5 Best Racing Watches in 2021: Eye Candy for Speed-Freaks

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by  William Barton | Last Updated: 

If you’ve spent any time in the watch world, you know there’s almost too much choice. With hundreds of great brands and hundreds of lousy ones, how do you know if you’re getting a good deal or getting ripped off?

That’s why we created this guide to the best racing watches, so start your engines and get ready to ride.

Best Under $200
  • Japanese Seiko quartz chronograph movement
  • Two-toned tachymeter, and textured chapter ring
  • More edgy, modern look with classic hallmarks of European racing watches
Best Under $100
  • Massive 53mm diameter
  • Polyurethane band and 100m of water resistance is great for water sports
  • Sapphire glass and Japanese quartz movement
Best Automatic
  • Beautiful Swiss automatic chronograph at an affordable price
  • Comes with classic green leather racing strap
  • Domed sapphire crystal
Best Under $500
  • 48mm diameter
  • Swiss ETA quartz movement
  • Rattrapante second and chronograph hands
Best Luxury
  • Automatic Omega movement
  • Only watch that’s been on the moon
  • Beautiful domed sapphire crystal

A good racing watch blends form and function. 

On one hand (is that a double-pun?) it needs to have a reliable chronograph movement, complete with pushers and subdials. 

On the other hand, it can’t look overcrowded or cheap. 

So which brands do the genre best? Well, we knew you’d ask that, so we put together the five best racing watches in a variety of categories. 

Ready. Set. 

Go. 

5 Best Racing Watches for Men

Best Racing Watch Under $200: Vincero Apex

Vincero Apex unboxed in packaging

Vincero has been dishing out edgy and modern timepieces since 2014 and they’ve been one of the fastest growing watch brands in the last ten years. 

And in just the past two years, they’ve shifted from more dressy inspired timepieces to tool watches, and we’ve been loving the results

Vincero Apex tachymeter dial

The Apex takes the chronograph and tachymeter from classic racing watch design, but adds a unique Vincero spin with the sleek steel link bracelet and unique numerals at 12 and 6. 

There are several color options available, but our favorite is the black and white “panda” dial. The finished product is equal parts timeless and contemporary. Plus, the sapphire coated crystal and Japanese Seiko movement are hallmarks of sturdy quality, so the Apex can take a beating.

What I Like

  • The dial is dynamic: from the raised indices, to the textured chapter ring, to the sunken subdials—it’s a great-looking timepiece.

  • The Japanese Seiko movement is steady and reliable.

  • 100m of water resistance makes this a true tool watch. 

What I Don’t Like

  • Vincero ships this with the extra links attached, so I had to remove the links before I could wear it for the first time. 

What Other Reviewers Say

The Apex has over 60 reviews online with a 4.9-star average. Most reviewers mention the style—it’s a versatile piece that works well as a daily go-to.

The Verdict

The Vincero Apex is our favorite racing watch under $200 because of its reliable Seiko movement and the blend of classic racing watch style and Vincero’s own contemporary vibe. 

The Apex is a great daily watch and with the sapphire crystal and 100m water resistance, there’s no doubt it can stand up to the wear and tear of the day-to-day grind.

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Vincero Apex
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The Vincero Apex is a unique take on the racing watch genre. With solid water resistance, sapphire coated crystal, and a Seiko mecha-quartz movement, Vincero has stepped up their quality again.

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Best Racing Watch Under $100: Invicta S1 Rally

This racing watch isn’t for everyone. With a beefy 53mm diameter, the Invicta S1 Rally is huge. It’s an oversized watch in the true sense of the word. 

But this beast is built with sapphire glass, a Japanese quartz movement, and 100m of water resistance. Some folks may not like the early 2000s racing graphic design of the face, but style is relative, and the quality is there.

What I Like

  • For a sub-$100 watch, the material quality is excellent.

  • It has a distinct style that either speaks to you or doesn’t. 

  • Even with three subdials and a date window, the dial isn’t wildly crowded. 

What I Don’t Like

  • Few people (myself included) can pull off a 53mm watch. This is for folks who love the oversized look.

  • Because the case is so huge, and the crown matches the scale, some folks found it could dig into their hand. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers on Amazon rated this hunky watch a 4.6-star average with over 225 submissions. Invicta picks up fans because of their unique, oversized watch style. There’s no doubt about the quality in the reviews, but some folks mention the size getting in the way when doing daily tasks.

The Verdict

If you’re on a budget and want a big ol’ honkin’ timepiece, the Invicta S1 Rally is worth a closer look. It’s not nearly as elegant as any of our other entries on this list, but it’ll definitely stand out. 

The contrasting red and black dial is stark and edgy, and with a sapphire crystal, Japanese movement, and solid water resistance, this piece will go for years.

Best Under $100
Invicta S1 Rally

The Invicta S1 Rally is not for guys with small wrists. Not by a long shot. This 53mm diameter watch is huge, but it's great for making a statement.

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Best Automatic Racing Watch: Frederique Constant Rally Healey

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The Frederique Constant Rally Healy is up above the $1,000 mark, but it’s a relatively affordable way to get into the Swiss automatic luxury watch realm. 

The dial of this timepiece is classic and iconic Italian green with contrasting red hands for the full Formula 1 feel. The icing on the cake for this watch is the green leather racing strap that has the vintage look that will never go out of style.

