The chronograph is one of the most popular styles of watches in recent times. Bolstered by record-breaking sales (namely the Paul Newman Daytona, of which another has recently come up for sale), endless Speedmaster editions from Omega, and a resurgence in vintage design, I would say that a chronograph is a must-have in any watch collection.
However, due to their mechanical complexity chronographs are often priced exorbitantly. If you want an entry-level Swiss-made chronograph, the Hamilton Intra-Matic chronograph would set you back S$3210, while the Longines Big Eye would be S$3980. That’s still a significant sum of money, and understandably out-of-reach for watch enthusiasts on a budget.
In this listicle, I’ll be highlighting 7 affordable chronographs that can be had for under $500 USD (~S$680). As I’m about to show you, you can get a lot of watch for not that much money. Let’s delve into the article!
If you have a tight budget, opt for the Aries Gold Jolter. Priced at under S$200, it offers a stunning design and is backed up by impressive specifications.
My opinion: Personally, I sincerely believe that Aries Gold offers some of the best value propositions that you can get for ~S$200. Take the Jolter for example – you get a mecha-quartz chronograph with a skeletonised dial, a big date aperture, bracelet, sapphire crystal and even lume for just $139.50 USD (after promo code below). The watch has a striking design as well, and comes in multiple colourways. It’s a lot of style and substance for not a whole lot of money! For those interested in the Jolter, I did a detailed review of the watch here.
Where to buy: Click here. Aries Gold is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers can enjoy a crazy 50% off all products on their web-store. Simply quote “WAHSOSHIOK” upon checkout to enjoy the discount!
For those with more minimalist tastes, the Vescari Chestor will be right up your alley.
My opinion: The Chestor is best for those who are looking for an affordable, good-looking watch as the perfect complement to their outfit. In other words, I think the Chestor is best seen as a superior alternative to the Daniel Wellington/MVMT/Fossil/etc watches, due to it being both better composed as well as an overall better value proposition. Ultimately, the Chestor is a striking watch that – in my opinion – is a much better option than many of the fashion watches out there. If you’re a student, or a young fresh graduate who just want something affordable that will look good on the wrist, then do check out the Vescari Chestor! For those interested, I reviewed the Vescari Chestor here.
Where to buy: Vescari’s web-store. Vescari is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 20% off products on their web-store, as well as a free watch strap! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
If you’re interested in a “panda” – or a “reverse panda” – chronograph, you can check out the Monsieur Ranomo!
My opinion: The Monsieur Ranomo is a vintage-inspired racing chronograph that derives its inspiration from the Rolex Daytona and the Zenith El Primero. The watch comes in both Panda (pictured above) and reverse Panda configurations, which should prove popular amongst watch and racing enthusiasts. In my opinion, the Monsieur Ranomo is a great alternative to much more expensive timepieces such as the Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph, or even the Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph. If you want to own a chronograph with a Panda dial, you can now do so with the Monsieur Ranomo without breaking the bank. For those interested, I reviewed the mechanical version of the Ranomo here, though at this point of writing only the quartz timepieces are still available.
Where to buy: Monsieur’s web-store. Monsieur is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 10% off all Monsieur watches on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
For those planning to purchase a chronograph as a gift, or simply as a commemorative watch for oneself, UNDONE’s customisable line of Urban chronographs would be a great choice.
My opinion: If you like customising your watches, you can’t go wrong with UNDONE. The UNDONE customisation tool is a breeze and a joy to use, and one really gets the satisfaction when strapping a custom made (to one’s design impetus!) watch on the wrist. Despite the custom made nature of most of their watches, UNDONE’s prices are fairly reasonable – prices (after promo code below) starts at just $204 USD/ ~$290 SGD for the Urban Chronograph when paired with a perlon strap. Overall, I find UNDONE watches great for not only meaningful gifts, but also an outlet for one to express their individuality. For those interested, I reviewed my customised UNDONE Urban Chronograph here, and my customised UNDONE Type XX chronograph here.
Where to buy: UNDONE’s web-store. UNDONE is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 10% off products on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
If you have dressier tastes, consider the Reverie GT!
My opinion: If you like guilloche, you will love Reverie’s watches. A guilloche dial is key to their design language, and all of their watches will utilise guilloche in some form or another. I find their watches thoughtfully designed – for example, the dial of the Reverie GT has depth and contrast in spades. Yet, it manages to look both clean and complex simultaneously! In my opinion, it’s one of the best -if not the best- affordable dress chronograph in the market today. For those interested, I did a review of the watch here.
Where to buy: Reverie’s web-store. Reverie is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy $40 USD off products on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
If quartz isn’t your cup of tea – perhaps you’re a purist who needs a mechanical movement to power your watch – then the Vintro Le Mans 1952 Automatic would be the perfect pick.
My opinion: The Vintro Le Mans 1952 Automatic is a great value proposition – you’re getting an automatic column-wheel chronograph (based upon the legendary Venus 175 movement) for just S$600+! I’ve seen other microbrands selling mecha-quartz chronographs for more. As a lover of vintage watches myself, I absolutely love the dial of the Le Mans 1952 Chronograph, which is a retro beauty. It’s quite unique as well due to the incorporation of both a tachymeter and a telemeter scale on the dial. If you love its vintage styling, but still find the price a tad too high, there’s also a mecha-quartz version available. For those interested, I did a review of the Vintro Le Mans 1952 Automatic here.
Where to buy: Vintro’s web-store. Vintro is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 10% off products on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
Finally, if you’re someone who prefers to stick to a “brand name” with history, then you could always opt for a Seiko Criteria chronograph!
My opinion: When watch enthusiasts think of affordable Seiko watches, the Prospex line and the Presage line come immediately to mind. However, the Criteria line often get lost in the mix, which I think is a crying shame as there are several stunning Criteria chronographs. My pick of the lot would be the SSC657P1, which is a limited edition timepiece (2000 pieces) that features a stealthy blacked-out case (ion-plated) and a carbon fibre dial. It’s also powered by Seiko’s solar technology, not a generic quartz movement – no batteries required here! Featuring a sapphire crystal, the SSC657P1 will be a great everyday sports watch that’s as reliable as they come.
Where to buy: H2 Hub’s web-store. H2 Hub is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 5% off products on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount. In my opinion, they have one of the best local prices for Seiko watches online, and are my go-to for Seiko watches.
That sums up this listicle on chronograph watches! As I’ve hopefully shown, you don’t need a lot of money to own a lovely chronograph watch. If you don’t already own a chronograph, it’s high time to add one to your collection.
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned.