A chronograph is not for every guy. It’s the variety of watches that makes you look like you’re into timepieces unless the pushers and subdials don’t function and are just for display. Every serious chronograph has a complicated automatic movement (complication), and they were designed to function as a stopwatch with a sweep secondhand driven by additional gears within that movement. Sure, you can find a cheap imitation that looks the part, but there are also more affordable alternatives that are authentic, as well as watches that cost tens of thousands of dollars.
What Is A Chronograph? Why do you get one?
First, we must define what a chronograph is. Simply put, it’s a stopwatch that’s built into your watch. Most chronographs have two pushers: one for starting and stopping the timer and another for resetting it, as well as subdials/registers for measuring the elapsed minutes and, in some cases, hours. The chronograph seconds hand is triggered when the “start” pusher is pushed, and it records the seconds up to one minute.
The minutes register records the minute at that moment, while the second’s hand continues to log time until the minutes and hours registers are full. So, why would you require anything like this? There are a couple of explanations for this. First and foremost, chronographs are extremely useful. You’d be surprised how much you’ll need to time something, whether it’s doing laundry, cooking, or jogging rest time between sets in a workout. Second, and there’s no elegant way to say it, chronographs are simply cool.
Many celebrities such as the two “Kings of Cool,” Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, are remembered for their iconic chronograph watches, which have been used widely in the fields of motorsports, aviation, and even space exploration. Isn’t it about time you had one as well?
Chronographs come in a variety of styles, from simple stopwatches to Haute horology.
Simple The most basic chronograph is the simple chronograph, which is the one you’ll see the most. A chronograph with two pushers, normally at the two and four o’clock positions, is known as a chronograph. When pressed once, the top pusher usually starts the chronograph and stops it when pressed again while it’s working. The chronograph and any registers that we’re monitoring are reset by pressing the button pusher.
The monopusher is a relatively uncommon form of the chronograph. These movements require some ingenious engineering, as they depend on a single pusher — often even housed inside the crown — to start, stop, and reset the chronograph, resulting in a nondescript and uncluttered design.
The flyback chronograph is another uncommon form of the chronograph. Pressing the reset pusher while the chronograph is working would either do nothing or cause the movement to be messed up. However, pressing the reset pusher while the chronograph is working will cause the second’s hand to “flyback” to zero and begin counting again immediately. This complexity comes in handy when pacing several times, such as laps around a race track.
The rattrapante, or split-seconds chronograph, is the most complicated and uncommon form of the chronograph. Two chronograph seconds hands are stacked, one on top of the other in this style of movement. Pressing a pusher (the position of which varies depending on the model) causes one of these seconds hands to “break” away, marking whatever time you want to log. Meanwhile, the other second’s hand continues to clock the passing of time unabated.
When you’re done, click your pusher again, and your split-seconds hand will immediately catch up to its twin and resume its distinct sweep until called upon again. Chronographs have always been a collector’s favorite, and in recent years, they’ve seen an incredible surge in popularity. This is unsurprising since no other watch allows the consumer to observe the watch’s inner workings in the same holistic way that chronographs do.
Almost all of our senses are engaged in the ritual of pacing, stopping, and resetting to zero. Their visual presentation often distinguishes them from other timepieces. The proliferation of dials, pointers, scales, and crowns allows for greater functionality and design ingenuity. As a result, some of the most renowned classics in the history of horology were made. Here are the world’s eight most important, classic, and most likely best chronographs.
Breitling Superocean Heritage II Chronograph
|Dimension||6.6 x 5.5 x 4 inches|
|Glass||Scratch Resistant Sapphire|
|Strap||Mesh Stainless Steel|
The huge 44mm Superocean Chrono looks good from any perspective, and it’s one of those watches that you can wear at any time of day or night and look good doing it. The automatic Chrono is water-resistant to 200 meters and comes with a rice bead style mesh bracelet that is easy to wear and beautiful to look at. The bezel and markers are both lumed for excellent visibility, which is a good thing because you’ll want to look at it all the time.
Seiko Men’s SNN241 Stainless Steel Watch
Seiko is a watchmaker known for producing high-quality, long-lasting wristwatches. The Seiko is a handsome sporty chronograph with two subdials and a date window at 6 o’clock, though it is smaller than the Michael Kors Gage at 42.6mm in diameter. The recessed inner dial contrasts with the marked outer bezel ring, and the chrono’s 100-meter depth rating means it’s ready for more than just showing off.
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Luminox 3081 Men’s EVO Colormark Chronograph Watch
You’re an unassuming office worker throughout the day, but with this dark, mil-spec chronograph, you could pretty much go all sneaky at night. With a wide 44mm case and a polyurethane harness, the Evo is designed to withstand 200 meters of depth. A Swiss quartz movement and a high-visibility dial are hidden under the dial. The borosilicate gas cylinders act as self-illuminating markers, allowing you to navigate your task with ease. You won’t even need to take off your gloves, thanks to the huge knurled bezel and chrono pushers.
