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14 of the Best Accessible Chronographs to Buy Right Now

Seiko Prospex 1 100th Second Solar Chronograph

Any complication adds a premium, but rather than day, date, or month functions, the chronograph introduces an entirely different form of timekeeping to a watch. So, you’d expect them to have a hefty premium attached to their price tag, which they do, more often than not. However, that’s not to say that you can’t get your hands on a solid stopwatch-equipped timekeeper without blowing a Speedmaster’s worth of cash. In fact, there are some downright affordable models on the market from brands big and small. Here then are the coolest chronographs around for under £2,000 – my personal benchmark of accessibility.

Charlie Paris Horizon Chronograph White

Charlie Paris Horizon Chronograph

If you’re looking for a clean, crisp, daily wearing chronograph then look no further. If you can get over the snobbery of quartz, Charlie Paris’ Horizon model offers a classically lovely white-and-steel look with a few vintage touches here and there, such as the chronograph pushers. The vertical bicompax layout is a bit more unusual than the standard three and nine subdials but otherwise it’s a familiar look taken down to unfamiliar realms of accessibility. Potential impulse buy? I’d say so.

Case/dial: 40mm diameter, stainless steel case, white dial
Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: Miyota calibre 10S11 quartz movement
Strap: Leather or milanese mesh bracelet
Price: €275

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Boldr Venture Field Medic II

Boldr Venture Field Medic II

The follow-up to Boldr’s first pulsometer-equipped chronograph, the Field Medic II offers the same, potentially life saving display method in a lightweight titanium case. Paired with 200m water resistance, it’s durable enough to take on anything a field watch can and even more when the lights go out, as the entire dial (bar the bicompax subdials) has been lumed. The same goes for the pulsometer scale because if you need to be able to read it, you REALLY need to be able to read it. And as ever with Boldr, the Medic II is insanely good value for any watch, let alone one this cool.

Case/dial: 38mm diameter, titanium case, white dial with japan superlume
Water resistance: 200m (20 bar)
Movement: Japanese SII VK64 quartz movement
Strap: NATO fabric with titanium buckles
Price: £246

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Avi-8 Flyboy Spirit of Tuskegee

Avi-8 Flyboy Spirit of Tuskegee

The Avi-8 Flyboy Spirit of Tuskegee is a large 44mm chronograph in stainless steel with an asymmetrical tricompax display featuring a 60-minute timer, small seconds subdial and retrograde days of the week. Surrounding the central chronograph complications is a ring of horizontal lines and the main pilot’s watch style hour markers. The limited edition is available in four colourways, each of which is dedicated to a significant figure in the history of the Tuskegee Airmen (the first all-black American air corps) such as Lt. Willa Brown, the first African American woman to hold a pilot’s licence.

Case/dial: 44mm width x 15mm thickness, stainless steel case, red dial
Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: Meca-quartz Chronograph
Strap: Leather with additional black nylon
Price: £268

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Brew Watches Metric Retro Dial

Brew Watches Metric Retro Dial

Few people alive are more obsessed with coffee than the watch designers at Brew. It’s a good thing then that their desperate need to time the perfect cup of coffee has led to the kind of retro 1970s charm that’s struck a chord with anyone who appreciates a cool, accessible watch. Case in point, the Metric Retro Dial chronograph. A quartz-powered timer in a funky mix of green, yellow, orange and white, it’s painfully cool. In reference to vintage ‘telephone timers’, it also has orange markings on the running seconds to show you just when the perfect espresso shot has been extracted. Because of course it does.

Case/dial: 36mm width x 41.5mm length x 10.75mm thickness, stainless steel case, black dial
Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: Hybrid VK68 Mechaquartz chronograph movement
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Price: $450 (approx. £350)

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Furlan Marri Rosso Grigio

Furlan Marri Rosso Grigio

Furlan Marri burst onto the watchmaking scene a few years ago with their inaugural mecha-quartz chronograph that even earned them a nod from the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. Their follow up chronograph collection, including the Rosso Grigio, followed a similar recipe with an Art Deco style dial, classy 38mm case and Seiko VK64 movement. The Rosso Grigio combines that with a dark grey colourway with light grey and red accents for a pop of colour.

Case/dial: 38mm diameter x 11.3mm stainless steel case with grey and red dial
Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: Seiko VK64 Mechaquartz movement
Strap: Leather
Price: CHF 555 (approx. £500)

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Bulova Lunar Pilot Chronograph

Bulova Lunar Pilot Chronograph

The Bulova Lunar Pilot owes its heritage to the fact that in 1971 a Bulova chronograph was worn by an astronaut on the moon. In honour of this event, the Lunar Pilot is a robust 43.5mm chrono in steel built to withstand the trials of space. As such, it has a high-performance quartz movement that is incredibly precise for those occasions when perfect accuracy is import, such as, you know, in space. Style-wise it has a tricompax display with an off-white dial and blue subdials, as well as a blue tachymeter around the edge.

Case/dial: 43.5mm diameter, stainless steel case, white dial
Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: Quartz movement
Strap: Leather or stainless stainless steel bracelet
Price: £599

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Herbelin Newport Chrono

Herbelin Newport Chrono

Herbelin are celebrating 35 years of their famous Newport model and the nautical timepiece has a serious limited edition on offer; but as that’s a touch out of the accessible price range, I’ve opted for the much more modern Newport Chrono. The black PVD case, blue and red dial, and lighter subdials all hammer home the more contemporary face of Herbelin, backed by the brand’s typical value-for-money approach. There’s a reason the Newport’s been going for three and a half decades.

