Small telescopes can play an important role in the search for exoplanets because they offer an opportunity for high cadence observations that are not possible with large aperture telescopes. However, there is a shortage of high resolution spectrometers for precision Doppler planet searches. We report on an innovative design for CHIRON, an inexpensive spectrometer that we are building for the 1.5-m telescope at CTIO in Chile. The resolution will be R >80.000, the spectral format spanning 410 to 880nm. The total throughput of the telescope and spectrometer will be better than 12%, comparable with the efficiency of state-of-the-art spectrometers. The design is driven by the requirements for precision Doppler searches for exoplanets using an iodine cell. The optical layout is a classical echelle with 140mm beam size. The bench-mounted spectrometer will be fibre-fed followed by an image slicer. An apochromatic refractor is used as the camera. Image quality and throughput of the design are excellent over the full spectral range. Extensive use of commercially available components and avoidance of complicated custom optics are key for quick and resource-efficient implementation.