
+ Three hands
Why We Liked It – If you’re looking for a chronograph watch that is a cheap alternative to a Zenith El Primero, then this one definitely should be considered, as it keeps perfect time and looks great too.
Chronograph Watch Buyer’s Guide
Choosing a new watch is always an exciting time. Not only are you looking for a timepiece that will ensure you’re never late for work or to a meeting with a friend, but you’re also searching for a piece of jewelry that you’ll wear on your wrist every single day. That means it’ll have to tick a lot of boxes before you’re able to hand over your dollars to a salesperson.
Before you can choose the specific watch you want, you have to narrow down what type of watch it is that you’re going to look for. If you’re here, then you’ve decided to go for a chronograph watch. This is a fantastic choice. But chronograph watches come in different styles, different shapes, with different bracelets, and even offer different chronograph functions.
To make sure that you choose the very best chronograph, then you need to keep an eye out for certain features.
Of course, with every watch, the looks are important. A watch does more than tell time. It tells the world about what sort of person you are, too. It’s an important element of any person’s style. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so no one can tell you exactly what will type of chronograph watch will catch your eye, but this buying guide will outline the various different parts of the chronograph and how they may alter in appearance. You can then go away and have a look at watches with elements that have piqued your fancy.
The best place with any watch to begin when considering looks is the dial. This is the center-piece of every watch. When it comes to the dial, then you need to think about color first of all. Some people swear by a classic black dial. Other people prefer something more daring; perhaps they want pink, turquoise, or purple. The most important thing to remember is that you have a choice when it comes to the dial.
There is a huge range of colors available. So make sure you pick a color that you like. Yes, you might find a watch that ticks all your boxes, but if it has a dial that you don’t like the color of, then don’t choose this watch. You will find one that does have the right dial. There are so many amazing watches around, you never need to settle.
On a chronograph, you will find that the main dial has two small sub-dials. These dials can time through the chronograph function. One dial will likely represent a minute, with 60 increments for every second. The other dial will focus on minutes and will often have a limit of 30 minutes. These dials are usually set into the main dial.
They can greatly affect the looks of a watch depending on where they are placed on the chronograph, how big they are, and their color. You may find that the main dial is one color, and then each sub-dial has a different color. As with everything, when it comes to looks, you should only pick a watch that has sub-dials that you like the look of.
This is another feature that will affect the look of your watch and may infringe upon your dial. As you’re choosing a chronograph, then the main dial will already have sub-dials to be used when the chronograph function is in operation. If you add a date window to the dial then the dial is more crowded.
Some people like this, whereas others feel that it sullies the dial, and is perhaps not important enough to be included. Just remember, a date window is not a standard feature on a chronograph, so only pick a chronograph with this feature if it appeals.
Now it’s time to look at the case of the chronograph. Once again, this is hugely important when it comes to the appearance of the watch.
Firstly, the case will come in a huge range of sizes. Fans of chunky watches may love a case that is 45mm or bigger, and others prefer smaller watches. People believe that a chronograph is a watch design for men. But this isn’t true. Chronographs are unisex. It is true, however, that men tend to prefer larger cases.
The second variable, when it comes to the case on a chronograph watch, is its depth. Once again, this varies a lot. The bigger the case, the heavier the watch, and you should always remember this if you’re buying online. A large watch will be heavier. You need to make sure that you’re going to want such a chunky watch on your wrist all day.
The third important element of the case is its shape. When it comes to chronographs, you can find anything from a round case to a triangle case or a square case. The options are unlimited. Of course, a round case is standard for a chronograph, but if you like things a bit different, then you should perhaps consider a square case, for example, like the classic Tag Heuer Monaco that was worn many years ago by Steve McQueen in Le Mans, one of his most famous films.
The fourth area where cases are different from each other is the material that it’s made from. Stainless steel is probably the most common material. Stainless steel is also popular for many reasons. It’s a durable, hard-wearing material, which is also quite light. A stainless steel case looks good, too.
It has stood the test of time. It’s a classic material, and that’s why you’ll often find chronographs with a stainless steel case. You’ll find that other material, and the type of material will also alter the price. Some Rolexes are made from yellow gold or platinum – this will push the price up.
The bracelet is another area that varies hugely from watch to watch. You can find a chronograph that has a leather strap, a nylon strap, or a stainless steel bracelet. The latter is very common when the chronograph has a stainless steel case, as they complement each other perfectly. Rolex watches often feature a beautiful Oyster bracelet made from stainless steel alloys.
The bracelet can contribute to both looks and comfort. And again, it is a matter of taste as to whether you opt for a stainless steel bracelet or strap made from leather, or another material that’s more comfortable.
Of course, if the strap is leather rather than stainless steel, then you’ll have different options in terms of color. Don’t always think that a stainless steel case requires a stainless steel bracelet. It isn’t true. A stainless steel case can go just as well with a leather band. A perfect example of this is the classic Tag Heuer Monaco watch.
A bezel is not always standard on a chronograph, but it’s a very common feature. A bezel will come in a variety of materials. Some brands will use stainless steel for their bezels, while other brands might use ceramic. The color of the bezel will vary from watch to watch. If you don’t think you’ll use the bezel function, then you can select a watch that has a fixed, unmovable bezel, or a watch that doesn’t have a bezel.
