15 BEST Seiko Chronograph Watches (You Can Buy Today!)
When it comes to the world of timekeeping, Seiko has consistently stood as a symbol of reliability, innovation, and cost-effectiveness. Since its origin in 1881, the Japanese giant has become one of the most well-known and loved companies on the market. Perhaps more famous for their rugged divers, there have also been a couple of influential chronographs.
We’re going to be looking at the 15 best Seiko Chronographs – some divers, some made to be used while piloting an aircraft, but all designed to look stunning on your wrist for not a lot of cash – probably…
About Seiko Chronograph Watches
Seiko is best known for classics like the SKX, the Sumo, and the Turtle. While these divers are iconic in their own right, Seiko has every right to be in conversations about chronographs. Perhaps the most famous in their catalog is the Speedtimer range, which is based on the original Speedtimers released in 1969.
They also introduced the chronograph functionality into their Presage dress line. The 55th-anniversary model ref. SRQ031J1 was introduced in 2019 and was a faithful recreation of the 1964 Crown chronograph.
You’ll find a Seiko chronograph in almost each of their offerings, from dress pieces to divers. Many of them are powered by their solar calibers, allowing the wearer to keep time without ever worrying about running out of power reserve.
History of Seiko Chronograph Watches
As mentioned, Seiko was founded in 1881, but the first Seiko chronograph was only introduced in 1964 at the Tokyo Olympics. Not only would this be a monumental year for Seiko but for the entirety of Japan. Following the aftermath of WWII, the 1964 Olympics reintroduced Japan as a country to trust and invest in.
The Chronograph in question was ref. 5718-8000, a hand-wound steel timepiece developed to be seen as a statement on the wrist while remaining functional. The 38.2mm case housed the caliber 5719, which included a single button to trigger the chronograph’s functions as well as a column wheel to control the chronograph.
When it comes to developing the first automatic chronograph, many believe Seiko was actually the first to do so. As we all know, the Swiss giants such as Zenith, Breitling, Heuer, Hamilton-Buren, and Dubois Dépraz were all developing their own; Seiko released its 5 Speed-Timer in mid-May of 1969, which housed the caliber 6138. As the story goes, Seiko won the race seeing as the Swiss only released their offerings later that year.
The 15 Best Seiko Chronograph Watches
Here’s a list of the 15 best Seiko chronograph watches you can buy today:
Seiko Prospex Speedtimer SRQ037 Automatic Chronograph
Kicking off with a banger, we have the Prospex Speedtimer SRQ037, a steel chronograph with a vintage flair thanks to it being based on the aforementioned 5 Speed-Timer, the ‘first’ automatic chronograph to hit the market.
This piece of functional wrist candy features a 42.5mm diameter with a rather large 50mm lug-to-lug – the watch is certainly created with modern taste in mind. Most of this size is taken up by the stark and highly legible dark dial featuring the two chronograph subregisters we expect.
What I personally like about this dial is the subregisters don’t abruptly cut off the indices. Another point of discussion is the glorious broad dauphine handset which dominates the dial and is packed with
The bracelet and case are all finished with a brushed finish for a vintage feel, whereas the bezel dials things up with a polished finish. Taking care of timekeeping duties is the 8R46 caliber, an automatic movement that also features manual winding and is equipped with a 45-hour power reserve.
Seiko Prospex SRQ029J1 Automatic Chronograph
Here we have another vintage-inspired piece, the ref. SRQ029J1 was introduced to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Seiko’s first chronograph – the 1964 Crown. This was released in 2019 and was limited to only 1,000 pieces, so the chances of you still finding one are slim – unfortunately.
Regardless, this reference might be inspired by the Crown; however, it’s merely a loose interpretation. Whereas the original was a monopusher chronograph, the SRQ029J1 features two chronograph pushers as well as three subregisters compared to the original, which had none.
A black outer tachymeter contrasts perfectly with the white inner dial, which contains the chronograph subdials. An interesting feature is the syringe hands, which could be inspired by the ref. 6138-8020, and something we don’t typically see on sporty chronographs. I like ‘em.
Other than the stellar dial is the bracelet, which is a five-link stainless steel bracelet with varying finish methods, from brushed outer links to more polished center links.
If you want something that’s about as sporty as using your chronograph to time by how much you can improve your school run time, perhaps the ref. SSC813 is the option for you. A classic chrono design, a contrasting ‘panda’ dial matched with a fixed black tachymeter bezel.
The 39mm stainless steel case is a nice welcome for those looking for a chrono with wrist-friendly dimensions, and with a thickness of only 13.3mm, it’s not overbearing. Within said 100m waterproof case is the V192 solar movement.
A solar movement chrono always hits the sweet spot; you can use the power-intensive chronograph function with ease of mind knowing your power source is a literal nuclear fusion reaction. And if it does go dark, you have a theoretical power reserve of a whopping 6 months.
