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Minimalist Quartz Chronograph Watches – Five Plus One

Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.


Here at Heddels, we generally examine products that are rather niche, but some products — such as pocket knives or watches — have the potential to occupy a much more mainstream lane, without losing credibility within the more heritage-focused fashion community. While many of us do appreciate mechanical watches, both for their history and the mechanism by which they run, today we are looking at the common quartz watch. The quartz in question is a small crystal inside the watch that vibrates at a specific frequency. An electronic circuit knows the specific number of vibrations per second, and voila, time is told!

The battery-powered quartz watch is more durable, accurate, and inexpensive. It does lack that certain mystique that surrounds mechanical watches, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better beater. Below are five chronograph quartz options, meaning these watches double as stopwatches, plus one more that ticks a little differently.

1) Timex: Weekender Chronograph

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It would be a travesty to write an article about quartz watches without including a Timex, especially given how attractive their current styles of Weekend Chronograph are. This model is quite low-key, featuring a nickel colored case, white face, black lettering, and tonal hands. It comes with gray nylon webbing strap, but one that can be easily swapped out for any 20mm strap. And with with the understated coloring of the casing, merely changing the strap can completely change the look.

Available for $130 from Mr. Porter.

2) Techne: Merlin 296 Steal Quartz

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Techne’s 296 Steal Quartz Watch is a great option if you are looking for a watch that fits the vintage military aesthetic without worrying about the functionality of a 1940s mechanical timepiece. It’s made with a Japanese ISA 9238/1970 quartz movement — a very solid option at this price-point — and is designed to withstand electrical shock and water to a much higher degree than most of us are likely to experience. It comes with a green webbing band that’s definitely in line with the military style of this watch, but it can easily be swapped with your favorite strap as well.

Available for $175 from Unionmade.

3) Braun: BN0035 Chronograph Watch

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Not all watches are appropriate for all occasions, and while Braun’s BN0033 Chronograph is certainly an attractive timepiece, it may not be ideal if you are looking to own just a single watch. Be that as it may, this one’s certainly one of the the more attractive modern-style watches, and would go wonderfully with most any streetwear or casual outfit. And I’m sure if it were within my armament of watches I would find myself reaching for it more and more in the mornings.

Available for $235 from End Clothing.

4) Seiko: SKS541

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Much like Timex, Seiko is a such a major player on the watch market that it would be a disservice to not include them in this list. Their SKS541 Chronograph is rather understated, except for the dual-color silver/gold case and strap. While mixing different colored metals isn’t for everyone, it’s certainly pulled off well in this case (no pun intended), and could easily be downplayed by swapping the band or even the crown.

Available for $100 from Joma.

5) Aulta: The Leeway

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Aulta’s Leeway Watch is one of the most minimal chronographs on the market—a phrase that almost seems contradictory on its face—and that’s why it’s become so popular over the last several years. It features a very understated face with no unnecessary markings, few colors, simple luminescent hour and minute hands, and a polyurethane strap. While I’ll be the first to admit that I’d much prefer a metal, webbed, or leather strap, that issue is a quick fix and I hope doesn’t deter anyone from an otherwise fantastic timepiece.

Available for $90 from Huckberry.

Plus One – Uniform Wares: M42 Chronograph Rose Gold Watch

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Many people expect a mechanical or automatic movement when buying a high-end watch, but some people just prefer the durability and reliability of a battery. Enter Uniform Wares. Their M42 Chronograph, while being a solid watch, is really all about the aesthetics. The rose gold, matte grey face, and burgundy shell cordovan strap come together beautifully: a combination of colors that I never would have put together myself, but appreciate nonetheless.

Available for $750 from Opumo.