The Chronos brand has been one of the most popular names in the chess clock market for the longest while. Now, the supply is getting limited, and more alternatives and knock-offs are popping into the scene. Still, it’s hard to replicate the look and feel of the real thing.
So, should you invest in a Chronos clock? If so, which model is the right one for you?
Generally speaking, the Chronos II and the GX are considered the best you can get from the Chronos line, and both come in touch and button models.
To help you choose, we’ve put together an in-depth review of the best Chronos chess clocks. If the brand doesn’t turn out to be a good fit for your needs, we’ll check out an affordable alternative in the end, so stick around!
Chronos Chess Clocks: Overview
There are a few models from the Chronos clock line, including I, II, GX, and Blitz FX. Before we see how the top models differ from each other, let’s first take a look at the pros and cons of picking a Chronos chess clock in the first place.
- Sturdy metal construction
- Clear contrasting displays
- Variety of presets
- Steep learning curve and lengthy user manuals
Top Chronos Clocks: Chronos GX vs. Chronos II
Now that we’ve covered the basics about Chronos, we can jump in and see how the top two models compare:
Design and Size
Chronos II is made of a durable frame, has two displays, and only three controls (two player switches and the red one in the middle).
The GX looks a lot like a compact Chronos II. It’s closer in size to the Blitz FX but with a split display rather than one window across the clock.
On the Chronos GX Digital Game Clock, you get four presets for blitz times and eight for tournament control. The clock supports delay and increment modes, but they can be a little tricky to figure out. (More on customizing the presets later!)
Meanwhile, the Chronos II offers way more options. In fact, some chess players feel like it’s too much for casual games. Still, you can move any of the advanced modes to the preset slots, so you don’t have to toggle between a long list of modes every time.
Chronos Player Switch Designs: Touch vs. Buttons
Whether you go for the new and petite Chronos GX or its larger predecessor, you’ll have two design options to choose from: touch switches and traditional buttons.
Both chess clock designs have advantages and drawbacks, so it’s mostly a matter of personal preference.
Why Get a Chronos With Touch Switches
The models with the touch player switches are less likely to get activated accidentally if one player hits the clock with a piece.
Plus, they could be a good pick if you hate the click sounds and want something quiet. You might even find them more sleek looking since they don’t have bulky plastic buttons on top.
Why Get a Chronos With Button Switches
Some players prefer the mechanical feel of the classic buttons under their fingers. You hit that player switch, and you know for sure that you’ve ended your turn.
As a bonus point, you also get room for customization if you go for the Chronos models that have button switches. You can swap out the original buttons with colorful replacements and give your chess clock some character.
Note that these plastic replacements will work just fine for the GX, too. All you need to do is pop the old button off and push the second in its place.
How to configure the presets on the Chronos clock?
You can change presets on the Chronos by long pressing the center red button with the preset displayed on the screen and adjusting the time using the play switches. Then, using the red button, you can cycle through the features (beep, LED, halt, etc.) to customize your preset.
Once you’re done, you can save the configuration to a slot by adjusting the number in the “Copy to” screen and holding the red button to finish the process. Turn the clock off and on again to check that your preset has been updated.
Can I alter the beep pitch on the Chronos clock?
Yes, it’s possible to pick a different beep pitch. To do this, turn the clock on while pressing both player switches and holding down the center button.
When the “Pitch” value (a four-digit number) appears on the screen, press the left switch to select it, and then give the red button a push to start editing. The right play switch will change the value, while the center control shifts the digit that you’re currently editing.
You can go all the way from 0000 to 2999, but the 2915–2945 range is where the loudest beeps are at!
What is a good alternative to the Chronos chess clock?
The ZMart Fun model II (ZMF-II) has a design that’s a bit similar to the Chronos models with the touch player switches. However, it has only three preset slots and is made of plastic rather than metal. Still, it’s more affordable and easier to find.
One nifty feature you’ll find on the ZMF-II and not the Chronos is the power switch that prevents accidental turn-ons.
Investing in Chronos could be worthwhile if you’re an avid player who needs something reliable and sturdy.
While the long Chronos II is a powerhouse, odds are, the Chronos GX will be more than enough for your chess timing needs. It’s a compact, simplified version of the longer clock.
The major catch here is that both models aren’t easy to come by. Plus, players often need a while to get used to the controls.
If you manage to get your hands on the GX, make sure it comes with the user manual to guide you along the way. Don’t forget to have three AA batteries ready to go, too!