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Best chronograph watch: Seiko Selection Solar Chronograph Panda

6 Best Chronograph Watches Under $500: Practical and Stylish

A good chronograph watch with a good price

Dec 23, 2023

Nowadays, I think it’s awfully possible to find the best chronograph under $500 with good quality. I can tell because they’re getting popular and have been improved by adjusting both the practical and their stylish side. Well-known for its cool, serious, and masculine look, a chronograph watch evidently represents an interesting history in the watchmaking industry

Throwing back to the previous century, the first timepiece to be publicly marketed as a chronograph was invented by Nicholas Mathieu Rieussec, a watchmaker of the French King Louis XVII. Nicholas got an order from the king to make a watch that could record the lap time of his beloved horse races. Then, on his Majesty’s command, Rieussec created the first commercialized modern Chronograph in 1821.

Nicholas’ chronograph is composed of two faces, one of which uses the kinetic energy of the chronograph movement to move a small needle filled with ink. However, it was unsuitable for multiple uses due to its thirst for ink. Therefore, he tried to make further development by adding a re-setting feature that allowed for successive measurements to be taken without ink.

At this point, a chronograph was still just a stopwatch before finally having been miniaturized and integrated into timekeeping wristwatches in the early twentieth century.

What is a Chronograph Watch and How to Use One?

“We’re not strangers, only the introduction is missing”. I think that quotation could also simply mean “If you feel confused or less interested in this type of watch, it’s probably because you miss the introduction”. That’s why, if you’re brand new to this watch, we’re going to provide the introduction for you.

So, what is a chronograph watch? Well, it’s actually simply a watch that combines a wristwatch with a stopwatch function. It commonly uses two or three sub-dials to measure separated times. The three sub-dials are used to measure second, minute and hour separately. 

Meanwhile those with only two sub-dials, one of which is usually used for the main time’s running second.  If you see some pushers there, the top one is usually the “start” and “stop” buttons, while the bottom one is usually used to reset the timer. 

Read also: What is a Chronograph Watch? The Functions and How It Works

Things to Consider Before Buying a Chronograph Watch

What things should be considered to buy the best chronograph under $500? Personally, I think it’s never enough to only know the surface part of something. Therefore, before dropping some bucks to pick the best chronograph watches for men, I prefer to ask some of these questions as a consideration.

1. Is it Mechanical or Quartz?

It might be a debate, but I personally love to have a quartz chronograph for a more affordable option. It’s because usually features like flybacks are less expensive than mechanical ones. 

However, it’s less timeless if compared to a chronograph mechanical watch. That’s why, if you want to have them for a long period of time, I do recommend you choose the mechanical one. 

2.  Will the Size Fit My Wrist?

For some people, size probably doesn’t really matter, but for me choosing the right size of a watch is important to give more comfort. Not all chrono are giant, but commonly it has a thick size. So, if you’re the same as me, pick the best one that offers more comfort for you.

3.  What Type of Chronograph Do I Want?

You also should know that chronograph offers plenty of options, such as basic chronos, monopusher, flybacks, and many more. Each of those has its own practical functions with a specific look and style. In the end, I recommend you determine the best one based on your taste or necessities. 

4.  What are Additional Features that Increase the Value of a Chronograph Watch?

As an additional value, commonly present modern chronographs are equipped with some premium materials such as sapphire crystal, ceramic, and titanium. It’s also usually paired with various options of bracelets to adjust the wearer’s persona.

6 Best Chronographs Under $500 for Boosting your Sporty Look

We might have known that chronograph watches were initially used as a timekeeper tool. However, as time goes by, we can put the function aside and use them merely as daily accessories to complete our wardrobe. 

The fascinating sporty and masculine look of the watch will never fail to make you look sporty and more stylish. That’s why if you want to look stunningly different, we have highlighted some recommendations for the 6 best chronographs under $500 that will boost your style to its finest.

Seiko – Selection Solar Chronograph Panda

Best chronograph watch under 500: Seiko Selection Solar Chronograph Panda

The first best chronograph under $500 on the list is Seiko Selection Solar Chronograph Panda. As a newer series from Seiko, the selection range takes pride in its multitude of affordable watches with timeless designs. Measuring 42.2mm in diameter, this watch has a lug-to-lug of 48.3mm and 12mm in thickness.

