For those who demand a little more from a dress watch, a chronograph is a classic choice. Whether you opt for something simple or sporty, you’ll benefit from precision timing and a stopwatch feature that will prove useful when you’re out training or want to cook your penne perfectly al dente.
A chronograph incorporates a stopwatch feature into a wristwatch and also commonly boasts the ability to set the date and month too. The name of this type of timepiece is taken from the Greek words for time and graph. First invented by Louis Moinet in 1816 and since adapted to suit the consumer market, historical chronograph fans span royalty through to aviators and astronauts.
How does a chronograph work?
As well as meeting the normal function of a watch by telling the time, a chronograph uses sub dials to allow comparison between a base time and time elapsing. Chronograph watches can be self-winding, manual winding or quartz powered. To use the additional sub dials, of which you may find there may be as many as three, you’ll need to activate the wheels by releasing and extending a stem or pressing a button.
How do you set a chronograph watch?
Odyssee Chronograph man’s watch
You’ll most likely find the stem or button to start your stopwatch at the 2pm position on your watch, by pulling this out you’ll find you are able to control a long centred seconds hand or the extra sub-dials, which record seconds, minutes or hours.
The sub dials or wheels work with one another to record the time since activation of the button – the base time. Generally, a second press of this button will stop the recording and a second button at the bottom of your watch will allow you to reset, though on some models you’ll find you have just one button or stem for everything.
Depending on the recording ability of your chronograph, you could time a short task such as boiling an egg or choose to record the duration of a work trip to visit a client. Not all chronograph watches have the ability to record time beyond 30 minutes, so bear this in mind when choosing your watch and consider what you are likely to use the function for.
You’ll find some chronographs allow even more complex calculations – allowing monitoring of speed or distance.
Caring for a chronograph watch
A chronograph is an investment timepiece that should last you for years to come. The maintenance routine of your chronograph will depend heavily on whether it is self winding, manual winding or quartz powered. If the latter, you may need to have your battery replaced by a professional, your personal use levels will be a factor in deciding how regularly this is required. When not in use, store your watch safely in its presentation box or jewellery box and carry out regular cleaning in line with the materials of the watch.
For those who believe timing and accuracy is key a chronograph is a natural choice- take a look at our collection here.