Invicta Men’s Specialty 45mm Stainless Steel Chronograph
This is how you can get a tough chronograph that looks like the Breitling Superocean for a fraction of the price from a company renowned for its value. The triple silver-ringed subdials display 60-second, 30 minute, and day of the week, and the bold 45mm case has a huge presence. On the strong bracelet, we love the expanded numerals and polished ties. We may even like it more because of the price.
Tissot Men’s T0954173603700 Rose Gold-Tone Chronograph Watch
|Glass:||Anti reflective sapphire|
A round timepiece with tachymeter markings on the bezel, three chronograph subdials, and a magnified date window at 4 o’clock is a must-have for expensive taste people. Anti Reflective sapphire dial window in a 42 mm rose gold-tone case. Quartz movement with an analog display from Switzerland. Leather band with croc embossing and buckle closure.
Waterproof up to 30 meters, can only tolerate splashes or brief immersion in water, but not swimming.
The ultra-stylish white dial, tachymeter bezel, and gold ring subdials give this Chronograph the appearance of costing thousands of dollars. However, the sapphire glass crystal belies the sub-$300 price tag, and the Swiss quartz Chrono movement provides measuring precision. The look finishes off with a black leather strap with contrast stitching, and you’ve got yourself a classic.
Citizen Watches AT0200-05E Eco-Drive Chronograph Canvas Watch
|Mechanism:||Japanese quartz movement|
Japanese quartz movement with analog display in a military-inspired stainless steel watch with round dial watch matches well with red contrasting second hand and rugged green canvas band. The temperature range for operation is -10°C to +60°C/14°F to 140°F.
Protective mineral crystal dial glass, date window, three subdials, luminous hands, and buckle closure are among these 39mm case features. Waterproof to 330 feet (100 meters): great for snorkeling and swimming, but not diving.
Since it runs on solar power, daylight is this military-style field watch’s best friend. Its green canvas band is a completely casual timepiece, but its small-second subdial can track up to 60 minutes of timing. The fact that it would never need a battery adds to its value at such a low price.
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Hamilton Men’s H32616133 Jazzmaster Chronograph Watch
Hamilton’s Jazzmaster series is a more cultured taste of the once American watchmaker’s usually sporty timepieces, inspired by jazz greats. With vertically mounted white ring subdials, a classy black dial, and a nuanced bracelet with both brushed and polished stainless steel ties, the Swiss continue to do the Jazzmasters justice, and their chronograph is a fine illustration. The completely automated action and the working chronograph pushers and dials are incredible for the asking price. But, unfortunately, it won’t teach you how to play like Miles Davis.
The Hamilton Men’s Jazzmaster Chronograph Watch is a vision of elegance and luxury, and we think you’ll fall in love with it right away. A circular 42mm stainless steel case with a fixed stainless steel bezel and a textured crown with two pushers sets the tone for this exceptional timepiece. These elements surround a bold black dial with silver-toned index hour markers and silver-toned luminous hands controlled by Swiss automatic movement and covered by a synthetic sapphire crystal.
Three chronograph subdials with 60-second, 30-minute, and 24-hour displays, as well as a date display window at 4 o’clock, complete the dial. This watch is secured to the wrist with a deployment clasp and a five-link stainless steel bracelet. Finally, this watch has a 330-foot water-resistance rating (100 meters). Pick up this beauty today, and it’s a must-have for your watch collection.
Victorinox Swiss Army Men’s Alliance Chronograph Watch
|Glass:||Anti reflective sapphire|
The Alliance Chrono is a willing participant who blends effortlessly into whatever you wear, whether it’s casual or semi-formal when your outfit is more than the sum of its parts. It also comes with lumed hands and indices, complete chrono features with textured subdials, and a sapphire glass crystal that is scratch and impact resistant. Of course, it’s also made in Switzerland, which is where all good horological stuff originates.
TAG Heuer Men’s CAW2114FT6021 Monaco Black Dial Watch
|Glass:||Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal|
If this watch was good enough for Steve McQueen, it should be good enough for us. The classic Monaco watch has been updated with new features such as a scratch-resistant sapphire glass on top of its wonderfully square 39mm case and 100-meter water resistance. In addition, the white square subdials, as well as the red highlights on Monaco’s racy paws, stand out against the black dial. McQueen will be ecstatic.
Tudor Heritage Chronograph Blue and Silver Dial Stainless Steel Mens Watch
Tudor’s recent return to the United States is welcome news, particularly when it comes in the form of one-of-a-kind timepieces like the Heritage Chronograph. The Heritage is riddled with eye-catching hues of orange, silver, and blue for a chronograph that’s not shy but never overstated, inspired by vintage racing. With a 500-meter depth mark, it’s even dive-worthy, but you’d be better off taking it to the racetrack to use the stopwatch on this completely functional and very sporty, fully automatic timepiece.