Watch Insider’s Top 10 Best-Value Chronographs


As new watches from Basel and Geneva begin to hit retailers, let’s revisit last year’s Top 10 Best-Value Watches lists, which I assembled for my blog, Watch-Insider.com. We’ve covered my favorite chronograph watches and men’s dress watches already; now I put the spotlight on chronograph watches offering the best value for money.*

To be clear, I do not endeavor in this list to name the “cheapest” chronographs, but to recognize those that offer the most at their price point. I am sure that some brands might offer chronograph watches similar to these for less money; to me, that doesn’t necessarily make that other watch more attractive. The price differences in many of these cases are usually very small, in any case. To reiterate from my previous lists: this is an alphabetical listing and not a ranking. As always, the watches listed here are my own personal favorites. No jury has voted, no one has whispered anything into my ear, and — most importantly — no brand has paid me to be listed here. If you would like more information about one of the watches on the list, please use the search function on my blog. I have reported on all of them during the year, and you are likely to find many more pictures and additional technical information on them. Many of the watches have also been covered separately here on WatchTime.com.

Finally, I am interested in your own feedback. Which chronographs do you find represent the best bang for the buck? Please use the comments section to let us all know what you think.

Alpina Genève Alpiner4 Chronograph

I find the design of this chronograph to be fabulous. The 44-mm case houses a modified Sellita SW500 caliber with only two chronograph counters. I also love the watch’s ergonomics: I wore the Alpina Alpiner 4 Chronograph several times this year and found nothing to complain about. Price: starting at $3,495.

Alpina Geneve Alpiner4 Chronograph
Alpina Genève Alpiner4 Chronograph

Baume & Mercier Clifton Chronograph

This 43-mm Baume & Mercier is not the cheapest chronograph powered by an ETA 7750, but it is one of the most attractive. I like its sporty-elegant look and top-quality build. You might pay a bit more for a Baume & Mercier, but in my opinion the watch you get will absolutely not be overpriced. Compare this Baume & Mercier to its competitors the next time you are at your retailer and you will understand what I mean. Price: starting at $3,900.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Chronograph
Baume & Mercier Clifton Chronograph

Certina DS Action Diver

This is a top-notch divers’ chronograph for a minimal cost, waterproof to 200 meters and ISO 6425-certified. (The criteria for dive watches are regulated by the ISO 6425 international standard.) It is difficult to beat that price! The 45.2-mm case houses an ETA 7753 caliber, and the watch is also sold with a rubber strap for a slightly lower price. Price: 1,770 euros.

Certina DS Action Diver
Certina DS Action Diver

 

Hamilton Khaki Takeoff Limited Edition (1,999 pieces)

Others may agree or disagree, but in my eyes this version of the Hamilton Khaki is a cool chronograph, with the push-pieces positioned on top. If you hold the watch in your hand you can operate it like a pocket stopwatch. The PVD-coated 46.3-mm steel case houses a modified ETA Valjoux 7753 caliber. Price: $3,295.

Hamilton Khaki Takeoff Limited Edition
Hamilton Khaki Takeoff Limited Edition

Junghans Meister Telemeter

A very attractive vintage-replica design from Junghans. This chronograph brings back the “good old days” when such watches were equipped with a telemeter scale to calculate the distance from a source of light. (I know, nobody really needs such a scale these days, but why always be practical?) The 40.8-mm steel case houses an ETA 2892 with a Dubois Dépraz chronograph module. Price: 1,990 euros.

Junghans Meister Telemeter
Junghans Meister Telemeter

Longines Column-Wheel Single Push-Piece Chronograph

Only one push-piece, integrated into the crown of the watch, operates the chronograph’s start, stop, and reset functions. A Longines chronograph originally produced in 1913 inspired the design. The 40-mm steel case houses an ETA 7750 chronograph caliber exclusively modified for Longines. Price: 3,420 euros.

Longines Column-Wheel Single-Push-Piece Chronograph
Longines Column-Wheel Single-Push-Piece Chronograph

Mido Multifort Calibre 60

A modified ETA 7753 caliber (which now offers 60 hours of power reserve) is fitted into either a 44-mm 316L steel case with a silver dial or a 44-mm black PVD-coated steel case with a black dial. The cases are water-resistant to 200 meters and combined either with a rubber strap or steel bracelet. I had the Mido in my hands and I can tell you the comfort level of such a low-priced watch is just outstanding. Price: starting at $1,220.