“The Panda ” characteristic is displayed by the manufacturers from the monochrome dial layout. It uses a classic 3-6-9 layout at the sub-dial, with the thickening second hand at 3, a 60-minute counter at 6, and the 24-hour indicator at 9. 

More than that, Seiko Selection Solar Chronograph also allows you to calculate the speed of an object because it has a tachymeter scale etched on the black bezel.

Driven by the Seiko V75 movement, this panda watch is a solar-powered watch that needs no battery replacement. With a stated deviation of +/-15 seconds per month, Seiko Solar Chronograph is also highly accurate. 

Price: $ 344 USD

Citizen – Avion Eco-Drive 

The next best chronograph under $500 on the list is the Citizen Avion Eco-Drive. Inspired by a vintage reminiscent of transatlantic flights in the 1950s, this watch offers you a great classic appearance from its leather calfskin and classic date function. 

Like other chronograph watches, it features three sub-dials and a date display placed between four and five o’clock. For the size, Citizen Avion Eco-drive also owns standard men’s band size, 45mm in diameter and 13.5 mm in thickness. If you think those specifications might look so regular, then the similarities stop here.

The additional outstanding feature of this best chronograph under $500 is the usage of Caliber number B620, an eco-drive technology for its movement. This movement innovation allows you to use them without any battery. So, just charge it by light and you’re ready to go. 

Price: $ 250 USD

Tissot – Carson Chronograph 

Carrying a classic appearance, Tissot Carson Chronograph uses a roman time marker and silver color to coat the dial, a perfect match when paired with its alligator-style grained cowhide strap. Even though it has a classic design, the movement of this watch is sophisticatedly modern. It’s a quartz watch that is driven by the ETA G10.212.

Protected by a sapphire crystal, Tissot Carson Chronograph has extremely high resistance to impact and a superior screen. More than that, it also has great force up to a pressure of 5 bar (5m/165 ft) under the water. With those specifications, the Carson Chronograph is another best chronographs under $500 you should have to get an elegant and simple look in a bundle. 

Price: $ 415.00 USD

Read more: 6 Best Chronograph Watches Under $2000

Timex – Waterbury X Pan Am Chronograph

In proud partnership with one of the most iconic global airlines in aviation history, Pan American World Airways, Timex released Waterbury X Pan Am Chronograph as their newest timepiece in Waterbury collection. This collaborative timepiece not only conveys the charm and grandeur of travel’s early days, but also the precision, ergonomics, and legibility of a traditional pilot’s watch. 

The vintage aesthetic look of this aesthetic watch is packed into a 42mm stainless steel case with a navy-blue dial clean. This navy-blue dial color is also aimed to allow navigators easily decipher the time and orient themselves while flying. 

About the movement, it is driven by quartz and protected with 50m water resistance. With those specifications, this watch could be a good collection for the best chronograph under $500 that embodies the spirit of America. 

Price: $ 149.00 USD

Nordgreen –  Pioneer Chronograph

Designed in a minimalistic layout, Pioneer combines a stopwatch function with multiple sub-dials while maintaining a clean composition at the dial. The dial is enhanced with a domed sapphire crystal, which makes it well-equipped to withstand damage and brings subtle depth to the dial.

To ensure the size, it measures 42mm in diameter, 11.9 mm in case thickness, and 20mm in strap width, a standard band for men’s chronograph watches. Powered by a Japanese quartz movement and 10 ATM water resistance, the Pioneer Chronograph could be the best chronograph watch under $500 that is suitable for anyone with an active lifestyle.

Price: $ 296.406 USD

Vincero –  Luxury Men Chrono S

The next best chronograph under $500 you might like is Vincero Luxury Men Chrono S. Mentioned as Vincero’s best-selling collection, the Chrono S is a quartz watch that is made to be versatile, for both sport or casual timepieces

Measuring 43mm in diameter, 11mm in thickness, and 22mm in strap width, Vincero Luxury Men Chrono S will not make you look too subtle. Just like the name, the Luxury Men Chrono S is intentionally made to look luxurious and easily catch anyone’s eye with a simple turn of the reflective details at the supple Italian leather band and Italian marble showcase. 

Price: $ 213.503 USD

Well, those are some best chronographs under $500 that offer great value for both practical and visual looks. Pick the best one and show your confidence with the best chronograph watch on your wrist. 

You might also like: Chronometer vs. Chronograph: What’s the Difference? 

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