garmin feniix chronos review and buyer's gide

Garmin Fenix Chronos Review & Buyer’s Guide

Garmin Fenix Chronos - premium full metal jacket GPS sports watch

Chronos is the first Garmin timepiece to combine a durable full metal case with an integrated GPS for multisport tracking. Essentially, Garmin has revamped the existing Fenix 3 HR and given it a rather expensive facelift!

Chronos - Garmin's premium multisport watch range

In the tradition of classic tool watches, Garmin Chronos features a tough design and a set of modern meaningful tools like Elevate wrist-based heart rate, various sports apps and advanced performance metrics for endurance sports.

There's also quality Garmin navigation features and smartphone notifications. In a nutshell, there isn't much this watch won't do or track. It has multiple sports profiles for running, swimming, cycling, and triathlon. Other multi-sports are also included - trail running, hiking, climbing, skiing, indoor training, rowing, SUP, x-country skiing and more.

You can even use Garmin Chronos on the golf course with golf metrics from the front, back, middle of green and more than 40,000 worldwide golf courses available to download from Garmin's own golf database.

Advanced athletes or those that just want to improve their fitness will benefit from the metrics available during timed activities. These include distance, speed, average speed, ascent, and descent.

garmin chronos premium sports watch on wrist

You can improve your form by learning about performance condition and recovery time with guidance from VO2 Max estimations. By using an optional HRM-run or HRM-tri chest strap you can gain additional advanced running dynamics and comprehensive physiological measurements. This will give detailed performance metrics to help your improve.​

Garmin Chronos Buyer's Guide 

There are 3 Chronos versions available and we expect more watches in this range in 2017. All versions have the same sapphire crystal watch lens but the watch case and bands are different. There's an easy way to tell the most expensive titanium version apart from the cheaper steel version, and that's by the links of the bands. The Titanium version has long links and the steel one has an interwoven pattern.

A significant improvement compared with the Fenix 3 is how easy the Chronos bands are to change. NEW interchangeable bands can be easily replaced WITHOUT using tools. Each version of the Chronos comes with a silicone band which is ideal (and lighter) for sports and fitness training.​

garmin fenix chronos titanium watch version

Titanium with Brushed Titanium Watch Band

As the name suggests the Titanium Chronos is made from grade 2 titanium. It has a forged titanium case and watch bezel. The lens display is a high strength scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. The watch band links are a special blend of titanium and elastomer for better flex and wearability. The band clasp is a push button quick release design. This is a stunning watch with a premium design.

garmin fenix chronos steel watch version

Steel with Brushed Stainless Steel Watch Band

Like the Titanium Chronos, the Steel version also has a high-strength scratch-resistant sapphire crystal lens. An integrated EXO antenna for GPS + GLONASS is included so you'll always get a strong GPS signal wherever you are. The case and band is made from solid brushed 316L stainless steel for extra strength and durability.

garmin fenix chronos steel and leather version

Steel with Vintage Leather Watch Band

The Chronos leather band version comes with solid brushed 316L stainless steel case with brushed stainless steel bezel and integrated EXO antenna for GPS + GLONASS support. A high-strength scratch resistant sapphire crystal lens protects the display from the elements. Brown vintage leather strap with hand-sewn contrast stitching and nubuck inner lining and quick release mechanism.

Garmin Chronos Key Features

Chronos outdoor navigation

Chronos isn't just an expensive version of the Forerunner 735XT. It has Garmin TracBack and Sight 'N Go for outdoor navigation. Chronos also has a barometric altimeter and electronic 3-D compass with optional auto-calibration. These outdoor navigation features will help give you the best possible situational awareness in any situation. The fully integrated metal EXO antenna with GPS/GLONASS receives a super high signal strength for performance tracking during activities and navigation.

What is Garmin TracBack?

Garmin TracBack is a useful feature when you're lost on the trail. When used TracBack will take will take your devices current track log and convert it into a route which you can use as a guide back to your starting position.

garmin chronos wrist heart rate

Garmin Chronos vs Fenix 3 HR​

The software of Chronos is virtually the same as the Fenix 3 HR, apart from some of the menu styling, which has slightly rounded corners.

The water rating is the same at 10ATM (100 meters).

