What is a Chronograph Watch? How to use one?

The chronograph watch is one of the most common watch models. If you are a watch lover, this article should please you as we are going to discuss this important question, What is a Chronograph Watch? and How to use it.

In this article, you shall learn about

  1. What is a chronograph?
  2. How does a chronograph watch work?
  3. The different types of chronograph
    1. The flyback
    2. Split-seconds chronograph
    3. The lightning chronograph
    4. The chronograph watch for what style?

Page Contents

What is a chronograph?

The chronograph is an accessory for measuring the time between two events. Today, we most often speak of a chronograph watch, a watch fitted with at least one independent hand allowing a time interval to be measured and which can be started, stopped, and reset.

The chronograph is often incorrectly called a chronometer. Even if the two elements have the same function, the chronometer benefits from a label based on the ISO 3159 standard. This label certifies the precision of the instrument in the measurement of time. A chronograph watch can also receive this label, in this case, we speak of a chronometer-chronograph.

This type of watch is very easily recognized by the presence of one or more counters to count the seconds, minutes, and hours. In the case where the chronograph is not linked to a watch, we just speak of a counter.

Other elements may be indicated on a chronograph watch. We frequently find:

Read also: How to choose the size of a watch?

How does a chronograph watch work?

How does a chronograph watch work?

The chronograph operates according to a cycle of 3 actions:

  • Start: pressing the first push-button activates the hand and the timing.
  • Stop: pressing the same button freezes the hand and stops the counter.
  • Reset: pressing the second push-button returns the hand to zero, to its starting position .

The majority of chronographs consist of two buttons at 2 and 4 o’clock. The first starts and stops the clock. The second manages the reset function and resets the needle to zero. Some chronograph watches, on the other hand, only have one button that will chain the three actions sequentially.

The majority of chronographs consist of three counters, one of which is used to display the seconds, the second hand being allocated to the Chrono function. The other two counters measure minutes and hours taking into account time intervals of up to 12 hours.

Other chronographs only consist of two counters, the first for running the seconds, the other for measuring the minutes.

The different types of chronograph

The classic chronograph can also be declined to offer its user different time measurement options.

The flyback chronograph watch

The flyback consists of two buttons. As always, the first activates the start and stop function of the chronograph. It is the function of the second pusher, the reset button, which will vary :

  • if it is used during timing, after the start, it activates the stopresetstart function in one go,
  • if it is used during the display, after the stop, it only activates the reset function by returning the second hand to zero.

The flyback is often used by pilots because it allows you to activate 3 actions in one press, saving them time.

Split-seconds chronograph

The split-seconds chronograph watch makes it possible to measure an intermediate time. This is, in fact, fitted with two hands (the second hand and the split-seconds hand) and a third push-button whose position can vary.

The operation remains essentially the same as on a classic model. Pressing the first push-button simultaneously activates the two hands, and thus starts the Chrono, or stops them at any time. The second, reset, resets the hands to zero.

The third push-button, the additional one, can be activated after the hands have left in order to stop only the split-seconds hand. Thus, stopped, this hand makes it possible to read an intermediate time. A second press on the additional button replaces the split-seconds hand on the second hand, the two hands thus continuing their course together.

The lightning chronograph

As for the split-seconds, the lightning chronograph watch is equipped with a second hand (the lightning) allowing fractions of a second to be measured. This second-hand makes one revolution in one second, stopping to mark quarters, fifths, eighths of a second. It is activated at the push of a button.

The chronograph watch for what style?

The chronograph watch is by nature very sporty, relaxed and the presence of its multiple counters and pushes buttons to make it an accessory that is not suitable for formal outfits. Dandies and men who wear the costume can therefore forget about this kind of model.

On the other hand, all other styles can be found there. Athletes can opt for a watch with a steel or plastic strap but forget the leather. The more casual can choose a more sober chronograph with a leather or steel strap. Overall, you have to remember that the more formal your style is, the more sober your watch should be with a simple and refined design.

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