If you don’t have some chronograph watches for men in your collection, then you’re honestly missing out. First introduced in the early 1800s when French horologist, sculptor, and painter Louis Moinet took the wraps off of it, the chronograph was originally invented to keep track of astronomical objects like planets and moons. It was a purely-scientific piece of complex machinery, and people were left astounded by just how accurate its timings were.
In the mid to late 1800s, the chronograph was superimposed into a stopwatch for use in the military. Eventually, aircraft pilots, racing car drivers, and submarine operators all wanted one that you could easily strap on your wrist, and that’s how the modern chronograph watch was born. It’s truly legendary, and even two centuries later, it’s still a technical marvel that’s made of hundreds and hundreds of intricate parts. In fact, many people see it more like a piece of art than anything else.
If you’re looking for some chronograph watches for men to add to your wrist rotation, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide by OPUMO, we’ll be going through some of the best ones out there. From small independent labels to some of the most prestigious watchmakers in the world, there’s bound to be one here that suits your personal style, aesthetic, and – most importantly – budget. So, let’s get to it!
10 Best chronograph watches for men
To kick things off, we’re going to talk about the Dalgado León. Heavily inspired by the Bauhaus art movement with its clean lines and sleek curves, it’s crafted in Germany and is fitted with a highly-reliable Swiss Ronda movement.
The stainless steel case measures at an impressive 40.5 millimetres, and it’s equipped with buttons across the side for all kinds of cool functions. The León is available in white and black colour options and only 25 pieces have been made globally, so make sure that you grab yours right now if you want i
The Roue TPS is one of the independent watchmaker’s most popular styles, and it’s pretty easy to see why. A love letter to the Porsche 910, winner of the Nürburgring 1000-kilometre race in 1967, you’ll actually find a drawing of this car etched around the back of the case. Powered by a Seiko VK63 meca-quartz movement, it’s one of the only chronograph watches for men to feature a pulsometer calculator that’s extremely rare.
What’s also rare is the fact that the TPS is limited to just 1,000 pieces, and each one is individually numbered. There are a total of six colourways to choose from, and “Driver” and “Sports” silicone straps too, so you can make your one truly your own.
Waldor & Co. Chrono 39 Sardinia
Even though Waldor & Co. has only been around since 2012, the Swedish watch brand has managed to achieve more in this short period than most companies do in their entire lifetimes, and it’s thanks to pieces like the Waldor & Co. Chrono 39 Sardinia.
Blessed with a gorgeous blue sunray dial, the rhodium-plated 316L stainless steel case measures up at 39 millimetres, making it not too big and not too small. One of the best things about this style is that it’s water resistant to 10 ATM, making it the perfect companion for a swim or some light snorkelling.
Baltic Bicompax 002
It’s true that most chronograph watches for men look very rugged and very sporty, but if you’re looking for one that’s a little more on the dressier side, the Baltic Bicompax 002 has got your name written all over it.
Paying homage to the art deco movement and the 1940s, this is the perfect balance between the past, the present, and the future. With a unique 38 millimetre “step case” that’s made from a single piece of steel, it’s further elevated with a wide selection of different finishes, including horizontal brushing along the middle, circular on the lugs, and a highly-polished bezel. What’s there not to love?
Back in 2021, Bremont became the official training partner to Williams Racing, and the Bremont WR-22 was made to celebrate one of the greatest British teams in Formula One history. Incorporating a bi-directional tachymeter, this stunning piece of engineering is powered by a MB 13.25 automatic movement that’s got a 42-hour power reserve.
The crystal is made up of scratch-resistant sapphire, and it’s interlaid with a design that’s inspired by the 1970s, with auxiliary dials that show the seconds, minutes, and hours lapsed. If that wasn't cool enough already, each WR-22 comes with an original wheel nut from Williams Racing cars, which is a pretty big flex in itself.
IWC Pilot's Spitfire
As mentioned earlier, during the early 1900s, the chronograph transformed from a purely-scientific device to a wristwatch worn by some of most badass aircraft pilots of all-time, and the IWC Pilot's Spitfire nods to this. Featuring the same agile engineering as the iconic plane that it’s named after, it’s fitted with an ultra-precise 69380-calibre automatic movement, which the Swiss brand makes in-house. It’s very similar in geometry to Valjoux’s legendary 7750 cam-operated chronograph, but it has been upgraded with efficient bidirectional winding and a column-wheel-mediated stopwatch mechanism.
The black dial and deep brown leather strap reflect the interior of the Spitfire's cockpit, while the luminescent numbers and indices mean that you can read it clearly even in low light conditions. It’s a little on the pricier side, but it’s worth every single penny.
Junghans Max Bill Chronoscope
German watchmaking is some of the best in the world, and this has been epitomised with the iconic Junghans Max Bill Chronoscope. Also a nod to the Bauhaus school, this mid-century-inspired timepiece is very simple but very sophisticated at the same time.
With a 40 millimetre stainless steel case, it’s equipped with a sapphire glass crystal that tapers around the edges for an elegant look and feel. Luminous red hands add a fiery pop of colour to the matte white dial, and it’s finished off with a premium black leather strap. In summary, this is the perfect balance between form and function, just like the Bauhaus art movement itself.
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
There’s absolutely no way you can talk about the greatest chronograph watches for men without bringing up the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. Originally nicknamed the “Albino Daytona” when it was introduced in the ‘60s, this is regarded by many watch heads as one of the finest timepieces of all-time. With a 40 millimetre oyster-style case, it’s contrasted by a slick black monobloc Cerachrom bezel that’s etched with tachymetric scale around the circumference.
The Cosmograph Daytona comes with a perpetual self-winding movement that’s got a power reserve of three entire days, and it’s waterproof to up to one hundred metres as well. If that wasn’t enough, it swaps the usual steel casing for 18 carat white gold instead, that’s sourced from Rolex’s own exclusive foundry. If you want this in your collection, you’re probably going to have to think about remortgaging the house as it’ll set you back just over £28,000 – that’s if you’re lucky enough to buy it for retail, by the way. To give you some context, this exact model is currently reselling for double on some platforms, and these prices aren’t about to come down anytime soon.
Tag Heuer Formula 1
Not only is the Tag Heuer Formula 1 one of the most popular chronographs ever made, it’s also one of the most popular luxury watches ever made, period. Inspired by world-class racing drivers, this wristwatch is fitted with an ultra-reliable quartz movement and features date and tachymeter functions for that classic chrono aesthetic.
The Formula 1 is one helluva a track watch, but if you ever want to take a deep dive into the ocean, this is the ultimate companion as well. It’s crafted from durable stainless steel and has a water resistance rating of 200 ATM, which is the highest of any of the styles that we’ve mentioned here.
Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur
At last but certainly not least, we have the Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur. Introduced as part of the Swiss company’s prestigious Marine Collection, this is presented in a 44 millimetre stainless steel case that has a big and bold presence on the wrist. The bright white dial is organised by elongated blue steel hands and Roman numeral hour markers that contribute to the sleek 1930s-esque aesthetic. It’s then secured with a brown alligator style leather strap as well, which just feels supple and sumptuous.
The Marine Torpilleur also happens to be one of the rarest chronograph watches for men available today. Limited to just 300 pieces across the entire globe, each one is individually numbered on the side. So if you want this in your collection, you need to stop what you’re doing and grab it right now.