Chronos battery life is slightly shorter in comparison with Fenix 3 HR - 1 week in watch mode (F3HR 2 weeks) and 13 hours GPS mode (F3HR 16 hours). You will also get 25 hours from the Chronos in UltraTrac mode (40 hours F3HR). This is mainly due to the Chronos having a smaller rechargeable battery.​

The reduction in battery size does mean the Chronos has a slimmer profile compared with Fenix 3 HR (49mm in height / F3HR 51.5mm), and will now fit more easily under a shirt. The optical heart rate sensor on the back of the watch is also noticeably slimmer and has been reduced in height. There will be less of an indentation left by the heart rate sensor compared with Fenix 3 HR. If you look closely you'll also there have been some modifications to the LEDs sensors, this may have helped improve the wrist heart rate accuracy.​

The display of the Chronos does seem sharper and brighter, apparently, it now has 64 colors compared to the 16 of the Fenix 3 HR. Built-in memory is the same with 23MB available, saving up to 100 hours of activity data, 1,000 waypoints and 30 routes which are more than sufficient before you need to sync with the Garmin Connect smartphone app.​

chronos wooden box

Garmin Fenix Chronos gift box​

Many Garmin watches come in cardboard boxes. When you are spending over $1,000 for a smartwatch you'd expect something a bit more premium and Garmin doesn't disappoint with the Chronos packaging

Each version comes in smart wooden engraved case. It also has a white outer sleeve with Garmin branding. The main lid slides open to reveal your new timepiece surrounded by padded foam. This packaging is what you'd expect from a hand gun manufacturer! Under the Chronos are extra padded compartments for charging clip, silicone sports band, and quick start guide.

Compatible Garmin Chronos accessories

If you're using the Chronos for running you'll want to purchase a Garmin HRM-run heart rate monitor. This comfortable chest strap provides the advanced running metrics such as cadence, vertical oscillation and more. The strap is seamless and easily adjustable. You can also purchase additional vintage leather or sport bands. Unfortunately, Fenix 3 bands aren't compatible due to the new quick release mechanism.

garmin chronos watch bands

Garmin Fenix Chronos bottom line

If you don't mind throwing your hard earned money at a sports watch that potentially has a 2-year life span before the technology becomes outdated then the Chronos is an excellent purchase. It has top-tier performance features in a sophisticated Swiss design.

Chronos is expensive but in comparison with other watches (which offer half as many features and at the same cost) it's a solid buy. See the Tag Heuer $1,500 connected watch for an example of this. If you need the features of Chronos but don't have the budget, Fenix 3 HR would be a better purchase decision.

Physical Specifications

Unit dimensions (WxHxD):

1.9" x 1.9" x 0.6" (49.0 x 49.0 x 15.0 mm)

Display size:

1.2" (30.4 mm) diameter

Display resolution (WxH):

218 x 218 pixels

Display type:

Color transflective memory-in-pixel
Garmin Chroma Display with sapphire lens


Steel with Leather Band: 3.31 oz (94g)
Steel with Steel Band: 6.56 oz (186g)
Titanium with Titanium Band: 3.95 oz (112g)

Battery type:

Non-removable lithium-ion rechargeable battery

Battery life:

Up to 25 hours in UltraTrac battery saver mode
13hours in GPS mode
Up to 1 week in smartwatch mode

Water rating:

10 ATM/100 meters

Built-in memory:

32 MB / available 23 MB

Buy Garmin Fenix Chronos

Garmin Fenix Chronos
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4 stars
  • Excellent

  • Garmin Fenix Chronos
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: August 14, 2017
  • Multisport Features
    Editor: 100%
  • Watch Style & Design
    Editor: 100%
  • Hiking & Trail Features
    Editor: 80%
  • Smartwatch Features
    Editor: 90%
  • Price
    Editor: 60%

Review Summary:

Garmin Chronos is a widely expensive sports smartwatch with a list of features as long as your arm. If you have money to spend on a watch and don't mind that could potentially become outdated in 2 - 3 years then Chronos is a good option. It looks extremely stylish and comes with optional sports bands to help offset the weight during activities.


  • Forged titanium or stainless steel watch housing
  • Scratch resistant sapphire lens
  • Quick release watch bands
  • Wrist-based heart rate with slimmer profile
  • Multiple sports activity profiles


  • Garmin's most expensive GPS smartwatch to date!
  • Smaller battery size compared with Garmin Fenix 3 HR

Last update on 2021-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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