A Chronograph Watch: What's It All About?

by Murat Balci on June 08, 2023

When it comes to wristwatches, the chronograph has always been considered the gold standard. This expert watch, also known as a "tool watch," is designed for the man who wants to have everything at his fingertips. You're keeping score while the clock is running. Your job is to keep track of the time as the minutes tick by. When it comes down to it, any watch that also functions as a stopwatch is technically a chronograph. Surely not something so flashy. Wrong.

The complexity of a chronograph watch, with its separate dials for seconds, minutes, and hours, is one of the reasons why it is highly sought after. Every man can find a chronograph watch that suits him, whether he's shopping on the basis of aesthetics, appeal, or all three.

What Is a Chronograph Watch?

A chronograph watch is a specialized timepiece that doubles as a stopwatch and a timer.

The chronograph, when it comes down to brass tax, has a wide variety of applications. Everything from planning a workout to calculating how long it takes to fill up a gas tank. No matter what you need it for, you can rest assured that every available option serves the same purpose.

Press the 2 o'clock button to start the chronograph. Once you've pressed the button, press it again to turn it off. Then, to return to zero, simply press the button located at four o'clock. Simple.

Three timekeeping dials are standard on modern chronograph watches. Typically, the second dial, also known as a sub-second dial, includes both a minute and an hour hand.

Though brand-to-brand consistency isn't guaranteed, positions can vary. For example, Nordgreen's Pioneer Chronograph. The twin sub-dials are located at 9 and 3 o'clock, opposing one another.

A 'complication,' which refers to the additional degree of complexity and mechanics added to a typical mechanical watch, is the word used to describe wristwatch modifications such as a chronograph.


This is when things start to get interesting. A tachymeter is included on the bezel of almost all chronograph watches.

Simply described, a tachymeter measures speed based on time traveled over a defined distance or distance depending on speed. Do you struggle with numbers? Don't be concerned; there is a simple solution.

Measuring speed

T = 3600/t is the formula. T denotes the numerals on the tachymeter's scale, and t denotes the time in seconds recorded by the vital chronograph function. The number of seconds in one hour is 3600.

Now that we have all of the stuff, let's see how fast we can go. For example, if you go one mile in 30 seconds, the equivalent value on the tachymeter is 120. That translates to 120 miles per hour.

Measuring distance

For the tachymeter to work, you must first know your speed. First, begin timing at zero seconds and end when your speed is displayed by the tachymeter.

If you're traveling at 60 miles per hour, for instance, every time the tachymeter reads 60, you've covered one mile.

For slower speeds, however, things get more complicated, so a good strategy is to multiply the rate by two and then divide by the result.

If this is your first time using a chronograph, take it easy on yourself; no one enjoys dealing with decimals. The best way to get better at something is to practice doing it.

Chronograph Watches: A Brief History

Louis Moinet invented the first chronograph in 1816, and thus our story begins. In the beginning, the stopwatch was used to keep tabs on the stars.

In 1821, Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec of France invented the first commercially viable chronograph. It all started when horse racing fanatic King Louis XVIII asked for a device to time his favorite events.

Paper dials were dropped with ink to number them in the early days of chronographs. In spite of its obvious antiquity in comparison to modern timepieces, this is where the term "chronograph" first appeared.

The term "chronograph" was originally coined in Greek, where it meant "time drawing" (writer). When put together, they mean "time writer" in English.

The first wrist-worn chronographs did not become widely available to the public until the early 20th century. In 1913, Swiss watchmaker Longines popularized the first chronograph wristwatch, which had previously been kept in a pocket.

It wasn't long before explorers, pilots, and navigators of all stripes took notice. Early advertisements, however, took it upon themselves to resurrect the past and market the product in the direction of horse racing, as was originally intended.

There are a plethora of chronographs, each one a celebration of history in its own right. Science for Humanity is a longstanding Danish tradition, and the Nordgreen Pioneer is proud to pay tribute to it. This minimal and eco-friendly timepiece is a nod to the wind turbines' red blade tips through the use of red-tipped hands.


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