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Choosing The Best Chronograph Watch

Updated on December 5, 2014

How I Chose The Best Value Chronograph Watch

Well, my husband was making heavy hints that he "needed" a new watch. Not a new dress watch (as he has been spoilt by me to have a couple of good ones), but a new work-horse watch. Something still elegant enough to wear everyday, but be practical to use, robust and.... be able to tell the time accurately. I say that, as most modern work-horse watches now a days have so many buttons and features, that it's hard to see what the time is on some of them. So with a critical birthday approaching I set out to research a new watch for him. I feel the best thing to do is to get into the city and seek advice from the in-store experts and at the same time have a good feel for the quality and knowledge of watches out there that I simply knew I could not afford. But it was a great excuse to pretend and carry out the research I needed, to know that you simply do not have to spend a fortune on a good looking, accurate timepiece that would please the most critical of men. I always find the store assistants more than willing to answer any of my questions. Yes, there are many Rolex and Tag Heuer and Breitlings out there, so far out of most of our price brackets that it's not even worth starting to think about being that pretentious. Then... if I win the lottery, I will be most happy to be 'that pretentious' and immediately nip out to the city and by myself one of these extortionately priced watches. Then I'll agree that they are very nice and everyone should have one. But back to reality.....

Now..., it's quite clear from talking to these city experts that a solid, reliable, good looking timepiece does not need to be a high-end name. Indeed, I was rather surprised to learn from my new-found-expert-friends that many of these "named" watches have exactly the same "inside mechanisms" as watches a fraction of the price. Yes! You can dress it up in a leather box and help the manufacturer pay for its glossy advertising, but the reality of it is that ALL watches "high end" and "affordable end" will probably be one of maybe ten common types of internal mechanism. Yes Swiss movements and yes Japanese movements, but do not think that all high end watchmakers have their own designed internal mechanisms? Nope!

If you fancy some "watch enlightenment" and a bit of research of your own, try a simple Google search for your own watch model and ask "what mechanism is in my xxxxxx watch". Then do the same for the high end brands. Specifically, look up ETA and Ronda movements and see how many top (and not so top) brands they equally supply. Be amazed at what mechanisms the SWATCH company now owns and supplies to high-end makers.

So unless you have disposable income to facilitate a Hi End designer watch, why pay more than you need to....?

So basically, it comes down to a small number of types of movement and in the main... three types. A traditional 'Wind Up' mechanical manual movement; an Automatic Movement (self winding) and Quarts Movement (needs a battery)

Other types include Eco-Drive and Kinetic Movements and of course now-a-days.....even solar powered.

Anyway, back to my shopping dilemma....having mention that my husband already had a couple of nice 'plain' but "dressy" dress watches, I was narrowing "my" choices down to either a sturdy digital workhorse like a Casio, or a slightly more dramatic Chronograph analogy watch like a Seiko or an Invicta. The digital display choices were quickly eliminated as I couldn't quite see my aging husband being proud of a new GI Joe rubberised digital computerised wrist watch. No.... although I'm sure he would have had many kudos point with his technically critical friends, but I think the watches user manual would have been too much for him to have taken in. (and be honest about it).

So, by now I was clearly settling on an analogue watch and heavily narrowing down to a chronograph watch, which, whilst telling the time simply in a traditional way, also had a the delightful array of smaller time dials representing a stopwatch style capability. Sporty and dressy all in one.

So having had the excuse and fun of shopping in some very nice city jewellers, and boasting with my new found knowledge on what's inside a watch and what you are paying for, I eventually came to settle on a very nice Seiko specifically a Seiko Men's SNA411 Flight Alarm Chronograph from Amazon, solid guarantee and all! Shop around though, is my advice, to get the best price. Hubby was well impressed and even his friends were surprised at the number of simple yet impressive functions on it...... that he will probably never use. It even tells the time!!! (Other good priced manufacturers are available..... of course). Photos generally coming from the excellent selection at Amazon.

The watch I chose

The Seiko Men's SNA411 Flight Alarm Chronograph
The Seiko Men's SNA411 Flight Alarm Chronograph

Is it worth paying significantly more for a Top Brand Named Watch?

Is it worth paying significantly more for a Top Brand Named Watch?

See results

Wooden Watches

I thought these watches were so cute for the younger person in your life. They were brought to my attention by a young work colleague and I will be buying one for my younger son.

Let me know if you have enjoyed the same shopping experience...

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    • Carashops profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      @NoProblemmo: I agree, shoes and watch every time.

    • NoProblemmo profile image


      4 years ago

      A man needs a good pair of shoes and a good watch. Everything else is negotiable.


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