There’s something inherently special about about a chronograph watch—and it’s hard to deny. To some, it’s the busy dial with multiple scales that makes a chronograph attractive. For others, it may be the visual pop of the sub-registers, sporting a different color than the dial. We’re drawn to this new level of complexity not necessarily seen in dive watches or classic dress watches. Chronograph watches are something entirely different.

Then there are the stories; the history of what these amazing devices have achieved and done. I think that’s what attracts a lot of enthusiasts to the chronograph watch—the ability to write your own story, to use the stopwatch function to time your own events, and to sport a great looking timepiece while doing it.

That’s why we’re excited to bring you our list of chronographs that span traditional Swiss and Japanese offerings to those that may often get overlooked. This list is also ever-expanding. So if you think there’s a chronograph missing from this list, share it with us in the comments at the end of the piece.

Timex Weekender Chronograph (TW2P62300)

Image: Timex
Case Size:40mm x 48.5mm x 11.3mm
Movement:W92 Quartz Chronograph
Battery Life:2 Years
Accuracy:-20/+20 seconds per month
Manual Winding/ Hacking:No/Yes
Price Range:$50 – $80

Throwing a Timex Weekender on at the start of a weekend will set the tone for a fun and relaxing time. Coming in at less than $80, you will never be bound by this wristwatch (you won’t worry about it like some more expensive pieces depending on the activities at hand). Also, you will be just as passé about people noticing your Weekender as you will be about scratching it up.

The no-frills dial only includes things that a split second chronograph needs: a 30-minute elapsed time register, a split second register measuring in 20ths of seconds, and a running seconds register. The legible Arabic numerals are the finishing touches and just when you think you have it all figured out with this watch, a push of the crown lights up the entire dial with brilliant Indiglo.

Orient NEO70s Solar Chronograph (WV0041TX, WV0051TX)

Image: Seiko
Case Size:42mm x 48mm x 11.7mm
Movement:Orient KBS00
Power Reserve:6 Months
Accuracy:-/+15 seconds per day
Manual Winding/ Hacking:No/Yes
Price Range:$115 – $220

You can typically find a comparable Orient model for every Seiko out there. Generally, the orient will be just as good and cost a decent amount less, and this is true for the Orient NEO70s line. The name suggests a nod to the 70s, but for me, the style of this watch is timeless.

With its thin stainless steel case, reasonable lug-to-lug, and interesting dial color-ways, a fellow watch-geek may assume it’s a contemporary release from Orient – especially if you are like Kaz and sporting the “Christmas Chrono ” variant. Released during Christmas of 2016, the turquoise/teal dial known colloquially as the “Christmas Chono” is largely unavailable now, but, luckily, is not the only interesting dial color Orient offers for the NEO70s line. I’ve got my eye on the gray, panda dial which is a sort of slate-gray that will surely not be replicated in your watchbox.

Q Timex Chronograph (TW2V42600, TW2V42800)

Image: Timex
Case Size:40mm x 46mm x 13.5mm
Movement:Epson YM12a
Battery Life:5 Years
Accuracy:-/+20 seconds per month
Manual Winding/ Hacking:No/Yes
Price Range:$200 – $220

This chrono is clearly in the vintage-inspired Q Timex family with the integrated leather strap (or bracelet), a drastic brushed bevel on the hooded lugs, old-school font on the dial, and the classic colorways of panda and reverse-panda. It’s not only the mere existence of the Q Timex Chronograph that points to a watch nerd on staff at Timex, but it’s the design choices and the restraint of not spitting this model out in every cotton-candy colorway under the sun.

Roue CHR

Image: Roue
Case Size:41.5mm x 48mm x 10.9mm
Movement:Miyota 6S10 Quartz Movement
Battery Life:3 years of battery life
Accuracy:-/+20 seconds per day
Manual Winding/ Hacking:No/Yes
Price Range:$250

The style of case that screams retro-chronograph is the cushion shape. Pair a cushion case with a rally strap (and a time machine), and you’d fit right in at your favorite endurance race in the 70s. Roue, a Brazilian independent founded in 2017, aims to put you in said time-machine with each of their vintage-inspired model lines, like the CHR.

It’s a tri-register, racing chronograph that takes the inspiration of its colorways from the 1970s Lamborghini Miura. The caseback also references the race car with an engraving of its wheel. Vintage racing fan or not, you can’t deny this watch’s impressive thinness at 10.9mm or its price tag at $250. Add in that each colorway is a limited edition of 105 individually numbered pieces, and this watch starts to seem like a no-brainer for any petrol-head looking for a stylish time-piece.

