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Chronograph Watches for Men

Updated on December 8, 2013

What is a Chronograph Watch?

For anyone who is not familiar with the term 'chronograph' it is quite simply defined by the Oxford English dictionary as "an instrument for recording time with great accuracy". The word itself derives from the Greek words 'chronos' (meaning time) and 'graph' (meaning writing). Perhaps a more accurate definition would include the function of a stopwatch as an expected feature alongside telling the time.

The use of the term 'chronograph watch' has hugely increased since its invention in 1816 by Loius Moinet. The chart below highlights this increase.The sudden spike from 1968 on-wards coincides with the invention of the first automatic chronograph watch in 1969 by the partnership of watchmakers Heuer, Breitling and Hamilton as well as being the same year that Buzz Aldrin wore an Omega Speedmaster Professional while setting foot on the surface of the moon.

Popularity of the term 'chronograph watch'

Trend of the use of the phrase Chronograph Watch
Trend of the use of the phrase Chronograph Watch | Source

The design and functionality of chronograph watches have significantly changed since the early 1900s when the pocket watch version was popular among the very wealthy. Chronograph watches are now most commonly worn on the wrist and due to improvements in manufacturing and distribution are now available to a much larger proportion of the population. Prices can range from ten of thousands of dollars to just a few dollars.

Famous producers of high quality chronograph watches include; Omega, Brietling, Hublot, Rolex and Seiko.

How Much Should You Spend on a Watch?

Below is our very basic price guide which may be useful when trying to decide on how much to spend. It is purely a guide and does not take into account your own personal budget restrictions. Always remember that when buying a gift it is the thought that counts and although connoisseurs may turn their noses up at a cheap watch other would be perfectly happy with a fully functioning $10 watch.

Personal Treat

  • Everyday use ($50 -$250)
  • Special occasion only ($250 - $5,000)
  • Purely ornamental ($5,000 and up)

Gift

  • Very special occasion. i.e. Engagement, 50th Birthday ($250 - $5,000)
  • Other special occasion. i.e. Birthday or Christmas ($50 - $300)

Most Expensive Chronograph Watches

As well as being a fashion accessory a well made watch by an established brand can last a lifetime or even multiple lifetimes. This means that it can be viewed as an investment and can be passed down through generations.

While some people invest their money in stocks and shares or rare wines those who invest in a quality watch have the added bonus that they can enjoy the investment themselves today without reducing its value. If spending thousands of dollars on a watch it is advisable to ensure that you have it insured even if the watch is only being worn on special occasions.

Rolex Daytona Diamond Watch

Rolex Daytona Diamond 18K White Gold Mens Watch 116519
Rolex Daytona Diamond 18K White Gold Mens Watch 116519

Rolex watches hold their value very well and you can see why with this amazing Rolex Daytona. Crammed with 18K diamonds and white gold most of us can only dream of owning something so extravagant.

 

Hublot Big Bang King Power Ayrton Senna Limited Edition

Hublot Big Bang King Power Ayrton Senna Limited Edition of 500 Pieces Watch - 719.QM.1729.NR.AES10
Hublot Big Bang King Power Ayrton Senna Limited Edition of 500 Pieces Watch - 719.QM.1729.NR.AES10

My favorite watch. I'm just waiting for the 99% off sale. Hublot watches don't tend to hold their value as well as Rolex this is a limited edition which can make a big difference, although I can't see why you would ever want to sell this.

 

If you are looking to buy a watch which will hold its value the chart below is very useful. In particular it highlights the huge difference between the very top-end brands and other, still relatively expensive, watches.

One thing which jumps out at you right away is that Rolex watches tend to hold their value extremely well. This is likely to be down to the fact that Rolex is such a well know brand internationally. In fact it is probably the best known watch brand in the world and is synonymous with quality. Connoisseurs of the watch world may turn their noses up at Rolex as a manufacturer who produce on a large scale but the fact is their reputation is so strong among the general public that they are considered a status symbol.

Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin don't produce as many watches as Rolex and it is this paucity which enables them to charge such a high price.

