There's good news for anyone who admires chronograph watches but doesn't have multiple thousands to spend: You can get an excellent mechanical chrono for under two grand. Even better? You've got options — exciting options.
In the past few years, a new crop of chronos has arisen that's lowered the cost of getting that somehow captivating complication on your wrist, but decent mechanical chronograph watches under $2k are, in fact, still rare. Small and independent brands don't often push into mechanical chronograph pricing territory and typically stuck to simpler, time-only options. However, it now seems that more brands have discovered that it's the value proposition that makes the sale more so than the outright price.
We get it: $2,000 is still a serious chunk of change. If you simply need or want time-recording functionality, of course, you can get it from quartz watches that cost in the triple digits — or from your smartphone. But if mechanical chronographs intrigue you, the following examples are about the best you're going to get — and they show that this price level is where the value's at.
Not familiar with the ins and outs of chronos? Then let this guide be your primer.