Citizen Bullhead Chronograph (AN3660-81A, AN3660-81L)

Image: Citizen
Case Size:38mm x 42mm x 12mm
Movement:Miyota 0S10 Quartz Movement
Battery Life:5 Years
Accuracy:-/+20 seconds per month
Manual Winding/ Hacking:No/Yes
Price Range:$200 – $700

Once upon a time, Citizen had the absolute best offering for the Bullhead chronograph. Their watch was ergonomic with its pushers, had a flyback feature, and was a much better size at 38mm than Seiko’s own bullhead at 44mm. Besides “Bullhead”, it may also be called the “Mickey Mouse” or “Easter Rabbit” due to its pushers being moved to the 12-o’clock side of the watch resembling ears or horns.

You will find the modern, re-issued Citizen bullheads with quartz movements, which will be forgiven due to them being so faithful to the vintage sizing. The Citizen Record Label Tsuno is your best bet for a faithful rendition, but feel free to spend the $700 for the same watch worn by Brad Pitt in Tartino’s film.

Bulova Lunar Pilot (98K112, 96B258, 96K111)

Case Size:45mm x 52mm x 13.5mm
Movement:Caliber 8136
Battery Life:4 Years
Accuracy:-/+10 seconds per year
Manual Winding/ Hacking:No/Yes
Price Range:$500 – $995

The Bulova Lunar Pilot at times can look like the Omega Speedmaster’s misfit brother – (it is more bulky, less iconic, and clearly resembles the Speedy but just not as balanced or refined). However, in 1971, the Bulova Lunar Pilot got some shine when Commander David Scott’s NASA-issued Speedmaster’s crystal popped out during a moonwalk and all he had left was his back-up prototype from Bulova.

The prototype Lunar Pilot back then was a mechanical watch, but the quartz watches today are a faithful re-issue to that opportunistic timepiece. Coming in at a very reasonable price point, the Lunar Pilot should be considered for any collector of affordable timepieces, and if they want a little-something extra, the 50th Anniversary LE model in titanium can be had for $995.

Baltic Bicompax 002

Image: Baltic
Case Size:38mm x 47mm x 12mm
Movement:Manual Seagull ST1901
Power Reserve:42 Hours
Accuracy:-10/+40 seconds per day
Manual Winding/ Hacking:Yes/No
Price Range:$580

Few watches house the Manual Seagull ST1901 mechanical chronograph movement better than the Baltic Bicompax 002. Its solid caseback doesn’t reveal the inner-workings of the column wheel chronograph because it’s design-first with this watch. The Bicompax, referring to the two analog registers on the dial, is incredibly balanced with the running seconds register being a sector dial and the 30-minute register being open.

The radially displayed Arabic numerals give a vintage vibe, and the acrylic crystal adds a warmth not seen in most modern watches. The dial features a combination of brushed, textured, and concentric ridges, which will make this watch interesting to look at for a long time. The 12mm thickness due to this being a manual wind movement will ensure this can be a daily wearer. 50m water resistance seems adequate for this style.

Tissot PRX Automatic Chronograph (T137.427.11.011.00, T137.427.11.041.00)

Image: Tissot
Case Size:42mm x 41.5mm x 13.5mm
Movement:Valjoux A05.H31
Power Reserve:60 Hours
Accuracy:-/+30 seconds per day
Manual Winding/ Hacking:Yes/Yes
Price Range:$1299 – $1449

Tissot hit it big with the PRX. It’s an affordable, integrated-bracelet, stainless steel sports watch just like the ones made by the Holy Trinity of watchmaking. Say less. And, sign me up for an automatic chronograph version.

You will lose some thinness that is a hallmark of the watches coming from Patek, Audemars, and Vacheron, but you will also be paying an order-of-magnitude less for the Tissot PRX Automatic Chronograph. The tri-register dial with running seconds, a 30-minute timer, and a 12-hour counter comes in a panda dial with gilt hands and markers and reverse panda (blue or black).

Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto (H38416541, H38416111, H38416711)

Image: Hamilton
Case Size:40mm x 49mm x 14.4mm
Movement:Hamilton Caliber H-31
Power Reserve:42 Hours
Accuracy:-/+30 seconds per day
Manual Winding/ Hacking:Yes/Yes
Price Range:$1575- $2245

Plenty of watch collectors will get frustrated finding the right automatic chronograph when the time comes. This is because the movement in the “affordable” category of automatic chronos will be based on the Valjoux 7750 which will usually make the watch over 14.5mm thick. But not the Intra-Matic, baby!

Coming in at 14.4mm thick, this watch separates slightly from the pack, but remains very familiar. It’s a no-frills, bicompax chronograph, that comes in panda or reverse-panda colorways, and leather or stainless steel mesh straps. It’s familiar to us because it remains true in everything but size to its 1968 inspiration of the same namesake, and its 100 meters of water resistance is just an added bonus.