Finishing off the timepiece, we have a sapphire crystal, and when you couple all these features together, and you consider many have bought it at a price point lower than the advertised $675, it really is a steal.
Seiko Presage SRQ031J1 Automatic Chronograph
If you want another Crown-inspired chrono, the ref. SRQ031J1 might be a viable option. This 55th Anniversary model was released not to be an exact copy or reinterpretation of the original but rather to draw some stylistic cues while also having its own direction.
Cream dial? Check.
Black bezel? Check.
Pump-style pushers? Check.
The new Presage does draw quite a lot from the original but has the addition of three subregisters on the dial, whereas the original had none. The dial has immense dimension thanks to the contrasting chapter ring and applied “double facetted” applied indexes.
More pressing, the watch underwent a protein-rich diet and gained a few inches, coming in at a healthy 42.33mm in diameter and 15.3mm in thickness – not the thinnest on the list, but certainly still manageable. That said, the black bezel does make the watch look more compact than it actually is. Finishing things off is the case, which features beveled, straight lugs and a silky smooth polished finish.
Seiko Prospex “Sumo” SSC757J1 Solar Chronograph
The Seiko ‘Sumo’ is named after its distinctive size and shape, resembling the imposing stature of a sumo wrestler. The Sumo SSC757J1 boasts a stainless steel case with a diameter of approximately 44mm but will wear slightly smaller thanks to the snug lug-to-lug profile. It is matched with a steel three-link bracelet secured with a three-fold clasp with a secure lock and push-button release for added convenience.
Telling you the time is the solar V192 caliber, meaning you’re more likely to run into someone actually diving with their full gold Submariner before running out of power. The black unidirectional dive bezel is matched with a black dial displaying three chrono subregisters, a date aperture, and the power reserve.
Large hour markers and hands are packed with luminous material, which adds to the excellent legibility of the watch. Some people might dislike the functions of the watch cutting some of these indices, but with a chrono diver, there is only so much spare…
Seiko Prospex Speedtimer SFJ003 Solar Chronograph
What if the regular three-subregister design just isn’t for you? What if you’re the type of person who drives a vintage Volvo not because it’s great value but because Volvo actually used to be exemplary when it comes to racing? Well, for your taste, the SFJ003 Speedtimer might very well be the perfect contender.
Here we have a normal dial that contains four subregisters. Your hours and minutes are displayed on the large 6 o’clock sub-register, whereas the top three display your chrono functionality. If you don’t like this black-on-black design, there’s also a panda version.
Unlike some of the chonkier boys mentioned before, this chronograph comes in at a much slimmer 12.9mm thanks to the solar caliber inside. This is also one of the most recently introduced Speedtimers, and said 8A50 caliber allows for wearers to measure time in 1/100 second increments.
Want a Royal Oak? Can’t afford one? Yeah, I can relate. But what about a (real) Seiko that has the undertones of the Swiss giant while still being undeniably Seiko? Well, the Astron SSJ013J1 fits that bill perfectly with its own octagonal-shaped case and integrated bracelet. You even get a tapestry-like dial as well!
Behind said dial sits the 3X62 caliber, which is quite remarkable, featuring a GPS signal reception function, a satellite acquisition status display function, and, in case you forget, the date! This SSJ013J1 sits in the middle of the lineup, being fully constructed in titanium with a light blue dial, whereas the SSJ014J1 is my personal favorite and is presented with a ‘gold’ bezel and pushers.
The thin trend is ongoing as this Solar measures only 12mm in thickness, matched with a 41.2mm diameter. Due to the titanium construction and slim ergonomics, the watch wears remarkably easily, and with looks like those, it can be worn with a T-shirt or a button-down.
Seiko Flightmaster SNA411 Quartz Chronograph
What if you prefer functionality over fashion, a pilot’s watch over an integrated case design? Well, say hello to the Flightmaster SNA411, an aviation-themed timepiece that doesn’t look like it’s here to fool around.
Your attention is immediately drawn to the extremely busy dial that features your typical three chrono subregisters, a date aperture, a compass subregister, and an E6B navigational slide rule bezel. If you ever thought ruggedness couldn’t be attractive, think again.
Having so many functions means the size certainly cannot possibly be decently sized. However, Seiko has come up with another very well-proportioned case at 42mm. While certainly not small or subtle, it’s still very wearable for medium to large wrists. Even though this piece is certainly made with aviation in mind, it still sports a healthy 200m water resistance rating, which is more than most of us would need.
Seiko SNDC33 Quartz Chronograph
Bringing the size back to 40mm, we have the SNDC33, a sporty timepiece that still exudes luxurious undertones. Starting with a highly polished steel case with classic pump chrono pushers, matched with a simple brown leather strap.
