A chronograph is, in simple terms, a watch with a stopwatch feature. Admittedly these days, most of us do not need a stopwatch on our wrist, but the chronograph watch remains a steadfast favorite with many of us regardless. It is one of the most sought-after complications. And who doesn’t like seeing the mechanism in motion at the push of the start button?
A wide variety of chronographs are available in the market today, and you can find something in every price range. However, today we look at our top 10 favorite automatic chronographs under $5,000.
Frédérique Constant Highlife Chronograph Automatic – $3,195
Introduced in 2022, this Highlife Chronograph Automatic from Frédérique Constant comes in a 41 mm stainless steel case with an integrated steel bracelet for ultimate comfort. The black dial features the engraved longitude and latitude lines that form a globe. The dial has three subdials: small seconds at 9 o’clock, a 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, and elapsed times of 30 minutes at 3 o’clock.
The watch is equipped with the FC-391 automatic movement, which offers 60 hours of power reserve, and the case is water-resistant to 100 meters. A neat extra touch is that the strap is interchangeable, letting you easily switch from the metal bracelet to the additional rubber strap that comes with the Highlife Chronograph Automatic.
Delma Continental Pulsometer – $2,775
Just introduced today, Delma’s new stylish vintage-inspired Continental Pulsometer brings a lot to the table: chronograph, pulsometer, telemeter, tachymeter, small seconds, and date. The red pulsometer function can actually calculate your heart rate!
The 42 mm case is in stainless steel fitted with a gray hand-made Italian leather strap. The silver sunray brushed dial features a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and a small second counter at 9. The Delma Continental Pulsometer is powered by a customized Sellita SW510 automatic chronograph movement with a power reserve of 63 hours. The watch is water-resistant to 100 meters.
Alpina Alpiner4 Chronograph – $3,150
Known as the Alpina 4 concept for the four essential qualities of a sports watch: water-resistant, anti-magnetic, anti-shock, and made in stainless steel. Introduced by Alpina in 2022, the Alpiner4 Chronograph comes in a stainless steel case fitted with a matching 3-link steel bracelet, but this watch is not for the small wrists out there, with a case size of 44 mm and a height of 15.70 mm.
The blue dial has a bi-compax layout (only two subdials) with a 30-minute chronograph counter at 3 o’clock and a running seconds counter at 9. The Alpiner4 Chronograph is powered by the AL-860 automatic chronograph movement and has a power reserve of 55 hours. The watch is water-resistant to 100 meters.
Titoni Heritage Bicompax Chronograph Modern Retro- $2,400
Titoni dates back to 1919 when the still-today family-owned company was launched under the Felca name. The Heritage Bicompax Chronograph Retro, launched in 2021, actually takes its inspiration from a 1950s Felca bicompax chronograph.
The 41 mm polished stainless steel case has subtle facets on the lugs that are typical of a vintage design. The white dial features a tachymeter, a telemeter, and a chronograph. Two subdials give you the small seconds at 9 o’clock and a 30-minute chronograph counter at 3. The transparent case back offers a beautiful view of the Sellita SW 510BHa automatic chronograph movement, with an autonomy of 48 hours. The watch is water resistant to 50 meters.
Ball Watch Roadmaster Rescue Chronograph – $2,599
The Ball Watch Roadmaster Rescue Chronograph is a purpose-built instrument for search and rescue scenarios, with excellent accuracy, simple readability, and high functionality, limited to 1’000 pieces. The timepiece is powered by the automatic caliber RR1402, which can maintain accuracy from -45°C to 80°C (-49°F to 176°F).
The 41mm titanium-steel case provides excellent impact strength, lightweight wearing comfort, and trusted durability even at harsh temperatures. The chronograph function works in tandem with the pulsometer to measure heart rate. Self-powered micro gas tubes adorn the dial, hands, and an insert on the ceramic diving bezel to provide optimal vision even in pitch darkness, while the dial’s Arabic numerals and bezel markings are coated in Superluminova. This Ball Watch is literally ready for any situation and is available in several color variations!
DOXA SUB 200 C-Graph – $2’650
DOXA was one of the first brands to introduce color into the world of watches over 50 years ago. Their 1967 orange dial caused a sensation throughout the watch industry. With its six dial color variations, orange, dark blue, turquoise, yellow, orange, and black, the DOXA SUB 200 C-Graph is no different.
The SUB-200 is a three-counter self-winding mechanical chronograph diving watch with a 56-hour power reserve. The chronograph functions include a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and a 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock. The 316L stainless steel 45 mm case has a unidirectional rotating bezel and a patented bezel with a double scale for diving time and depth. The Sub-200 C-graph features a screw-down crown ensuring complete protection while exploring the seas to 200 meters or 650 feet. The timepiece is fitted with a stainless steel bracelet or a matching rubber strap.
Tudor Black Bay Chrono – $4,750
Tudor has really come into its own in the past years, and the Black Bay collection is an excellent example. The Black Bay Chrono offers high-quality finishings and mechanics that you would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in the same price range.
The 41 mm polished and brushed stainless steel case offers a water resistance of 200 meters. The black dial has two white subdials for the small seconds at 9 o’clock and a 45-minute chronograph counter at 3. Around the dial is a traditional tachymeter scale bezel in black, applied over the aluminum. The watch is fitted with a black textile strap and is powered by a Manufacture Calibre MT5813.
Louis Erard La Sportive Limited Editon Titanium – $3,250
Louis Erard La Sportive is perfect for anyone who wants it all in a chronograph watch. Like most Louis Erard watches, the La Sportive Titanium is limited, in this case, to 250 pieces.
The 44 mm case is in Grade 5 titanium, a material usually reserved for watches that are definitely not in the under $5,000 category. The insert bezel is in black ceramic and features a tachymeter. The case is completed with an extra-domed sapphire glass, emphasizing the smoked blue dial. A Valjoux 7750 automatic caliber powers the Louis Erard La Sportive, and functions include hours, minutes, small seconds, date, day of the week, and, of course, a chronograph. The timepiece is also available with either a green or black dial.
Junghans 1972 Competition – $2,590
The 1972 Competition celebrates Junghans’ official role as a timekeeper at the 1972 Munich Olympics, channeling the perfect vintage chrono vibe. The style is classic 1970s with an elliptical-shaped stainless steel case and a funky orange and gray dial fitted on a black and orange leather strap.
The chronograph emulates the shape of a hand-held stopwatch with the crown and the pushers at the top of the case, also known as bullheads. The orange 30-minute counter is at 12 o’clock, and the small seconds are at 6 o’clock on the gray sun-brushed dial. The Junghans 1972 Competition is powered by the J880.5 – Sellita SW510, which has a power reserve of 48 hours when fully wound. The timepiece is limited to 1972 pieces.
Tutima Grand Fleiger Airport Chronograph – $3,400
Tutima has a long history of manufacturing pilot watches, and the Grand Fleiger Airport collection takes inspiration from one of their original 1940s models. The iconic bidirectional bezel, with a 60-minute scale and a red marker, is in green ceramic, perfectly matching the military green smoked dial.
The 43 mm stainless steel case comes with a screw-down crown and is water-resistant to 200 meters. The Tutima caliber 310, which is based on the ETA Valjoux 7750, can be seen through the sapphire crystal case back and boasts a power reserve of 44 hours. The Tutima Grand Fleiger Airport Chronograph is also available in classic blue.
If you still have not found what you are looking for, check out The Watch Pages Watch Finder, where you will find 557 more automatic chronographs under $5,000. And if you prefer a quartz movement, there are another 435 chronographs to choose from!
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