Longines BigEye Chronograph (L28164532)

Image: Longines
Case Size:41mm x 50mm x 14.5mm
Movement:Longines L688
Power Reserve:66 Hours
Accuracy:-/+15 seconds per day
Manual Winding/ Hacking:Yes/Yes
Price Range:$2050 – $2900

Legibility is no concern with the Longines BigEye. Its name points to a larger, “big eye” register located at 3 o’clock which historically was used by pilots to read easily at a glance. The 2017 BigEye will make you feel like you are ready for the skies as well as the Delta Sky Club with its sleek case and 14.5mm thickness (some of which is a domed sapphire crystal), it can easily fit under a cuff.

Longines equipped their Valjoux based movement with a column-wheel to give a snappier pusher feel that gives the wearer the correct feedback to know that the chronograph has been activated without needing to really look at it. The watch has two colorways: lacquer black and a fume blue, which is housed in a titanium case.

Seiko Speedtimer Automatic Chronograph (SRQ039, SRQ043, SRQ037)

Image: Seiko
Case Size:42.5mm x 50mm x 15.1mm
Movement:Seiko 8R46
Power Reserve:45 Hours
Accuracy:-15/+25 seconds per day
Manual Winding/ Hacking:Yes/Yes
Price Range:$3000 – $3200

Sharing its namesake with Seiko’s first automatic chronograph, the current Seiko Speedtimer doesn’t look a whole lot like that 1969 release, but it does share a sporty design-language. The Speedtimer just looks FAST. The dial only contains what you will need to tell the time and read the chronograph function – no pulsometer or telemeter scale, no excessively big date window, no extra text explaining its 100 meters of water-resistance or that it’s self-winding (Tudor take note).

Its razor-sharp handset, angular lugs, and stainless steel case embellish an aggressive look that belongs adorning the wrist of an extreme sports athlete, or a fan of such things. A nice touch is the dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on the inside to ensure no distortion of the dial and no surface abrasions that often happen when AR coating is applied on the outside. The clean stainless steel bracelet brings the function-first design of this timepiece together.

Vertex MP45 Chronograph

Case Size:40mm x 49mm x 15mm
Movement:Sellita SW510 MP
Power Reserve:62 Hours
Accuracy:+/-12 seconds per day
Manual Winding/ Hacking:Yes/Yes
Price Range:$4520

Spearheaded by Don Cochrane—the great grandson of the brand’s founder—Vertex has seen one of the most successful watch brand revivals in recent years. They were one of the original “Dirty Dozen” brands that supplied timepieces to the British Military, alongside names like IWC and Omega. The MP45 series chronograph watches are Vertex’s modern interpretation of a British Military, asymmetrical pilot’s chronograph.

One of the most stunning features of the watch has to be the molded 3-dimensional blocks of Super-LumiNova, which make up the hour markers. The lume is intense and this just adds depth to an already very legible dial. The monopusher chronograph function is also just something you don’t see every day and just makes the watch a little more special and arguably, more straightforward to use.

Breitling Navitimer (AB0139211B1P1, AB0139241C2A1, AB0139631C1P1)

Image: Breitling
Case Size:43mm x 49mm x 13.6mm
Movement:Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01
Power Reserve:70 Hours
Accuracy:-4/+6 seconds per day (COSC Chronometer)
Manual Winding/ Hacking:Yes/Yes
Price Range:$4650 – $11,250

You could buy the Navitimer because you are a pilot in need of a slide rule bezel to calculate fuel consumption all while being at cruising altitude, or, you could get one because you think the busy dial looks super cool. Either way, you aren’t going to go wrong.

Originally developed in 1952 for a pilot association, this watch has a rich timekeeping history of being on aviation wrists while with a design that’s successfully withstood the test of time. Looks aside, The Navitimer is a COSC certified chronometer with 300 meters of water resistance in endless colorways and dial variations. The great range in prices depend on the year, case diameter, and movement, but are all priced out as new watches.

Omega Speedmaster Professional (3570.50.00, 310.

Case Size:42mm x 47.5mm x 13.2mm
Movement:Caliber 3861 (861 Pictured Above)
Power Reserve:50 Hours
Accuracy:-0/+5 seconds per day
Manual Winding/ Hacking:Yes/Yes
Price Range:$5750- $6600

Possibly the most recognizable chronograph on this list, the Speedmaster has deservingly built that recognition for itself through downright ambition and perseverance. If I were a watch, I wouldn’t dream of going to the moon (it was never in the cards for me), but the Speedy did.

