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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.