Buying Guide: The Best Chronograph Watches for £500

Buying Guide: The Best Chronograph Watches for £500

5 min read
Tim Vaux


Tim Vaux


Discover some of the best chronographs available online up to £500 from interesting new brands...

The category of chronograph watches has always been a popular one. Brands such as Omega, Zenith, Rolex and Tag Heuer are pioneers in the commercial success and continued relevance of the humble chronograph. We will try to avoid getting too deep into the whole history of chronographs and why they're so important to the watch world (especially chronographs with an automatic movement...another time maybe) as today we want to talk about the best chronographs available today for £500 (and under).

The Zenith El Primero is pretty important when it comes to automatic chronographs... - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Today we're focusing on watches that punch well above their price tag from the world of watches. It's easy to be distracted by some of the big players in the watch world so here we want to prioritise the small brands who are creating watches for the right passionate reasons.

The Baltic BiCompax 001

Based near Besançon in France, Baltic watches are all about the traditional craftsmanship in watchmaking taking an authentic inspiration from the seemingly endless world of vintage watches. This is naturally something that translates perfectly in their range of watches, particularly the BiCompax 001. Powered by the popular Seagull ST1901, the BiCompax 001 has the look and feel of a genuine vintage watch. The 38mm case, gilt colouring on the dial with that black dial backdrop all evoke the feeling of a genuine vintage watch on the wrist.

And for approximately £460 (converted from euros) you can add a piece to your collection that aesthetically is vintage with the added bonus of knowing if anything happens to it (as any vintage chronograph owner knows) the brand is just an email away with the required support.

Find out more here.

The Nezumi Voiture

Nezumi Studios is a really interesting brand created in Stockholm by David Cardenes. Self-confessed vintage car and watch enthusiast the designer by trade clearly has the right interests (and eye) for creating watches. Nezumi currently has only chronographs in their range with two quite distinctive styles appearing. First is a military chronograph feel in the form of their Corbeau and the other is a very motorsports, racing-themed 60s era feel in the shape of the Voiture and Loews.

The Voiture is our suggestion here with its clever use of colours, distinctive angles, mixture of finishes and considered design. Powered by the VK63 mecha quartz movement and costing approximately £300 we think it deserves your attention. Oh, and because David is a designer the packaging is very cool on this piece, it's the small things right?

(Here we have the Pink Panther limited edition, however, they do offer more subtle options on the site!)

Geckota C-04 Racing Chronograph

The Geckota C-04 Racing Chronograph - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Next up we have something a little closer to home, and the Geckota C-04 Racing Chronograph. Released last month, the C-04 is powered by the VK64 mecha quartz movement featuring a first for the brand; a fully ceramic bezel. The watch has motorsports themed touches throughout from the clever use of colour to the font used for the tachymeter and the contrasting seconds' track. You also get a date window at the 6 o'clock position for extra usability. A subtly curved stainless steel case side and clever polishing around the lugs emphases the case's appealing details.

The Geckota C-04 Racing Chronograph - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

It's tricky to pass comment on this watch without sound bias, but I genuinely believe you get a lot of watch for your money here. Available in three colours green, blue and black all fitted to our ever-popular sailcloth straps. The watch has 20mm lugs as well-meaning we have plenty of options, just look at 20mm watch bands here!

Currently available here - RRP £299.

Christopher Ward C3 Grand Tourer

Christopher Ward is a very established player in the microbrand world, creating all manner of watches from dress, diving watches, travel watches and of course chronographs. The watch in question here is the C3 Grand Tourer. A 39mm case which is just 10.8mm thick makes up the watches core DNA with a bright colourful clearly racing-themed dial design building on this. The watch is powered by the Ronda 5021.D quartz movement so you will get a tick to the chronograph hand rather than the sweep you see on the mecha-quartz powered watches.

The Christopher Ward C3 Grand Tourer - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

There is also a blue dial and silver option to choose from if the green is a little too much for you. Priced at £395 on the leather strap, this is a fantastic option if you want something from Christopher Ward to give you a taste of what the brand can offer.

Discover more here.

The Dan Henry Range

If you want to save your pennies, Dan Henry is our final suggestion here, and rightfully so. The brand is named after its founder who originally started collecting genuine vintage watch. It's fair to say his collection grew to a respectable size of 1,500 watches which can now be seen over at Timeline.Watch.

This knowledge and experience of a vast amount of watches acted as the building blocks to the Dan Henry brand which now respectfully takes inspiration from the rare and sought after watches found in Dan's collection over the year.

There are a few pieces that stand out to me, the 1962 and 1963 and to name a few. These watches are priced between $200-$350 (approx £150 - £270).

So there you have it five chronographs that all fall under the £500 mark that offer great value for money be it in statistically or visually. Be sure to let us know in the comments below which is your pick of the bunch as well as letting us know some other buying guides you'd be interested in seeing more of on the Mag.

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Tim Vaux

About the Author: Tim Vaux

I don't think I can remember a time in my life when watches weren't in my life. I've been writing about watches online for a handful of years now, enjoying every moment of it. I'm passionate about experiencing the world of watches and translating those experiences via articles and images for the wider audience to consume.

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