Case/dial: 43mm diameter x 10.55mm thickness, stainless steel case, blue and black dial
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Ronda 5040 D chronograph quartz movement
Strap: Technical leather
Price: €759 (approx. £685)

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Nezumi Voiture Chronograph VM1S.101

Nezumi Voiture Chronograph VM1S.101

For Nezumi’s 10th anniversary the Stockholm-based brand, founded and designed by car aficionado David Campo, released not one but three cool, idiosyncratically 1970s takes on the Panda dial. In the VM1S.101 (our preference of the trio), the tricompax layout includes two white subdials at three o’clock on a geometric, black section of the dial, while the hours are on a black subdial at six o’clock against white. The result is basically a Panda in glasses, a cool, retro take on a classic racing chronograph. Surrounded by a 10th anniversary tachymeter and backed by Nezumi’s first manual-wind movement, a Swiss-made Sellita manual-wind calibre, it’s one of the most visually appealing pieces in this article – and yours for well under £1,000. If that doesn’t grab you, the anniversary capsule collection also includes the colour-swapped VM1S.201 or the subtler, blue VM1S.601.

Case/dial: 40mm diameter x 12.6mm thickness, stainless steel case, beige dial
Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: Swiss sellita SW510 manual winding movement with 58h power reserve
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Price: 10,000 SEK (approx. £720)

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Seiko Prospex 1 100th Second Solar Chronograph

Seiko Prospex 1/100th Second Solar Chronograph

With the sort of space age looks that MB&F are likely fans of, the latest tech-forward chronograph from Japanese watchmaker Seiko is a world apart from their usual fare. A quartet of subdials makes up the display, with running hours and minutes at six o’clock, a 1/10th second hand at 10 o’clock and the time fracturing 1/100th second hand at two o’clock. Running seconds are at 12, for when you don’t need accuracy down to fractions of milliseconds. It’s a lot of chronometric information funnelled into a 42mm case. It’s nuts and I love it.

Case/dial: 42mm diameter x 12.9mm thickness, stainless steel case , silver and black dial
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Seiko solar quartz movement
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Price: £760

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Baltic Tricompax Reverse Panda

Baltic Tricompax Reverse Panda

Unless you’re delving into vintage dealers or trawling the internet, you’ll find it hard to get hold of a better looking, vintage style racing watch than Baltic’s three- register number. The white-on-black tachymeter and high-contrast black dial with white subdials makes for an easily legible and immediately eye-catching look that’s become synonymous with serious racing chronographs. Sure, they may have just overhauled their Bicompax – check that out in our reviews section – but this racier take on the stopwatch complication is one of the reasons I fell in love with the brand.

Case/dial: 39.5mm diameter x 13.5mm thickness, stainless steel case, black gloss dial
Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: Sellita SW510-M manual movement with 63h power reserve
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Price: €1,645 (approx. £1,420)

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Depancel Allure Jürgen Clauss Edition

Depancel Allure Jürgen Clauss Edition

A classic racing chronograph inside and out, Depancel’s latest collaboration with specialist car restorer Jürgen Clauss is a beauty. The dashboard-inspired dial makes for a perfectly balanced, bicompax layout, handsome in its particular shade of blue that’s taken from Clauss’ blue berlinette – and the classicism isn’t just skin deep. The movement inside is actually a New Old Stock valjoux number, a 7753 specifically. Sized to larger wrists at 43mm across, it’s an absolute stunner, all for a surprisingly accessible price tag and a good deal less than any of Clauss’ cars.

Case/dial: 43mm diameter stainless steel case, blue dial
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: NOS Valjoux 7753 automatic movement with 48h power reserve
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Price: £1,595

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Tissot PRX Automatic Chronograph

Tissot PRX Automatic Chronograph

The PRX has stormed to success since its introduction, enough that along with the ever growing collection of dial colours and sizes, Tissot are also offering a chronograph-equipped version of their integrated bracelet sports watch. Thanks to the long, flat pushers, the striking silhouette of the PRX remains uninterrupted, while the brushed blue dial and white subdials have a Panda-adjacent look that’s shorthand for racing style. There’s no Powermatic movement here though; instead they’ve leant on the chronograph expertise of Valjoux. Otherwise, it’s the PRX we know and love, just with more functionality.

Case/dial: 42mm diameter x 14.5mm thickness, stainless steel case, blue dial
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Valjoux A05.H31 automatic movement with 60h power reserve
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Price: £1,620

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Farer Chronograph Sport Bernina Titanium

Farer Chronograph Sport Bernina Titanium

I’m on the fence as to which of Farer’s shiny new lightweight chronographs I’d prefer. The funky blue and brown Carnegie is a seriously tempting option, but for sheer wearability and retro charm I’d opt for this, the cream and red Bernina. The blue and red of the various scales stands out much better and the entire watch just feels more in line with the racing watches of old. Except of course for the practical titanium case, which is the kind of solid performance touch I can get on board with. And as ever with Farer, it’s priced more than competitively.

Case/dial: 41mm diameter x 12.9mm thickness, titanium case, matte off-white dial
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Sellita calibre SW510M b manual movement with 63h power reserve
Strap: Brown leather
Price: £1,775

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Junghans Max Bill Chronoscope

Junghans Max Bill Chronoscope

Junghans bring their traditional minimalist aesthetic to their chronographs and the Max Bill Chronoscope is perhaps the best example of this. At a price of €2,195 it only squeaks its way into this article courtesy of the current exchange rate putting it at approximately £1,880. It’s extremely pared-back with a vertical bicompax chronograph display with only the 12 or 30 numeral indicating which is the 12-hour or 30-minute timer subdial. It really is the bare essentials of a chronograph.

Case/dial: 40mm diameter x 14.4mm thickness, stainless steel case with white dial
Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: Junghans J880.2 automatic movement with 48h power reserve
Strap: Leather
Price: €2,195 (approx. £1,890)

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About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.