What is Chronograph?
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What is Chronograph?

Posted On January 10, 2021 at 6:35 pm by / No Comments


The term Chrono is synonymous with wrist watches and pocket watches. It is also one of the most intriguing names baffling a large number of uninitiated folks.

So what is a Chrono? And more specifically where did the word originate from.

Let’s begin with the second question. Chrono is derived from the Greek word for time, “chronos” and the Greek word for writing “Graph”. The earlier versions of Chrono did actually use a miniature pen, attached to the index. The subsequent length of the pen would then indicate how much time had elapsed.

As for what is Chrono? Here is a simple answer. It is a refined name given to a stop watch. Many pricey, well known brands provide this extra complication along with display watch. In its simplest form a Chrono sports an independent sweeping hand which can be started, stopped and reset with the push of a single stem or multiple stems depending upon the manufacturers designing logic. One of the most appropriate phrase which sums up Chronos is – function beyond mere time keeping.

The “Recording” capacity of time lapsed varies, depending on the number of complications and design. While some wrist watches boast just a secondary sweeping seconds arm there are others with have multiple dials, featuring the minutes and hours hand too. The Omega Speedmaster and Universal Genève Compax 22705 are some of the examples.

The History – Who invented Chrono?

The year 1816 saw the beginning of the modern day Chrono. It was Louis Moinet who invented the contemporary version of this complication. Incidentally, it was created to supplement some of the gadgets used by astronomical society and agencies. However, the credit for the marketed version goes to Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec who developed the same at King Louis XVIII command. This was during the year 1821.

The mass production of Chronos started at the beginning of the 20th century. Manufacturers sold these fancy time pieces with fixed bezels to provide advanced computing features such as measuring the speed or distance depending on the “travel time” and “speed” respectively. Nonetheless, it was Tag Heur ( Earlier Heur ) who introduced the first rotating bezel tachymeter in the year 1958.

Chronograph versus Chronometer –

The two are often used interchangeably to convey the additional functions or complications of a wrist watch which is entirely wrong. While chronograph definitely refers to additional features such as stop watch, chronometer is a metric which defines how robust and accurate a mechanical timepiece functions. Wrist watches are typically designated a chronometer status by COSC the official Swiss Chronometer testing institute. Without this accreditation a timepiece cannot be called a chronometer.

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