Chronograph - what does it do, how does it work and why want it?

Chronograph - what does it do, how does it work and why want it?

Emma Lamb | 18. 10. 2019

You've probably already saw this term while choosing a watch. But what does the chronograph actually mean? Do I want it in my watch? And how to take care of it? We will answer that in our article.

If you ever chose a watch, you most likely noticed a chronograph or a chronograph watch. At first sight it's clear what the chronograph might mean - a few complications on the dial and a few extra buttons. But what does the term chronograph really mean? How does it differ from a chronometer? And why would you want a chronograph on your watch?

What is a chronograph?

The purpose of a chronograph is to accurately measure time, which is also referred to in the Greek origin of the phrase chronograph, which is based on the terms chronos and grafes, in translation time and write. Simply put, a chronograph is an analog stopwatch. But how to recognize a chronograph watch?

How do you recognize a chronograph watch?

Usually you can identify them by several complications (smaller sub-dials) on dial and buttons above and below the crown. Complications are usually three - measured seconds, minutes and hours. The upper button most often starts and stops the measurement, the lower one resets the time tracking.

What is a tachymeter?

The tachymeter (numbers on the bezel) is often an accompanying function by which we can measure speed. Originally the tachymeter used to measure the speed of production, now we use it for e.g. measuring the speed of car. The prerequisite is a chronograph that indicates seconds through the central second hand. The speed can be calculated using the formula T = 3600 / t, where T stands for a number on the tachymetric scale, t is the time measured in seconds and 3600 is the number of seconds per hour. In practical life, with a little effort, for example, with the help of a tachymeter you can figure how long will it take until your turn.

Chronograph design

Whether we want to admit it or not, today's chronograph watches are more used as fashion accessory rather than for time measuring. While there are certainly occasions when you would like to use accurate chronograph timing, it will mostly only beautify the watch itself. And there's nothing wrong with that.

In the past, chronograph watches were more for men, but over time, chronographs also got into women's watches.

Although at the first sight the chronograph watches can look appealing and mysteriously complex. It should be remembered that these watch models are not suitable for every occasion. For example, for a theater or other ceremony, a chronograph watch is more than inappropriate. On the other hand, they are almost ideal for sports or freetime activities, as well as for work where accurate time measurement is useful.

What is a chronometer?

A watch can be called chronometer after it passed strict tests Swiss Official Chronometer Control - a Swiss organization that strictly tests watches to see if they really accurately display time. The watch is tested at 3 different temperatures, 5 different positions, and also underwater. To be certified with a quartz watch, the deviation must not exceed 0.07 seconds per day.

How to adjust the chronograph?

After a longer period of time, the zero position of one of the hands on the chronograph may change, i.e. it will not return to 12 o'clock. In this case, don't panic and don't request the refund immediately - you can adjust it yourself at home.

The adjustment process may vary by type, but you can also try the general procedure. First pull the crown to the third position, as far away from the case as possible. Then press and hold the upper and lower stopwatch buttons until the big hand runs around the dial, which takes about two seconds. Use the upper button to set the large hand to zero. After adjusting it, press the lower button once to set the hand position on one of the complications. After setting the correct position, press the lower button again to move to the next complication. After setting the last complication, press the lower button again to save the operation. After that, you only have to push the crown into position one, that is completely into the watch.

Why want a chronograph watch?

The simple answer is straightforward - so you can accurately measure time. However, many people don't need to measure time with an accuracy of up to 1/1000 seconds, so the aesthetic function dominates. Watches with many complications make a good impression and can be elegant. Above all, it tells a lot about its wearer, whether it is punctuality or fondness for complex things.

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