It begins with Ed White wearing a Speedmaster on USA’s first spacewalk in 1965, then Buzz Aldrin wearing it on the moon in 1969, and lastly, Jack Swigert using it as a stopwatch to time the critical 14 seconds of thrust to get his crew back into Earth’s atmosphere after an onboard electrical failure in 1970 on Apollo 13. But, apart from all these impressive feats, the Speedmaster is still just a great, everyday chronograph, that you can dress up or down. But, you should probably try and keep away from water with its 50 meters of water resistance (not much water in space, after all).

Breitling Premier B01 (AB0118A61C1A1, AB0118221B1A1)

Image: Breitling
Case Size:42mm x 50mm x 13.6mm
Movement:Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01
Power Reserve:70 Hours
Accuracy:-4/+6 seconds per day (COSC Chronometer)
Manual Winding/ Hacking:Yes/Yes
Price Range:$5900 – $9100

In the Georges Kern (CEO) era of Breitling, you’ll see a step back into the retro, sporty, and elegant segments of watchmaking. The Breitling Premier B01 achieves exactly this and adds the performance prowess of their in-house B01 vertical clutch, column wheel mechanical chronograph movement. Tuned to chronometer specs, the movement has an extremely snappy pusher feel plus a chronograph seconds hand with no stutter or delay.

Read the chronograph seconds against the peripheral tachymeter scale to capture the speed of an object over a set distance, or leave the chronograph running to time the length of something in 30 minute durations. Just as beautiful as the appropriately decorated movement is the radiant, sunburst dial. The mile-wide bevel on the lugs gives way to a slash-cut bracelet that fully articulates with every piece able to move freely for maximum comfort.

TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox

Case Size:39mm x 13.9 x 46mm
Movement:TH20-00 Automatic In-House Caliber
Power Reserve:80 Hours
Accuracy:-3/+5 seconds per day
Manual Winding/ Hacking:Yes/Yes
Price Range:$6450

Another icon of the chronograph world is the Heuer Carrera. The community behind collecting these watches is vast, passionate, and and highly opinionated, with good reason. You can look at the Carrera as the Speedmaster of the racing world and TAG Heuer has been iterating on the model for quite a while now.

One of the latest versions is the new 39mm TAG Heuer Carrera ‘Glassbox’ chronograph. This newer case design aims to accentuate the the vibrancy and readability of the racing-inspired dial with a tall sapphire crystal that makes up a great portion of the case thickness. It’s a fantastic new look for the Carrera and we’re even starting to get new versions that fall outside of the auto racing world.

Check out our full review of the TAG Heuer Carrera ‘Glassbox’ chronograph.

TAG Heuer Monaco (CBL2111.FC6453, CAW211P.FC6356)

Image: Tag Heuer
Case Size:39mm x 47mm x 14.3mm
Movement:Caliber 11 Automatic
Power Reserve:40 Hours
Accuracy:-3/+5 seconds per day
Manual Winding/ Hacking:Yes/Yes
Price Range:$7500 – $11,250

The Tag Heuer Monaco is to racing fans what the Navitmer is to pilots – a must have for true enthusiasts of those hobbies. Being the first watch with a water-resistant, square case, the Monaco could be recognized easily upon its release in 1969 and remains unmistaken to this day. It was, then, sported by Steve McQueen in the film LeMans in 1971, further exposing the general public to this interesting watch.

Having the crown on one side of the case and chronograph pushers on the other balances this watch perfectly. With its square, bicompax sub-dials, baton hour and minute hands, and with many watches still being produced with only “Heuer” on the dial, the Monaco will ooze 70s swagger until the finish.

Commonly Asked Questions About Chronographs

What is a chronograph watch?

A chronograph is a specific type of watch complication that essentially functions as a stop watch. Chronographs are generally characterized by two buttons flanking the crown of the watch at 2 and 4 o’clock, which control the start and stop function of the stopwatch. Chronographs also typically have 3 subdials: running seconds, chronograph elapsed minutes, and chronograph elapsed hours.

Chronographs are generally popular because their multi-subdial layout makes them look more visually impressive than a standard 3-hand timepiece. Additionally, many chronographs have historical perspectives or other design nuances that lend themselves well to certain fashion trends and choices that individuals make. The actual subset of individuals who use their chronographs to time actions or events is incredibly small.

What are the benefits of a chronograph?

As a tool, the function of a stopwatch on your wrist can be useful in very specific applications. For instance, depending on the scale used on the chronograph dial, one can measure a heartbeat with a chronograph. One can also calculate items like travel speed, travel distance, and more. While most of these functions are fulfilled either through specifically design instruments (or digital devices), some people in specialized industries have expressed the usefulness of a chronograph if a certain tool wasn’t readily on hand.

2 thoughts on “Best Chronograph Watches | The Must-Know Models For 2024”

  1. I love my quartz, burgundy Glycine chronograph. Swiss Made from Ashford for $200 USD. Shows time to 1/20th of a second and 200 m of water resistance.


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