Ask any serious watch collector in the wild to cut down their collection to a single watch, and you’ll probably get a lot of chronographs. Chronograph watches are popular among avid connoisseurs not just because of the complication, but mainly because of the inherent benefits of it. For the uninitiated, a chronograph is basically a watch that can be used as a stopwatch and a display watch at the same time.
Chronograph watches almost always have a minute sub-dial and a sweep second hand, displayed in the watch’s dial like mini watches. It shouldn’t be confused with a chronometer, which needs an added certification from the COSC.
It should be noted that chronometers can’t beat the accuracy of even the cheapest of quartz watches, so basing the value of a chronograph watch on its COSC certification is a moot point. In this article, we’ve listed down some of the best chronograph watches you can buy:
Baume et Mercier Clifton Baumatic Chronograph
Although the presence of mechanical manual-winding chronograph watches can be traced to the first early developments of stopwatches, it was only in the 1960s that automatic chronographs were released.
The first few years of the decade were heralded as a golden age for chronographs, with releases from Swiss and Japanese watchmakers that were nothing short of stellar.
And while that time is long ago, automatic chronograph watches still holds a special place for most aficionados. If you’re looking for a chronograph watch that has a better value proposition than most, look no further than the Baume and Mercier Clifton Baumatic Chronograph.
This collection is seriously a stunner, with lots of options to choose from. The one in a black dial with white subdials for the chronograph function is seriously a steal.
Junghans Max Bill Chronoscope
Junghans’ Max Bill Chronoscope is another killer in the affordable luxury category of chronograph watches. If your style is more into minimal presentations, you’ll fall in love with Junghans’ dial. There are several choices in this collection, but the one in a white dial and day-date complication is a cut above the rest. This is seriously a good-looking watch.
Under the hood, you get an automatic chronograph movement based on the iconic Valjoux 7750. It has all the power and sophistication of a luxury watch, all the while keeping top of the line materials for both case and strap. At 40 mm, it sits nicely with medium to large wrists, as the almost bezel-less dial design wears larger than it truly is.
IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire
For fans of high-end luxury watches, IWC is a great Swiss watchmaker to defer to. The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire is a watch like nothing else. With this timepiece, IWC’s usual restraint in a presentation is put out of the window.
The automatic, self-winding movement is an in-house caliber, and with the odd 60-meter water resistance, this is a watch that begs to be worn every day, even in pool parties.
The chronograph function is one of the best among its contemporaries, with functions for hours, minutes, and seconds. It even has a small hacking seconds feature, which makes the watch all the more charming. You also get a convex sapphire crystal glass that frames the timepiece wonderfully. Get this watch if you want a balance between sophistication and function.
There you have it. These are just some of the most underrated chronograph watches you can buy right now. Bear in mind that there are still excellent underrated chronograph watches out there. The Zenith El Primero, in particular, is a good starting point for anyone for a benchmark automatic chronograph watch.