Motorsports and watches have a long, happy relationship with each other. Naturally, as car fans, we enjoy some classy wristwear as well. Chronographs add an extra integrated stopwatch function and were used as personal timers before the digital era—helpful for tracking lap increments around your favorite racetrack. Today, the chronograph function is effectively nullified by our phones and their built-in stopwatches, but that’s no fun.
There’s a certain aura you experience with a chronograph—maybe it’s a blessing from Kings of Cool Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. Or perhaps it’s the satisfying feeling knowing you can enjoy a few laps with mechanical control just like they did years ago.
Regardless, we think every car fan should own a chronograph watch, and with these, your bank account won’t get emptied. Here are our favorite affordable chronographs—enjoy the consciousness of cool that arrives with the box.
Our 5 Favorite Automotive Watches for Car Enthusiasts
We love the clean look and value of the Timex Weekender. If you’re not a fan of the blue/leather combo, there’s a solid selection of face and strap colors to choose from. The Weekender is a fantastic choice for daily use and can handle the distress of a weekend wrench sesh.
We’ve liked Casio wristwear for a long time, and this Aviator chronograph is a great entry-level piece. The face is a bit busy, but the orange hands help you see the important stuff. The various functions allow you to calculate percentages and convert miles per hour to kilometers per hour, which can be handy for us car folk. If you like a lot of information with a clean, stainless-steel look, this is the chronograph for you.
Another one of Timex’s excellent affordable chronographs, the Expedition Field displays a more rugged, national parks-y look. The face numerals ascend in increments of five to hark back to the watch’s military roots. The 30-minute chronograph is accurate down to 1/20th of a second. This is a great companion for your next outdoorsy road trip.
If you like clustered, busy faces with oodles of information, the Seiko Flightmaster is just what you need. Geared more toward aviation, this chronograph still has plenty of automotive use—chiefly the big mph function at 12 o’clock. It might take a bit of time to master all the information, but it’s totally worth it.
The Chinese company Seagull originally manufactured the Original 1963, and its clean, beautiful design made it an instant classic chronograph. Today, a company called Seakoss creates these dedicated reissues that feature the same inner workings as the originals. This mechanical chrono is a manual-wind piece, which has its own pros and cons. But we’ll gladly wind it over and over to enjoy its beautiful design.
Something about the font on the face of this chronograph makes it all work. Designed to celebrate 100 years of the Zeppelin airship brand, we love the crisp look of the entire piece. The chronograph function can measure elapsed time of up to 12 hours. Yes, hours. Got an endurance race on the agenda? Might be fun to test it out.
Citizen’s choice in the affordable chronograph foray is military inspired, with big numerals and a rugged green strap. Eco-Drive solar charging technology is present—all it takes is a few minutes under any light source and you’re good to go. When the chronograph is in use, the large red hand displays seconds elapsed, and it is easy to see against the black face. For a daily wrist piece, this is one of the best.
From: Road & Track
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