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Chronograph Watches Save Time!

Updated on February 23, 2013

Save Time with a Chronograph!

Chronographs are typically a watches capable of saving a record of a timed event, a type of stop watch in other words, therefore need to be accurate watches. When these were purely mechanical watches, before the days of the quartz movement, this required good design and precision engineering which meant high cost for a good model.

Today some watches are more like computers that can be worn on the wrist, but manufacturers still make mechanical chronographs to show off their design and craftsmanship skills. They produce some stunning time pieces and you can pay what you will for the top end models. The TAG Chronometer pictured further down the page will set you back something in the range of $2700, but if you are only interested in looks you don't have to pay that sort of money to get a stunning chronograph on your wrist that is still accurate enough for most of us.

Chronograph Functions

To enable a stop watch type function with fraction of a second timing a chronograph usually has 3 sub dials that mark off different time periods, typically , minutes, seconds and 1/10 second, other variations occur where the sub dials can mark of different time periods or even time zones. Specialist chronographs will have different functions perhaps to enable speed calculations or help with navigation.

Chronographs For Women

Chronograph watches were generally targeted towards the men's watch market, but now manufacturers have realised there is a market for a range of chronographs that are either unisex in appeal or with a more feminine look too. Two examples of which is shown below, the left by Tommy Hilfiger and right by Michael Kors in white, rose gold and pink.

Operating a Chronograph

The advantage of timing an event with a chronograph is that they are operated usually using two push-buttons situated either side of the winder, one to stop and start the timing and one to reset the dials, this means you can watch the event being timed without having to look at your watch at the same time. Again manufacturers have their own designs and you might find a different number of push-buttons operating in a different way, but timing operations in general are simple enough.

It's Complicated Chronograph versus the Chronometer

The terms chronographs and chronometers are sometimes confused and used incorrectly.

The chronometer is a very accurate timepiece with special design features e.g. to compensate for temperature fluctuations, so that it remains very accurate through a range of environments.

The "complicated" chronograph watch is a watch with extra functions apart from telling the time and date, these extra functions are called "complications", some watches are very complicated i.e. have many functions, 10 or more.

However a chronograph can also be a chronometer, so it's simple really but complicated!

If chronograph watches are not "complicated" enough for you they can also come in the form of divers watches too!


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