6 Chronometer Watches You Can Buy Under $3,000


September 24, 2018 Watches By

Accuracy probably doesn’t play too big of a role in most peoples’ watch purchases, and while practically speaking there’s not much reason to own something hyper-accurate, there’s an ineffable coolness to a high-performance watch. Given that only a tiny fraction of watches out there are tested for accuracy by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC), in addition to being a certification of accuracy, having “Chronometer” printed on a watch dial a badge of honor in the watch world. As such, many of the chronometer watches you can buy cost a decent chunk of change.

With that said, in recent years we’ve seen more of a push by watchmakers to offer more value for money, and a chronometer-accurate watch on the lower end of the price spectrum is a great way to do that. As such, there are a few certifiable chronometer watches on the market that you can buy for a couple of thousand dollars — some for even less. Here are six great options that won’t break the bank.

Tissot Ballade Powermatic 80

Silicon internals are progressively becoming the new hotness in mechanical watchmaking, but while most watches using the material cost thousands, Tissot offers a silicon balance spring in a watch that costs under $1,000, an exceptional value. That silicon helps achieve COSC-level accuracy, but it also bestows the Ballade with a lengthy 80-hour power reserve, meaning you can take the watch off for a few days at a time, pop it back on and it will still be running. In addition to the excellent movement, the watch comes in at under 10mm thick and features detailed texturing both on the dial and bezel.

Movement: Tissot Powermatic 80.811 automatic (ETA 2824-2 base)
Size: 41mm
Water resistance: 50m

Mido Commander Icône

This sleek and lugless timepiece is based on an old-school Mido chronometer design, and while the case size is decidedly modern at 42mm, the rest of the watch is authentic to the original’s retro looks. The Icône comes mounted to a sleek mesh metal strap and comes in a variety of shimmering sunray dials; inside, meanwhile, it rocks an automatic movement that, like the Tissot, features an 80-hour power reserve and a silicon balance spring.

Movement: Mido Caliber 80 Si automatic (ETA C07.821 base)
Size: 42mm
Water resistance: 50m

Christopher Ward C60 Trident COSC 600

Most accessibly-priced chronometers offer dressy looks, but Christopher Ward went and put in its chronometer-certified SH21 movement — an in-house developed automatic chronometer movement — inside the burly C60 Trident diver. The specs are pretty impressive, too: you get a solid 120 hours of power reserve and 600 meters of water resistance. Not that you’ll need the latter, but the former is nice if you cycle through a lot of watches. Better yet, the damn thing starts at under $2,000.

Movement: Christopher Ward SH21 automatic
Size: 43mm
Water resistance: 600m

Oris Artelier Chronometer

Oris has received enthusiast acclaim for its accessibly-priced mechanical tool watches, but its lesser-known Artelier is a handsome, dressy piece with a lot to offer. The obvious is a chronometer-certified automatic but the other highlight is the handsome dial with an eye-catching guilloche dial pattern and gold-toned accents.

Movement: Oris 737 automatic (Sellita SW200-1 base)
Size: 40mm
Water resistance: 50m

Longines Record

Longines, having dabbled in quartz and hi-beat watches back in the day, has long had a penchant for building accurate watches, so an accessibly-priced chronometer is well within the brand’s wheelhouse. That’s what we get with the Longines Record, a simple time-and-date watch with an automatic chronometer movement, a middling (in a good way) 40mm case with a few different dial designs on offer.

Movement: Longines L888.4 automatic (ETA A31.L11 base)
Size: 40mm
Water resistance: 30m

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic COSC

Released at this year’s SIHH, the Clifton Baumatic houses the brand’s first in-house movement: an automatic with a full silicon escapement. That’s good for a 120-hour power reserve, COSC accuracy and a prolonged service interval, making it a very technically impressive timepiece, especially given its price point. Not only that, but the Baumatic is the first watch in the Richemont lineup to use silicon.

Movement: Baumatic BM12-1975A automatic
Size: 40mm
Water resistance: 50m
How Does a Chronmeter Watch Work?

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