Moving inwards, we have a clean black dial that displays the three chrono subregisters at the 12, 6, and 9 o’clock positions, which somehow feels more elegant than the typical 3, 6, and 9 positions.
An outer railroad track doubles down on elegance, while a quartz movement keeps everything ticking. Unfortunately, the watch doesn’t really seem to be available all that much anymore, so good luck!
Seiko SSB397 Quartz Chronograph
Here we have a chronograph that has one goal and one goal only: sportiness. Starting off, we have a 41mm brushed steel case matched with a three-link bracelet. Moving your attention to the dial, we have a black and silver dial featuring the typical three subregister layout and a date aperture at the 04:30 position – which some might have an affinity against.
The outer perimeter of the dial displays the tachymeter, and to keep everything nice and legible, the indices and hands are all packed with luminous material. The 8T63 quartz movement within keeps you on time all the time, and the 100m water resistance rating ensures you are safe when jumping in the shower.
The original Seiko Astron finds its roots in 1969, and the Seiko Astron GPS was introduced at Baselworld in 2012. The SSH023 is a loved model in the range, and stealthy black-coated steel case and black ceramic bezel; it’s easy to see why.
Sized for contemporary tastes with a 42.7mm diameter, with a key focus on aesthetics. A fantastic brushed bracelet blends in smoothly with the case and follows the vertical lines of the dial. The black dial also features an outer UTC track that allows you to track the secondary timezone.
As a 50th Anniversary model limited to merely 1,500 pieces, it’s unlikely you’ll get one brand new. That said, for a ceramic bezel, sapphire crystal, a GPS solar chrono movement, and a look that is unique that still maintains a 100m water resistance? What’s not to love?
Seiko Coutura SSG009 Solar Chronograph
The Seiko Coutura is often one in the catalog that doesn’t fit the others; it’s unique, otherworldly, and with a bracelet resembling something reptilian, it certainly makes a bold statement. An integrated bracelet style flows into the 44.5mm polished case that includes a cabochon screw-down crown, in case you didn’t notice.
The inner dial features a diamond argyle pattern which is encompassed by the other dial, which features a thick circular design – you have to get really up close to appreciate the efforts Seiko made with this dial. While up and close, you might also notice the beveled edges on the indices or the hands that are skeletonized.
Apart from being utterly unique, the movement within is the solar caliber 8B92 movement. This movement not only provides chronograph functionality but allows the wearer to track the time in 25 different cities, as illustrated on the black aluminum bezel.
Seiko Essentials SSB409 Quartz Chronograph
From one quirky design to the next, we have the SSB409, which forms part of the ‘Everyday’ range within the Seiko brand. The layout and style are very similar to that offered by the SSB397; however, the SSB409 is offered on a black, blue, and gray racing stripe nylon strap rather than a bracelet.
The dial is slightly different as well, sporting a light blue hue with visual intrigue provided by the pops of color on the orange hands and red ‘TACHYMETER’ scripts. Towards the inner dial, we have contrasting finishing methods used with several hits of silver to create a very unique look.
While the 100m waterproof case is not large by today’s standards, 41mm is what many think of as just around the perfect size for most wrists, and thanks to the NATO strap, it won’t feel overbearing.
Back to rugged chrono divers with the Prospex SSC781, presented in a 200m waterproof 44mm stainless steel case. On the front, you have a bi-tone unidirectional diving bezel finished in blue for the first 15 minutes and then black for the remaining 45-minute gradation.
Bringing your attention to the dial that displays your typical three-subregister chrono display alongside a date aperture at the 4:30 position – again, for some, the asymmetry of the dial just doesn’t work. For added sportiness, the chronograph hand is finished in the same blue as the bezel, and the case is presented on a brushed and polished bracelet.
Ticking away within said case is the V175 solar movement, accurate to within +- 15 seconds across a month.
Seiko Prospex World Time SSG015 Solar Chronograph
And very last on the list is another banger, the SSG015. This sleek timepiece embodies a sporty aesthetic, featuring a refined black ion-finish stainless steel case and a stylish brown leather strap. The black dial showcases a convenient date calendar, enhanced by Lumibrite hands and markers for better visibility.
Powered by the caliber 8B92 solar quartz movement, you need not worry about obtaining a battery. Furthermore, this movement allows you to measure a 1/5-second increment chrono and displays a 24-hour indicator. This entire movement is radio-controlled, so you will never be inaccurate, and with the ability to track 24 timezones, that’ll come in handy!
Sure, with a size of 45mm, it certainly isn’t a viable option for most, but by making it larger, Seiko ensures the dial isn’t too busy and displays all its functionality with ease.
Seiko might be best known for its divers, but these chronos are stellar. There is an option for each of us, no matter which time bracket we fall into. If you prefer something sportier, there are diver chronos. Something more classy? The new Presage chronographs would keep you company. Lastly, there are plenty of otherworldly options for you to get at a very reasonable price.
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