Affordable New Chronographs Under S$5,000

These sporty tickers won’t break the bank too much.

Baltic Bicompax 001 Chronograph

Baltic Bicompax 001 Chronograph

Sure, it’s not as well-known as more popular chronograph names like Breitling or Omega but this Kickstarter brand is fast gaining a cult following and it’s not hard to see why. Its watches are all hand-assembled in Besançon in France, and if that sounds familiar, it’s because that’s where the Tête de Vipère certification (a cousin to the more famous COSC certification) is given.

This classic model is based on a design from the 1940s with a stepped case and acrylic domed crystal. Housed in its 38mm stainless case is a Seagull ST1901 manual-winding movement from China with central seconds and two chronograph registers at nine and three o’clock. The Italian calf leather strap gives it a nice vintage appeal as well—all very good value at way less than S$5,000.

Price: S$1,218
Tissot T-Race MotoGP 2018 Automatic Limited Edition

Tissot T-Race MotoGP 2018 Automatic Limited Edition

Marc Márquez fans, this chrono is for you. With all its biker overtones, this T-Race MotoGP is an adrenaline-charged ticker with ‘race fever’ written all over it. Not only does it have a brake-disk-inspired bezel and rotor, the silicone strap is accented with tyre treads, while the sub-dials are grained to resemble asphalt.

To top it off, the watch is presented in a box that’s a replica of a MotoGP helmet. As with all Tissot timepieces, the watch features a Swiss-made automatic movement and this one is housed in a 45mm case with sapphire crystal on both sides. Limited to 3,333 pieces worldwide, this is certainly one of the more collectible Tissot chronographs.

Price: S$1,890
Rado HyperChrome Chronograph

Rado HyperChrome Chronograph

A specialist in the field of high-tech ceramic, Rado is perfectly positioned to deliver a chronograph that’s both hardy and easy on the wrist. Five times more scratch-resistant and 25 times lighter than steel, high-tech ceramic is used in the HyperChrome chronograph’s case and bezel.

The generous 44.9mm case means it will probably sit better on bigger wrists. But then again, size matters when it comes to the sporty appeal of a chronograph, doesn’t it? Although it runs on a quartz movement, this one comes with the works—a tachymetre, hour and minute totalisers, small seconds sub-dial and date window at four o’clock.

Price: S$2,110
Longines Column Wheel Chronograph

Longines Column Wheel Chronograph

Column wheel chronographs are something you’d typically associate with luxury marques rather than more accessible brands like Longines, so it’s really quite a treat to get one at under S$5,000.Using the exclusive self-winding L688.2 movement developed by ETA, the watch features a blued steel column wheel (seen through the transparent caseback)—both beautiful and functional, as it allows for smoother actuation of the pushers, resulting in more precise interval timing.

Available in a 39mm stainless steel case with black dial and dauphine hands, this chronograph comes in a black alligator strap and does away with a tachymetre bezel, so the watch has a dressier appeal, suitable for both the office or a more formal ‘do.

Price: S$4,710
Oris Aquis Chronograph

Oris Aquis Chronograph

At 45.5mm, this is the largest of our picks. But thanks to a redesigned collection, the Aquis now has a slimmer, streamlined case so it doesn’t overpower your wrist. As a dive watch, the Aquis has always been a reliable model, with its uni-directional rotating ceramic bezel, sliding-sledge strap extension system and 500m water-resistance courtesy, in part, of a screwed down caseback.

The most striking thing about this chronograph, though, is its stunning blue sunray dial that reflects the different hues of the ocean when seen from various angles. For added visibility, the applied indexes, ceramic inserts and hands are filled with Super-LumiNova, so you always have the time in different lighting conditions.

Price: S$4,800

And if you want to know more about chronographs, read our primer here! 

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Ex Managing Editor

Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".

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