Mido Multifort Caliber 60
Mido Multifort Caliber 60

 

Omega Speedmaster Mark II

This is the stunning, beautiful replica of the original 1969 Speedmaster Mark II. The 42.4 x 46.2-mm steel case contains the Omega calibre 3330 with a co-axial escapement and silicon spiral. Two executions are offered by Omega. In the version shown here, its not only the orange hands and indices that glow in darkness, but also the tachymeter scale on the so-called rehaut of the dial. Price: $6,250.

Omega Speedmaster Mark II
Omega Speedmaster Mark II

Rado HyperChrome Automatic Chronograph

This is a black, high-tech ceramic chronograph that simply looks good, and at a price point that is attractive. The watch surface cannot be scratched so it will keep its cool, understated look forever. The 45-mm ceramic case houses an ETA 2894-2 chronograph caliber. Price: 4,050 euros.

Rado HyperChrome Automatic Chronograph
Rado HyperChrome Automatic Chronograph

Sinn 103 Ti UTC TESTAF

This watch’s 41-mm titanium case holds an ETA 7750 caliber with a UTC-function, and has been modified by Sinn to withstand the severe TESTAF criteria. What is TESTAF (Technischer Standard Fliegeruhren)? Click here for details.  The “103” is a typical Sinn watch, fully packed with technical extras, therefore it’s a quite particular chronograph. Price: $3,184.

Sinn 103-Ti-UTC-TESTAF
Sinn 103 UTC TESTAF

* This article was originally published in 2015; prices are subject to change.

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15 Responses to “Watch Insider’s Top 10 Best-Value Chronographs”

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  1. What about Hanhart? Have a look at the Hanhart PRIMUS Racer Dark oder the PRIMUS Desert Pilot.

    Reply
  2. fraser stewart

    Good to see a Sinn made the “affordable” list. The 103 is a nice watch a little big @ 41mm for my wrist so my Sinn Chrono is a 356 Flieger ll with copper dial. At 2740 USD it has good value compared to other quality watches.

    Reply
  3. Anthony Smith

    In my opinion the Longines Heritage Vintage Chronograph should be included. I own one and its just superb in every respect. I have Chrono’s 3 x in value that can’t hold a light to the Longines.

    Rado’s have always looked too much like a fashion watch to be taken seriously, along with the price too!

    Reply
  4. Allan Tan

    My favourite is the Jaeger Squadra Chrono GMT.
    Nice and elegant, in-house movements, Sit well on the wrist and
    affordable servicing

    Reply
  5. Omega Co-axial movements may be over rated. I own one and it had to be serviced after only three years. When I purchased it in Zurich at the Omega store, the sales person stated with the Co-axial movement the watch would not have to be serviced for at least ten years or more. Wrong! Some of the best and fairly priced watches are still made by Longines. I own two – they are almost ten years old – never been serviced and still work perfectly.

    Reply
  6. My four (4) FAVORITE; watches which should have been included are:
    CITIZEN;
    SATELLITE WAVE F100 $1600
    ECO -DRIVE CHRONO -TIME $695
    …………………………………………….
    CASIO:
    PRO-TREK; PRW 6000Y $600
    GPW 1000 G-SHOCK (PRICE) ?

    Reply
  7. Debashish

    Pretty good selection, out of all these watches, Omega Speedmaster Mark II is truly outstanding!

    Reply
  8. Bert Kanne

    Beautiful chronograph watches. I can find similar quality, performance and design in chronographs from Seiko, Deep Blue and other brands for less than $250. Please enlighten me to what someone gets in these outrageously expensive luxury brands!

    Reply
    • Try to have them serviced and you’ll find out that they cost you twice as much as the initial price!!! But that’s the price you pay for a luxury brand!!!

      Reply
    • Affordable seiko chronos are nice but quartz based, and the chronos in the article are all mechanical. You will find that mechanical Seiko chronos are expensive as well.

      Reply
    • Erik Esparza

      I love the Seiko Divers and Chronos. In fact I own several 6139 Pogue’s, 6309’s, samurai’s, sawtooth’s and many others. However, they just cannot compare in craftsmanship and materials to my omega’s, Cartier’s, Panari’s, Rolex’s and many other “luxury” brands I own. They just don’t. That old adage is true with watches. You get what you pay for.

      Reply
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