t’s just our love for everything tech-oriented that draw us men to chronographs. The chronograph captures the essences of speed, machines and gauges, speed with technology, all of it in a single, strappable, wearable package. And while most of us wouldn’t hesistate trading their souls for a $100,000 retour-en-vol or a rattrapante chronograph, we will definitely think twice – maybe even thrice or more – when trading with money. Even the uber-rich, unless that’s your monthly ice-cream bill.

The funniest part about chronographs is almost nobody uses it in real life to time anything important. Most buy it just because it looks cool and some get happy paying for an extra function. However, both types will give you a story that it did, indeed, came in handy at some point of their lives. Maybe it’s not as extreme as calculating oxygen levels in deep-sea diving or realigning space shuttles a-fifth-of-a-million miles away from Earth, but used intelligently, it can help you a lot. How, we will discuss next day.

With a choice so vast, it can get tough going if you don’t have anything specific in mind. The best way to play here is going for a model from a reputed brand that has proved its mettle and expertise. Nothing quite beats the Rolex Daytona Cosmograph and the Moon Watch (the Speedmaster Professional) in this regard, but only for them willing to pay a hefty premium. For the rest, there are other robust and affordable options with sapphire crystals and high water and shock resistance. Speedmaster is fine as long as you don’t go swimming lap after lap; also, it offers Hesalite crystal, not sapphire. And, you need to wind it manually, which is not everyone’s cuppa. You have to appreciate old-school charm to wear one.

Better to go with the modern stuff that are far more precise and hardy. Why? There are reasons.

Firstly, you really don’t need that expensive a chronograph to time your barbecue. If you are a sports fan or actively into sports, there are far cheaper, sturdier and precision chronographs that modern technology has granted. If it’s just your fascination towards super-expensive, mechanical chronographs then fine; we really have no say over another man’s preference. But just for your information, you shall be more comfortable using something as good but costing a hundredth. It’s going to be enough for your daily activities and most Citizen chronographs are half-flyback – which means, you click the lower button and the hand goes back to ‘0’. Click the upper button again to start the stopwatch. Paying 10 times to get a proper mechanical flyback is reasonable when you buy it to wear occassionally; for everyday use, it doesn’t go unless you drive to work in a Ferrari. But the surprising part is, there are a few inexpensive chronographs that you can wear even in a Ferrari and also when you are going swimming and snorkeling.

Watch(es) mentioned in this post are listed below.  Click to see details and buy them.