What I Like

  • It’s a Swiss automatic luxury watch at a price that’s more accessible than Rolex or other famous brands. 

  • The stark green, white, and red is a nice homage to Italian racing history. 

  • Comes with a unique and iconic racing strap.

What I Don’t Like

  • Any luxury-level watch is far beyond practical.

What Other Reviewers Say

As you might imagine with watches over $1,000, there aren’t a ton of crowd-sourced reviews, so I relied on other professional reviews to round out the spec-sheets. The consensus is that this watch is a stellar bargain in the luxury market.

The Verdict

If the old racing cars of the 50s and 60s rev your engine, consider the Frederique Constant Rally Healey. It’s a Swiss luxury timepiece that comes in underpriced, but it still costs a pretty penny. Consider yourself warned. 

I’m partial to the green dial with red hands, reminiscent of Italy’s famous Formula 1 racing history. What about you?

Best Automatic
Frederique Constant Rally Healey

Consider this an introduction to the world of fine Swiss watches. Frederique Constant is a beloved watchmaking and their Rally Healey is a true beauty.

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Best Racing Watch Under $500: Tissot T-Race Jorge Lorenzo

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The Tissot T-Race Jorge Lorenzo is a lot like the matured version of the Invicta S1 Rally. It’s an oversized piece at just under 48mm, but it’s still within the range that most guys can get away with. 

The hinged straps and modernist dial design help the T-Race Jorge Lorenzo stand out. One interesting feature on this watch that’s quite difficult to find elsewhere is the rattrapante second and chronograph hand: both hands act in unison, but you can stop the chronograph hand and allow the second hand to keep on ticking.

What I Like

  • The Tissot T-Race has a super masculine vibe, and it’s oversized without being ridiculous.

  • The PVD coating around the bezel and case give this timepiece a nice matte gunmetal texture. 

  • The black rubber strap looks great and has hinges that help with comfort and durability.

What I Don’t Like

  • Like the Invicta, the look here might not be for everyone—it’s not a classic, timeless style. 

What Other Reviewers Say

There aren’t many reviews for this watch, but from what I could scrounge up from around the web, folks who bought the Tissot T-Race are happy with the style of their timepiece. Of course, Tissot has a long history of making customers happy, so that doesn’t come as a surprise.

The Verdict

Racing watches take many styles. Tissot is making a statement with their T-Race Jorge Lorenzo with its 48mm diameter and hinged band. Still, Tissot isn’t one to skimp on the quality, and that’s clear from the Swiss ETA quartz movement with rattrapante hands and a sapphire crystal.

Best Under $500
Tissot T-Race Jorge Lorenzo

Tissot is a Swiss brand with a good reputation, and the Jorge Lorenzo is one of the more unique racing watches you can find under $500.

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Best Luxury Racing Watch: Omega Speedmaster

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The Omega Speedmaster was the first watch on the moon. It’s also a timepiece that enthusiasts put on their bucket list (ask me how I know). 

Omega is the preferred brand of none other than James Bond, so you know you’re entering cool territory here. 

The Speedmaster is a legendary timepiece, and it’s among the few watches that actually appreciates in value (that’s if you look at watches from a collector’s perspective—I like to wear mine). 

What I Like

  • The Omega Speedmaster is the epitome of Swiss luxury watches—it’s elegant and sophisticated, even for a tool watch.

  • It works on the moon, just in case you ever need to visit. 

  • It features a beautiful, high-domed sapphire crystal.

What I Don’t Like

  • I don’t like that I can’t afford it, but that’s a personal problem (most Speedmasters retail new at over $5,000USD). 

What Other Reviewers Say

There are plenty of reviews online for the Omega Speedmaster, but I’m only going to mention one: Buzz Aldrin’s review. When he tested out the Speedmaster, he decided he really wanted to push this watch to its limit. 

So he flew to the moon and took a stroll. 

After all that anti-gravity and space dust, the timepiece is still ticking. That definitely beats any watch review I’ve ever done.

The Verdict

If you’re in the market for a grail race watch, check out the Omega Speedmaster. It’s sophisticated, rugged, and a pure beauty. If you’re shopping online, be sure to go through a reputable site like Bob’s Watches—they certify all their luxury timepieces so you know you’re getting the real thing.

Best Luxury
Omega Speedmaster

This watch went to the moon. What else do you need to know? Follow this link to check out pre-owned models so you can get to the creme de la creme of the watch world.

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Start Your Engines

Did you find the right racing watch for yourself?

My favorite balance of style, price, and quality is the Vincero Apex with the black and white “panda dial.” If you’d like to learn more, make sure you watch our YouTube review below:

If you want a beefy timepiece that stands out, check out the Invicta S1 Rally, or its more sophisticated counterpart, the Tissot T-Race Jorge Lorenzo.

And if you want to dip your toes into the Swiss automatic luxury market, the Frederique Constant Rally Healey is a great starting point. Or, if you’re feeling bold, dive right in with the Omega Speedmaster and go for the grail.

FAQs

What is a racing watch?

Racing watches typically have chronograph movements and tachymeters that help track and reverse calculate speed. Now that we have odometers and precision stopwatches, there’s much less practical use for racing watches, but they still look cool.

What is special about a chronograph watch?

Chronograph watches have multiple subdials and ornate movements. Because of this, they have a unique style and interesting functions that many other watches don’t have.

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