Best Chronographs Under $5,000

While chronographs were created to measure elapsed time down to a thousandth of a second, they have long escaped their utilitarian leanings and have become watch icons in their own right.

Chronographs are a favorite among collectors for several reasons, apart from ultra-accurate timekeeping. First is their aesthetic appeal. The harmony of two to three counters plus the abundance of pointers, scales, and crowns, gives watchmakers lots of room for creativity. Second is how they engage the senses. The ritual of timing, stopping, and resetting a chronograph makes them so interesting.

Moreover, there is an abundance of chronograph styles for just about anyone. Unlike more complex complications which can be restricted to the high-end of the price spectrum, excellent chronographs can be had for a reasonable price.

 

Here are our top 5 favorite chronographs for less than $5000.

 

MoonWatch
Omega Speedmaster Chronograph Black Dial Mens MoonWatch 3570.50.00

 

OMEGA SPEEDMASTER MOONWATCH

Famous for being the first watch on the moon and for its important life-saving role in the Apollo 13 mission, it’s arguably the most recognizable chronograph in the world.

The modern Omega Speedmaster Professional MoonWatch that you can buy today is nearly identical to the one worn on the moon – the same case shape and 42mm size, the same dial design and even a movement that’s heir to the original caliber 321 worn on the moon.

Once endorsed by NASA as the official timepiece for use in outer space, the Speedmaster was chosen based on its robust features, which guaranteed reliable functioning of the movement even under the most extreme of conditions. With the Omega Speedmaster, you get top notch function, reliability and heritage at a very reasonable price.

 


 

Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue Stainless Steel Mens Watch 70330

 

TUDOR HERITAGE CHRONO

Tudor has mastered the art of reinventing pieces from their archive, and the Tudor Heritage Chrono is proof of that.

Based on the classic but short-lived Tudor “Monte-Carlo” 7169 chronograph from the 1970s, the Heritage Chrono has a bold and retro-inspired visual architecture, while making concessions to modernity in terms of mechanics and finishing. Tudor kept the distinctive touches of blue, gray, and orange; but increased it in size to 42mm. Within it beats the Calibre T401, which gives it a 42 hour power reserve.

The Tudor Heritage Chrono is perfect for someone looking for a functional, stylish, and vintage-flavored timepiece at a friendly price point.

 


 

Carrera Calibre 16
Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 Chronograph Steel Mens Watch CV201AR

 

TAG HEUER CARRERA CALIBRE 16

The Tag Heuer Carrera line presents a heaping load of options, from vintage inspired models to more avant garde designs. Our pick among the lot are the Calibre 16 models, which are all-rounders made from either high-quality stainless steel or lightweight titanium.

With the Carrera Chronograph Calibre 16, Tag Heuer was able to achieve a healthy blend of the classic 60s Carrera chronograph and the ultra-modern skeletonized Carrera watches TAG Heuer released under the helm of Jean-Claude Biver.

Long lugs give it the old world feel of the classic Carrera; color schemes such as blue, red, and white evoke the speed and emotion of the race track; while steel index hour markers and white subdials provide a clean read. All in all, it’s sporty, retro and modern all at once.

 


 

Breitling Navitimer Limited Edition 250 Steel Mens Watch A11022

 

BREITLING NAVITIMER

There’s a certain charm and personality to the Breitling Navitimer that is really hard to ignore. One of the features that gives it that quality is the slide-rule bezel. Once a practical tool for pilots before the development of modern navigational equipment, it’s not as frequently used today but remains a pillar of the collection.

With a contraption such as a slide rule bezel, the Breitling Navitimer by default is a connoisseur’s choice, but the timelessness of the design alone and its high recognition as a horological classic are enough to make even budding collectors want it.

What’s more, despite having one of the busiest watch dials, the Navitimer is surprisingly wearable, suiting a range of styles from tailored suits to weekend casualwear.

 


 

IWC Pilot Black Dial Chronograph Mens Watch IW377704

 

IWC PILOT CHRONOGRAPH

The IWC Pilot’s watch collection is renowned for its robust build and resistance to changes in air pressure and acceleration that come during flight. While the size of the Pilot’s Chronograph is contemporary – hefty, even – its look is very discreet.

The brushed stainless steel body provides a utilitarian look and feel, while complementing the matte dial. Subdials at 6, 9 and 12 give a clear read between the chronograph, civil time, and day-date. Subtle curves on the case and accents on the bracelet flanks act as complementing elements, not the main event.

Overall, the IWC Pilot’s Chronograph is a powerfully built tool watch that doesn’t overpower the wrist.

 

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