The hands-on watch will vary in number. You might have three hands, or you might have two hands. If it has three hands, you may find that the second’s hand offers you a sweeping movement. This looks good, but it may be distracting for some people, so you may choose not to have hands with this movement on your watch. Hands may also be luminescent, which is a good feature for anyone who tends to use their watch to check the time at night.
If you’re buying your first chronograph, or maybe even your first watch, then you might not know much about the practical features that a chronograph will offer you. The following are some of the more technical parts of a chronograph that you should look out for.
The movement inside a watch is the most complex and complicated element found inside it. It is, of course, responsible for keeping time. There are two main movements; a mechanical movement and a Quartz movement. When it comes to a mechanical movement, you will also find that some have an automatic movement. Unlike a Quartz movement watch, a mechanical watch does not have a battery – and this means that the watch needs to be wound.
With an automatic movement, this winding is done via the movement of your wrist, so if you’re wearing the watch, then you don’t need to wind it, but if you’re not wearing it, then at some point it will need to be wound. How long it takes until you do need to wind it will depend on the power reserve.
Inside a chronograph watch, there will either be one single movement, or there will be a movement for time-keeping and a chronograph movement for the chronograph function. If the watch has two movements – or even three movements – inside it, then it will require more internal machinery, and these multiple movements will contribute to the watch being much larger and heavier.
Some movements have better reputations than others. One key difference in terms of movements is whether the movement has been made in-house or if it has been bought from another manufacturer or designer. For example, Rolex makes all of its movements in-house, whereas cheaper watch brands tend to buy in their movements from an external manufacturer.
A good movement will affect the quality of time that you get. It will also affect the price you pay. A mechanical movement is always more expensive than a Quartz movement, simply because it takes more effort to design and costs more money to make, as it requires more expertise from the watchmaker.
Some chronograph watches will offer water resistance, especially if they’re diving watches. This water resistance varies a huge amount depending on the watch. In some cases, you can get down to 300m or more and the watch functions perfectly. Some will allow you to go even deeper, especially if they have been designed to be used by deepsea divers.
Then again, there are some chronograph watches that will only offer a very limited amount of water resistance, and can only be splashed. If water gets into the movements with this type of watch then it’s done for. Make sure to pick a watch that offers enough water resistance for your needs and purposes.
What is the point of a chronograph watch?
The first point of a chronograph watch is to tell time. This is the same for any watch. Whether it’s a chronograph or not, a Seiko or a Tag Heuer, they all have one central design point in mind, which is to tell time. But, of course, a chronograph watch does much more than just tell time. It also features a chronograph option which allows you to use the watch as a stopwatch. You can use it to time a lap of a sprinter or you can use it to ensure that you don’t boil an egg for too long.
Are chronograph watches more expensive than other watches?
A chronograph watch isn’t necessarily more expensive than a non-chronograph watch. It simply depends on the watch itself. For example, a Tag Heuer watch is likely to cost you more than a Seiko watch, regardless of if it is a chronograph or not. It always depends on how intricate the design of the movement is, as well as what materials the watch has been manufactured from.
An automatic chronograph will be more expensive than a digital chronograph. That’s because an automatic chronograph watch functions through the movement of the person’s wrist, converting their kinetic energy into power. Of course, this means that an automatic chronograph requires a more complicated design, and this translates into a bigger price tag.
How do you use a chronograph watch?
It’s very simple to operate a chronograph watch, regardless of if it’s an automatic chronograph or a digital chronograph. There will be a stop/start button on the side of the watch that can be pressed to start the stopwatch function on the chronograph.
Is a chronograph best worn with casual clothing or smart clothing?
As a chronograph is used as a stopwatch, your first thought might be that it’s purely a sports watch that will only suit casual clothing. But this first thought would be wrong. Take, for example, the Breitling Navitimer. This gorgeous watch could just as easily be worn with a suit or a t-shirt and shorts.
Over the years, chronographs have been the watch of choice of some of the world’s most stylish people. The reason why people like Steve McQueen and Paul Newman loved these watches so much was because of their versatility, as well as their practicality. You get both when you wear a chronograph.
Forget if it’s an automatic chronograph or a digital chronograph. Forget about all the complicated features that the watch offers. Forget it all for a moment. The most important thing is do you like the way that the watch looks? If you don’t, then you’re never going to get it, so don’t waste your time on it.
It doesn’t matter if it took the watchmaker twenty years to design it. See it for what it is. It’s your next watch. It will be worn on your wrist for years. The best watch for you is the one that you think looks the best.
Did you know?
The very first chronograph was created over 200 years ago. Louis Moinet was the man responsible for its design. And he was only able to design this watch thanks to the help of astronomical equipment.
That’s it. Now you’re in a position to choose the best chronograph for your needs. A watch that features a design that you find attractive above all else. It will, of course, feature a good-quality movement that ensures that you keep accurate time. An accurate automatic movement is a big plus.
Comfort and durability shouldn’t be forgotten either. But aesthetics are the most important design feature. You have to see and think: “I want that on my wrist.” If you don’t then move on to another watch. But if you do, then you’ve found your next watch.