Monochrome Watches
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Buying Guide

Five Cool New Chronographs Priced Below 3,5K

Arguably the most popular complication in mechanical watchmaking, the chronograph can come in any way, shape or form.

| By Robin Nooy | 6 min read |

It’s not the first time year we’ve grouped together a selection of chronograph watches, and it’s likely not going to be the last time. With Watches & Wonders already well and truly in the past, and Geneva Watch Days not quite here yet, brand’s haven’t slowed down much to present us with new and exciting watches. And with the chronograph being a fan favourite complication, it didn’t take too long to compile a Buying Guide or two. And now we revisit the faithful “Chrono” once more, with six of the most recent new entries of this ever-popular type of wristwatch. 

Hanhart 417 ES 1954

When it comes to historically relevant, and vintage-inspired chronographs at a relatively affordable price, it’s impossible to ignore Hanhart. Especially when they release a more compact and downright fantastic version of the iconic 417 ES, a very classically styled pilot’s chronograph. Measuring 39mm across, where its larger brother comes in at 42mm, this feels more in line with the historical inspiration behind it. On top of the stainless steel case sits the signature bi-directional rotatable coin-edge bezel with a red marker. It is powered by the modern Sellita SW 510-M, a manually wound chronograph with 58 hours of running time. Worn on a period-styled black leather Bund strap, the Hanhart 417 ES 1954 retails for EUR 1,980.

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Quick Facts – 39mm x 13.5mm – stainless steel case, brushed and polished – fluted bidirectional rotating bezel with red marker – box-shaped sapphire crystal – solid caseback – 100m water-resistant – matte black dial – painted hour markers and hands with Super-LumiNova – bi-compax layout – Sellita SW 510-M – manually wound chronograph – 23 jewels – 28.800vph – 58h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph with central seconds and 30-minute counter – black calfskin Bund strap – EUR 1,980

Tissot Telemeter 1938

Tissot knows a thing or two when it comes to chronograph watchmaking, and has created some very cool ones this year. Just take a peek at the PRX Chronograph Automatic, the PRS 516 Chronograph, or the recently introduced Telemeter 1938. It is available with either a black dial and gilt indices, tracks and hands, or a silver dial with contrasting red and blue details and hands. As its name suggests, it captures the spirit of chronographs from the 1930s. The most notable feature is the telemeter scale on the periphery of the dial, paired with a sailing tachymeter scale. The Tissot Telemeter 1938 is equipped with a Valjoux A05.321 automatic chronograph, delivering a steady 68 hours of power. Worn on a leather strap, it retails for EUR 1,995.

Tissot Telemeter 1938 Chronograph Heritage Collection

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Quick Facts – 42mm x 15mm – stainless steel case, brushed and polished – box-shaped sapphire crystal – see-through caseback – oval-shaped pushers – 30m water-resistant – silver or black gilt dial – telemeter and tachymeter chronograph scales – sword-shaped hands – Calibre Valjoux A05.321 – automatic chronograph – 29 jewels – 28,800vph – 68h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph with central seconds and 30-minute counter – dark brown or cognac leather strap with pin buckle – EUR 1,995

Certina ds chronograph automatic 1968

With a distinct 1960s design and a 43.5mm by 43.5mm cushion-shaped case, the Certina DS Chronograph Automatic 1968 is surely a chunky and funky piece. It takes after an original Certina chronograph from the late sixties, called the DS Argonaut. It comes in either black steel or with a black PVD coating. Both versions have their own dial, with either a black one with orange applied indices or a deep blue dial with white makers. The hour and minute hands are white, and all is finished with white Super-LumiNova. It uses Swatch Group’s ETA A05.H31, which is a substantially upgraded Valjoux 7750. The steel model comes on a black and silver NATO strap and costs CHF 1,930, while the black PVD coated model comes with a black leather strap and costs CHF 1,970.

Certina DS Chronograph Automatic 1968

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Quick Facts – 43.5mm x 43.5mm – stainless steel cushion-shaped case with optional black PVD coating – rotating bezel with sapphire insert – sapphire crystal front and back – 200m water-resistant – black dial with orange indices or deep blue dial with white indices – white hands with Super-LumiNova – ETA A05.H31 (based on ETA/Valjoux 7753) – automatic chronograph – 27 jewels – 28,800vph – 60h power reserve – hours, minutes, small second, chronograph with 30-minute counter – silicone balance spring – black NATO strap with silver stripes or black leather strap with butterfly clasp – CHF 1,930 (steel and NATO strap) – CHF 1,970 (black PVD coated steel and leather strap)

Frederique Constant Highlife chronograph automatic

The Highlife collection by Frederique Constant has been quite an impressive success for the brand, and rightfully so. It is well-executed, comes in many interesting iterations and remains relatively affordable. The latest member of the family is the Highlife Chronograph Automatic, which comes in three different versions. First up is a classical stainless steel model with a black dial, followed by a limited edition white and blue panda dial and lastly a more outspoken two-tone option. The lack of a tachymeter scale results in a more casual vibe. All three are powered by the Calibre FC-321, a Valjoux 7750 modified by La Joux-Perret. Part of the modifications includes an extended power reserve, which is now 60 hours long. Straps and bracelets are interchangeable, and it retails between EUR 2,995 and EUR 3,295.

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Quick Facts – 41mm x 14.22mm – stainless steel or stainless steel with rose gold plated elements – sapphire crystal front and back – 100m water-resistant – blue and white panda dial – silver and rose gold dial – black dial – applied indices and hands with Super-LumiNova – Calibre FC-391 (modified Valjoux 7750) – automatic chronograph – 26 jewels – 28.800vph – 60h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph with 12-hour and 30-minute counter, date – interchangeable steel bracelet, rubber or leather straps – Panda dial limited to 1,888 pieces – EUR 2,995 (black dial, steel case) or EUR 3,295 (bicolour or blue panda)

Delma Montego

Part of Delma’s modus operandi is to create robust mechanical watches at a reasonable price. And just by looking at the spread of its collections, you get a sense they are not cutting corners. A 4,000m water-resistant diver, a robust field watch, or a classy chronograph, it’s all there. And it’s the last one we’re looking at today, the Delma Montego. The stainless steel case has been reduced from 45mm to 42mm and has a stainless steel bezel with a tachymeter scale. The dial comes in black, blue, white or green and has a distinct racy vibe to it. The Montego relies on the Valjoux 7750, providing you with the time, a chronograph and a day-date display. It costs CHF 2,200 on a Cordura-effect rubber strap or CHF 2,300 on a steel bracelet.

Delma Montego Chronograph Automatic

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Quick Facts – 42mm x 16.2mm – stainless steel case and bezel – sapphire crystal front and back – screw-down crown – 200m water-resistant – black, white, blue or green dial – vertical tricompax chronograph layout with day-date display – Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph – 25 jewels – 28.800vph – 48h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph with 12-hour and 30-minute counter, day, date – CHF 2,200 (Cordura-effect rubber strap) or CHF 2,300 (steel bracelet)

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