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How To Select A Chronograph


Swiss Watch Gallery has compiled a list of 6 factors to keep in mind when selecting a chronograph which suits you and your needs.

The mechanical chronograph is perhaps the most popular sought after complication since the late 60’s, yet it is also one of the most underutilized and misunderstood complications. For the average consumer, investing in a quality chronograph watch can still be a daunting and surprisingly complicated business. There are a raft of considerations to balance before committing to a luxury timepiece, and so Swiss Watch Gallery has compiled a list of 10 factors to keep in mind when selecting a chronograph which suits you and your needs


  1. The Basics Of A Chronograph

A chronograph watch is a timepiece that offers more than one way to measure time; however, there are many functions available in chronograph timepieces. Chronograph watches are available in many designs, including luxury, casual, and sport watches. Men’s chronograph watches are more common, yet ladies chronograph watches are also widely available. The most easily identifiable chronograph watches have three subdials set into the main dial. The subdials display the stopwatch and other extra functions

  1. The Difference Between Chronographs And Chronometers

A chronograph designation is often confused with a chronometer one, though they are completely different. A chronograph is basically a watch with stopwatch capabilities. It displays different counters or mechanisms for measuring elapsed time. Counters can register seconds, minutes and hours. This gives its owner the ability to time anything he wants. The stop watch function of a chronograph can not only be used for timing races, but for other practical uses as well. Tracking daily routines such as meetings, cooking times, exercise routines, as well as commuting times are an added advantage of a chronograph.


  1. The Varieties In Style

Chronograph watches are considered sport watches, but they are not limited to one style. For office and casual wear, stainless steel and titanium watches are durable and attractive. Watches with fine leather straps are also available with chronograph features; leather watchbands can be dressy or casual. Outdoor enthusiasts may prefer the durability and style of rubber straps. A watch with a colourful dial may add style to your wardrobe while a chronograph watch with a gold case can enhance your luxury watch collection.


  1. At First Glance

The easy-to-read display of elapsed times can no longer be taken for granted. In the past, legible elapsed times was a necessary feature as chronographs were seen by manufacturers as a reliant tool. Today, elapsed-time indications are too often overlooked by manufacturers in the design process for aesthetic purposes. When choosing your chronograph, keep in mind for dials that are easy to read, and especially for what is missing. Choose a chronograph which suits your personal needs. If you need to read in the time in the dark, be diligent in your search for exactly what you need.


  1. The Origins – Modular & Integrated

The ultimate expression of chronograph ownership can be likened to going on holiday in an open-topped sports car. There are many delights awaiting you at your chosen destination, but the pleasure conferred with travel cannot be ignored. There are two categories of chronographs, modular and integrated. Modular chronographs are generally less expensive and easier to service than integrated chronographs. The modular chronograph features a base movement with a chronograph module added on top, whereas the integrated movement is a clean-sheet design, always destined to be a chronograph. A column-wheel chronograph, a form of integrated chronograph, provides a useful safety function. With some chronographs, pressing the reset button without stopping the stopwatch hands first can result in damage to the gear train of the movement. A column wheel, with its series of pillars often visible via a clear caseback, prevents any resultant damage caused by pressing the reset button at an inopportune moment. The chronograph offers much merit in terms of functionality, but the column-wheel chronograph bestows an abundance of pleasure by virtue of the way it operates.


  1. Reading Your Scales

Apart from what is going on inside your chronograph, what about those scales printed around the bezel of a chronograph? While a chronograph can be useful for measuring elapsed time, with a calibrated scale, it can be used to tell distances, pulse rates and average speeds. There are generally three types of scales printed on the bezels of chronographs and it is useful to know how they generally work, even if only to impress your peers.

The tachymeter scale is used to tell average speed over a set distance and is simple to operate, as long as you have an accurately-measured distance. The easiest way to use it is with the kilometre markers on highways. Start the chronograph when your car passes one of the markers. Stop it when you pass the next marker. The number on the tachymeter scale that corresponds to the sweep hand is your average speed across that distance.

A telemeter scale was devised to help soldiers know how far away artillery fire was. Nowadays, it can be useful for tracking a thunderstorm. Start the chronograph when you see a flash of lightning and stop it when you hear the thunder. The number on the bezel where the sweep hand is stopped is the distance.

The pulsometer is perhaps the most useful bezel scale for modern everyday use. Watches with pulsometric scale are sometimes called doctors’ chronographs, for obvious reasons. Find a pulse, start the chronograph and stop it after counting the number of heartbeats designated on the scale. The resulting bezel reading will be the person’s heart rate.