The Best Looking Dress Chronographs

From affordable to investment worthy.

A dress chronograph is a bit of a stylistic horological oxymoron. The more dressed-up the occasion, the less complicated your watch should look. And a chronograph, by it’s nature, is complicated. With the pushers on either side of the crown, the sub dials on the face, and extra hands to keep track of elapsed time, a chronograph is busy. But that’s precisely why some of us like them.

Whether you’re just attracted to a chronograph’s rule-of-thirds look, or sincerely appreciate the ability to track your flight time/how much you’ve got left on the parking meter/how long it takes for your boss to drone on in a meeting, a dress chronograph is a well appreciated piece for many. Here’s ten that’d fit right in when you’re at your most dressed up.

 

Kenneth Cole New York KC1568 – $88.04

KCNY Chrono on Dappered.com

Oddly good looking consindering KCNY & Reaction are still cranking out square toed shoes. Lots of class in a very affordable package. The font, seconds hand, and pushers all project a vintage feel. The band isn’t the best (not a smidgen of grain on the ultra-smooth thing) but for just under one hundred dollars it’d be easy to find a new one. Japanese quartz, mineral crystal.

 

Seiko SNDC3 Chronograph in Black or Brown & Beige – $130 – $140

Seiko Chronos on Dappered.com

Looks and feels like it cost much more than $135.  The black on black is sharp, and the cream/beige dial on the brown strap really sets off the retro looking font of the numbers.  It’s a quartz of course, but the watch feels solid and well made. Hugely versatile style.  Suit worthy, but post-work could easily be worn with jeans and a polo.

 

ESQ Movado Quest Chrono – $172.00 (Via HauteLook)

ESQ Movado on Dappered.com

The Movado step-down brand “ESQ” has taken a bit of a goofy turn, stylistically as of late. This model is from their previous style regime (see the Filmore), and it’s about as sharp as it gets for under $200. 42mm case diameter, all silver everything, and a strap that sits flush up against the case all add up to making this one smooth watch. Closeout pricing. Looks like these aren’t coming back any time soon. Available through the Nordstrom owned flash-sale site HauteLook, which is honestly one of the better flash-sale sites out there.

 

Emporio Armani Chronograph – $213.00 (Via HauteLook)

EA Chrono on Dappered.com

Yes, it’s a “fashion” brand (manufactured by Fossil) but this brassy, rose-gold looking option is slicker than snot. Nicely curved case, 42.5mm in diameter, and that contrasting sub-dial at 6 is a nice touch. Wouldn’t have minded if the designers had decided to leave the date off the dial. Another one that’s available through the Nordstrom owned flash-sale site HauteLook.

 

Orient Monterey in Silver or Beige Dial – $213.40 w/ dappered30 ($305)

Orient Monterey on Dappered.com

A quartz from Orient, but still certainly worth a mention. 42mm with razor sharp hands and a dial that balances busy w/ more dressed up. Onion style crown. Mineral crystal though, so if you’re expecting Sapphire at this price point, it ain’t there. Full review over here.

 

Citizen Eco Drive White Dial – $225.00

Citizen White Dial on Dappered.com

Take the Kenneth Cole’s styling, have a well respected brand throw it’s dependability behind it, throw a light-driven power source inside, and you’ve got one of Citizen’s best new additions in years. A welcome 10om water resistance means you won’t have to baby it. Mineral crystal on this one too.

 

Braun Ceramic Bezel Chrono – $256 w/ RETAILMENOT20 ($320)

Braun Chrono on Dappered.com

Is there such a thing as retro-modern? Design pulled from the Dieter Rams era. Hat tip to IronRinn in the comments over here for the 20% off code. Good through today, 1/13.

 

Christopher Ward C3 Malvern MK II – $295

CW C3 Malvern on Dappered.com

If you’re patient, you can sometimes get these for 15% off (Father’s Day, Black Friday, etc…). Swiss made, English Design, and one of the best looking Quartz Chronographs on the market. Extra points for that round date-window. Many a dial/strap combination to choose from.

 

Tissot Carson Automatic Chronograph  – $550 – $700

Tissot Carson on Dappered.com

Tough to find, but incredible in person (this pic on Overstock doesn’t do it justice, at all). Runs on the relatively new Swiss Made C01.211 movement. The multi layered stainless case has some art-deco influence to it, and the entire watch looks (and feels) like a vintage stopwatch. Exhibition case back & sapphire crystal. Full price over at Bloomingdale’s. Out of stock at Jomashop. On Amazon but only through 3rd party sellers and not being fulfilled by Amazon at this time.

 

The Investment: Hamilton Jazzmaster Maestro – $1100 and up

Hamilton Maestro on Dappered.com

Runs off the dependable and snappy Valjoux 7750. A less fortunate (but still very fortunate) man’s IWC Portuguese.  Sapphire Crystal, and exhibition caseback. Silver dial with a white outer minutes ring. A too-big-for-many-wrists 45mm case diameter but the body feels mighty solid. Couple of models fulfilled and available w/ prime on Amazon.

 

The Freak (both in price, & movement) Christopher Ward Single Pusher – $3365.00

CWard Pusher on Dappered.com

Instead of start/stop & reset pushers on either side of the crown, the crown is the start/stop & reset pushers. It’s a monopusher. Understated but razor sharp. Only 250 pieces made. More on this thing over here.

Any other Dress Chronographs come to mind? Are you a fan of chronographs in general, and can explain why? What’s appealing about having a stop-watch on your wrist anyway? Leave it all in the comments below…