Watch Brands That Hold Their Value

Chart shows results of study carried out by Crown and Caliber which shows average resale value at auction compared to original price.
Chart shows results of study carried out by Crown and Caliber which shows average resale value at auction compared to original price. | Source

A Selection of the Most Expensive Watches in the World

Seiko Solar Chronograph

This is the watch I wear everyday. I like the fact it is so simple yet stylish and as it is a solar chronograph does not require battery replacements. It keeps time perfectly and doesn't scratch.
This is the watch I wear everyday. I like the fact it is so simple yet stylish and as it is a solar chronograph does not require battery replacements. It keeps time perfectly and doesn't scratch. | Source

Middle of the Range Watches

Although good quality watches are more readily available and affordable as a result of globalization and technological advances in manufacturing, high quality, hand crafted watches are still regarded as a status symbol and an essential accessory to the rich and famous.

Celebrities from sports starts to astronauts have promoted top watch brands for decades, further enhancing their desirability and in some cases creating brand awareness through their association. Recent examples of such celebrity endorsements include ice hockey star Wayne Gretzky's ambassador role with Brietling, Maria Sharapova's launch of the Tag Heuer Formula One watch in Japan and Nicole Kidman promoting Omega.

For a great looking and well made watch my first choice would be Seiko. As you can see from the picture on the right I wear the Seiko Solar Chronograph which is perfect for a young professional like myself. The Japanese watch company Seiko have been making watches for over 125 years and they certainly know what they are doing. Although they may not be 'flashy' enough for some people, if you are looking for functionality and discrete style Seiko is perfect.

Other quality middle-of-the-range chronograph brands include; Citizen, Armani, Fossil, Diesel, Bulova and Luminox. You could include Timex and Casio who also feature in the cheap section due to their wide range of products.

Seiko Flight Alarm Chronograph Watch

Seiko Men's SNA414 Flight Alarm Chronograph Watch
Seiko Men's SNA414 Flight Alarm Chronograph Watch

One of the more 'flashy' Seiko chronograph watches. Excellent quality as always from Seiko and amazing value for money.

 

Citizen Eco-Drive

Citizen Men's BM8180-03E Eco-Drive Stainless Steel Watch with Green Canvas Band
Citizen Men's BM8180-03E Eco-Drive Stainless Steel Watch with Green Canvas Band

The Citizen Eco-Drive is a sleek and stylish chronograph watch. Its on of my favorites because it is a modern twist on a classic chronograph style. It is ideal for everyday wear but certainly wouldn't look out of place in a formal setting.

Personally I am not a fan of leather strapped watches so this canvas strap is a nice change from the metal straps I tend to go for. Also, as this an Eco-Drive you never have to replace the battery which is another major plus.

 

Cheap Chronograph Watches

Chronograph watches don't have to break the bank these days. You can find good quality watches from trusted sellers under $50 on http://excellentwatches.co.uk or on Amazon.

Even at this price you should ensure you get a warranty and I would recommend picking recognized brands where possible as they have a reputation to uphold. Producers of low quality and ultimately faulty goods come and go but the established brands make affordable watches which stand the test of time.

A few good brands to look out for are; Geneva, Puma, Timex, Casio, Chimaera and Invicta.

Classic Casio Watch

Casio F-108WHC-4ACF Classic Red Stainless Steel Watch
Casio F-108WHC-4ACF Classic Red Stainless Steel Watch

Although Casio have started to build a reputation for more high quality watches this one is a retro classic. Despite common misconception chronographs can also be digital watches this is one of the most popular. Featuring an alarm, stop-watch and back-light this is incredible value and is available in a variety of colors.

 

US Polo Assn Sports Watch

U.S. Polo Assn. Sport Men's US9057 Black Metal Watch with Orange Rubber Band
U.S. Polo Assn. Sport Men's US9057 Black Metal Watch with Orange Rubber Band

At the time of writing this watch is ranked number 20 in the top watches on Amazon. Its popularity is obviously down to its incredibly low price but it also has an element of style and is perfect for any sports enthusiast.

 

Poll

Which of the featured watches in this post do you think offers the best value for money?

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If you have a favorite chronograph watch which I have not mentioned please share by commenting below.

I hope you found this post informative and if you found it helpful in making a big decision on purchasing a watch, either for yourself or a loved-one I would be delighted to hear from you so feel free to leave feedback.

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    • Taranwanderer profile image

      Taranwanderer 2 years ago

      That Seiko watch takes the cake for me. Not only is it among the kind of watches you can afford, it has a sort of understated elegance to it.

      https://hubpages.com/style/luxury-watches-you-cant...

    • profile image

      time 3 years ago

      Hello.What about Festina Crono Bike Limited Edition?