by oren hartov

The Best Chronograph Watches at Every Budget

Bulova Lunar Pilot

Widely available for well under $1,000 in various configurations, the contemporary Lunar Pilot beats at a whopping 262 kHz and features large “paddle” pushers, a Speedmaster-esque dial, and an optional, subtle date window.

Yema Speedgraf

Its contemporary-feeling 39mm case, sapphire crystal, and automatic operation will be appreciated by modern wearers, while its throwback aesthetics and breathable “rally” strap will please vintage watch enthusiasts.

Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pioneer Mechanical Chrono

Well sized at 40mm and featuring vintage-colored lume, it looks like a museum-grade piece of vintage militaria — but the hand-wound Hamilton Calibre H-51-Si beating away inside makes use of a silicon balance spring and features an impressive 60-hour power reserve.

IWC Portugieser Chronograph

This particular model features the collection’s classic up-down configuration, with the totalizers placed at 12 and 6 o’clock, plus a stunning 18K gold case, an in-house movement, and a mesmerizing slate grey dial in a sunray finish.

Patek Philippe 5773P Grand Complication

Emblematic of the type of high-end watchmaking for which Patek Philippe has long been known, it’s priced at “If You Have to Ask…,” but such is the cost of owning a timepiece that takes decades of experience to produce.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, chronographs were extremely useful, seeing as they were just about the only practical way to record elapsed time. Horse races, artillery barrages, hot laps — all were once timed using hand-held or wrist-worn chronographs.  During the Apollo XIII mission, American astronaut Jim Lovell famously timed an engine burn in order to reorient the Lunar Excursion Module back with Earth and save his crew. Pretty gnarly.

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