A chronograph, the dial will make you say, “ it’s too confusing, what is all that stuff for?” Or, you may look at it and it sings to you. All of this depends on how interested you are in the details of a particular watch. Fair enough. When a pilot straps on a chronograph the watch becomes a tool. As important to a successful flight as topping off the plane with jet fuel.
Louis Moinet invented the astronomers chronograph in 1816 with the intention to be used for astronomical equipment. In the last half century chronographs have evolved for modern use in watches for pilot aviators, car racers, horse racing and divers
CHRONOGRAPHS ARE WILDLY POPULAR WITH WATCH FANS
That means many watch lovers wear chronographs. Some wearers love the watches for their style, others rely on their real-world functions. Either way, a chronograph gives you functions the wearer can use every day. If you are trying to calculate time, your chronograph is your friend. Are you tracking how long the brisket has been in the smoker? Timing your road trip from Atlanta to Charlotte? Take your chronograph along for the ride.
A GOOD MANY WEARERS ARE ONLY INTERESTED IN STYLE
It’s ok. We have room for them too. In their case, a chronograph is heavy on style but it is only useful to tell time. They ignore some of its actual time measurement functions. True, these watches are super cool to look at. As cool as they are, they are also complicated to make. It is almost a miracle that they function at all. Accuracy is not limited to Chronographs, of course. The more complicated the watch is, the more the watchmaker can show off its mastery of horology.
You will need to know all six to better understand how these watches work. Or to put it another way, to measure time.
1. THE BEZEL
The bezel features a time ring which allows you to compute speeds. For example, to calculate the speed of a car over a known distance, press the top chronograph button. Do this when entering the fixed distance. Press it again when at the end of the fixed distance. If the time elapsed is 45 seconds the second-hand points to figure 80 on the Tachy scale. If the fixed distance is a Kilometer then the car is traveling 80 kilometers per hour. If the distance covered is a mile, then the speed reads in Miles per hour, in this example 80 MPH. Pretty simple, right?
2. THE HOUR HAND TELLS THE TIME
Of course, it moves to the next hour marker as time progresses.
3. THE MINUTE HAND FUNCTIONS LIKE THE HOUR HAND
Its job is to measure time in minutes. Control the second hand with a pusher and it becomes a stopwatch. If you wanted to know how long the red light stayed red at the intersection, you could measure the duration.
4. THE START-STOP PUSHER ALLOWS YOU TO CALCULATE ELAPSED TIME
Simply operate the watch as a stopwatch or timer. Pushers are completely separate controls. They prevent the stopwatch functions from interrupting the time function of the function.
5. SMALL SECOND HANDS
Small second hands, depending on the watch, display seconds via subdial on the face of the watch.
6. THE RESET PUSHER IS UNDER THE CROWN
Use it to reset the stopwatch function back to zero seconds.
INTRODUCING A FEW WORLD CLASS CHRONOGRAPHS
The highly respected Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is perfect for the sports-car driver. If you have a passion for speed, this is the watch. It was first introduced in 1963. Rolex designers set out to meet the demands of professional race car drivers. Today, the Daytona is an icon in the world of watches as well as racing. The Rolex Daytona is powered by the calibre 4130, a self-winding mechanical chronograph movement entirely manufactured and developed by Rolex. See here for full range of Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watches
One of the most iconic watches of all time also happens to be one of the most iconic chronographs ever. Aside from being the first watch on the moon, the Speedmaster does a great job measuring time here on earth. Ask a Speedmaster owner and they’ll tell you they won’t leave home without it. Most of the Speedmasters are powered by the In-house Omega caliber 321, 861, 1861 movements. See here for full range of the Speedmaster collection
ZENITH EL PRIMERO
This beauty features the famous El Primero movement. It features a column-wheel chronograph stopwatch. It has a large red second counter hand. A 30-minute sub-dial is at the 3 o'clock position. There is a 12-hour sub-dial at the 6 o’clock point. The dial is sunray silver with blue and grey subdials. The case is highly polished. A tachymetre scale is printed on the rim of the dial. See here for full range of the El Primero collection
TAG HEUER CARERRA
Tag Heuer gave us the Carerra in 1963, the same year as the Daytona. Fans of TAG Heuer love the contemporary look of the watch. Tag continues to release the watch with different looks. The Carrerra will catch your eye. You are looking at a serious chronograph. See here for full range of the Carerra family
The Navitimer turned 60 in 2012. It is the final word in aviator watches. It is a chronograph with a difference. A flight computer is built-in and works alongside the timekeeper functions. Aviators are known to be a serious bunch, the Navitimer is right at home. See here for the full range of the Navitimer collection
A LANGE & SOHNE DATOGRAPH
A. Lange & Söhne launched the Datograph in 1999, and this took the industry by storm with a completely new in-house mechanical chronograph, incorporating a fly-back function and precisely jumping minutes counter. What was even more impressive was this was only five years since the brand was launched. The Datograph as the name suggest does something not available in most chronographs, a chronograph with a date! Since its introduction several variations have been released in all metals and complications (Split second, Perpetual and Tourbillion)
It is an amazing achievement in watchmaking to produce a world-class chronograph. The precision of these watches is remarkable. The ingenuity of embedding a flight computer in a timepiece boggles the mind. The stopwatch function in your watch doesn’t interfere with your timekeeping! This proves the design of these watches is world-class.
Not content with a watch that only tells time? Special watches are out there. If you are asking yourself how do I choose a watch like this? What should I pay? Is there value behind the brand and price? You owe it to yourself to look closer into the Watchnerd.com buyer decision making guides. Watchnerd.com shows you your options as a buyer. Our guides are indispensable while trying to decide which brand and model is right for you. Watchnerd.com is ready to help. Our passion is timeless.
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