Chronographs have a long tradition and are often characterized by a strikingly sporty or stylishly elegant look. The usually analogue but also digital wristwatches are not only real eye-catchers. Above all, they impress with their additional function as a stopwatch. Next to the crown, chronographs typically have two other pushers to control the stop function. On the dial of the impressive timepieces there are correspondingly several small sub-dials (totalizers), for example for short-term time measurement or for displaying other time zones. Some chronograph models also have an alarm function and a date display. Pilot's watches are a very special form of chronograph that is often equipped with a tachymeter. Other models can even show the phases of the moon or tides. The prestigious chronograph is a very tasteful and extremely functional companion for both women and men.
Chronographs – multifunctional, practical and timelessly beautiful
Chronographs are very characterful, elegant watches with many practical functions. Whether in private and professional everyday life or during sports: the attractive wristwatches can be used multifunctionally beyond the mere time measurement process and impress with their often classically elegant appearance and striking sportiness. As a gift, a chronograph is always an expression of special appreciation and is extremely popular and suitable, especially for festive events such as weddings, anniversaries or graduation. For women and men alike, a chronograph becomes an absolutely reliable partner that often accompanies its wearer as a favourite watch for a lifetime. If you want to honor a personal milestone and treat yourself to something extraordinarily beautiful, this is an opportunity to buy a chronograph and give it a gift for yourself.
The functions of chronographs
Would you like to buy a chronograph, but are still unsure which functionalities and special properties are relevant for you or which are available at all?
The most popular features and functions of chronographs are undoubtedly stopwatch, telemeter, water resistance, tachymeter, world time, flyback function, alarm, and the display of tides and moon phases.
Before you start looking for individual models, you should also be clear about which type of movement you prefer. When buying a chronograph, you can basically choose between the following three types: automatic, hand winding and quartz.
Another important criterion that you should definitely pay attention to when buying your chronograph is its accuracy. Not least, you can tell from it how good and how high-grade a model is to be assessed. It describes an increasing or decreasing deviation of the displayed time within a day. The currently most precise movements by far can be found in quartz watches. With automatic watches, a daily deviation of a maximum of 30 seconds is certainly also easy to tolerate for most.
Stopwatch: time measurement with the chronograph hand
To stop the time, chronographs typically have two additional pushers, usually placed above and below the crown. These push buttons not only give them their unmistakable appearance, the unique "chrono look". They also enable their very special functionality. In this context, before buying your chronograph, you should consider whether a timepiece with a regular stop function or a flyback function is the best choice for you. We will briefly introduce you to the advantages of the different variants below. This makes it easier for you to decide which type is most useful for you in sporting activities, but also in your job and everyday life.
The expression “flyback” describes the jumping back or “flying back” of the chronograph hand. Strictly speaking, a flyback chronograph can stop, reset and restart the chronograph function with just a single push of a button. With a flyback chronograph, the stopwatch hand does not have to be stopped at the push of a button, then reset to zero and restarted – it literally “flies” back to zero. You should definitely consider this before buying chronographs without a flyback function.
Wake-up timer and alarm function of chronographs
A very useful feature of the extraordinary wristwatches is their wake-up and alarm function. Depending on the watch model, an alarm or wake-up call can be set individually. Often several daily alarms are even possible for a wide variety of appointments, occasions or reminders. In this way, no important meeting will be forgotten any more, even when you are out and about.
World time display on chronographs
Internationalization continues, especially in the world of work. When you buy a world time chronograph, you don't just keep an eye on the time zones of your worldwide customers. On your business trips, you can also see what time it is in your home country right now. Some world time chronographs can display all 24 standard time zones or even more.
Chronographs with indications of tides, moon phases and more
The functionality of chronographs goes far beyond that of a pure timepiece or a stopwatch. For example, tidal phases and moon phases can be displayed on a chronograph with the corresponding complication. The indication takes place on the dial in very different ways. The design of such tide and moon phase wristwatches is therefore very varied and leaves little to be desired.
Another common additional function is the tachymeter. It facilitates the calculation of speeds and was originally developed specifically for the needs of pilots. For this reason, tachymeters are still mainly used in aviator chronographs today. On pilot`s watches with a tachymeter there is a corresponding scale on the outer edge of the dial or on the bezel, on which the determined speed can be read.
Chrono with column wheel or cam-actuated chronograph?
Would you like to buy a chronograph and are wondering whether you should choose a model with a column wheel or a cam-actuated chronograph? Historically, chronographs were initially consistently equipped with a column wheel. In the meantime, the column wheel has mainly been replaced by the cam-actuated mechanism. This variant, also known as lever cam control, has been by far the most frequently installed since the 1960s and 1970s at the latest. Nevertheless, the column wheel control is still very popular and is considered a particularly elegant and exclusive feature in chronographs.
Essentially, both controls take on the three stopwatch functions: starting, stopping and resetting. In the case of the column wheel, it is controlled via a rotatably mounted ratchet. The production and adjustment of this fine component is complex and accordingly cost-intensive. The wheel consists of between five and nine small pillars. The cheaper cam-actuated control works without a column wheel. The function of the ratchet wheel is fulfilled by industrially stamped, pivoting levers or specially shaped lever cams.
Classic, sporty or elegant – the right chronograph for you
With us you will always find a large selection of high-quality chronographs from renowned brand manufacturers. The spectrum ranges from extremely robust, masculine models with distinctive bezels and an imposing overall appearance to sporty, dynamic and elegant wristwatches through to wonderfully filigree and glamourous chronographs for women with supple leather straps. Your new favourite watch is already waiting for you! Whichever watch model you choose: use our free bracelet adjustment when you buy your chronograph and let it be individually tailored to you.
Chronographs in the popular vintage style
Chronographs in an attractive vintage look testify to a unique elegance and underline your exquisite taste. Due to their noble, nostalgic design, the wristwatches ensure admiration on every occasion. Women and men looking for a timepiece with a charming retro touch will be delighted by a chronograph with a vintage design. You will find an impressive selection at Zeppelin watches and Vostok Europe watches. But the pilot`s watches from Iron Annie or Messerschmitt are also always worth a look.
Sporty and functional chronographs
If functionality, robustness and a dynamic look are particularly important to you in a wristwatch, then you should buy a sporty chronograph. The variety of models with equipment features such as robust watch straps made of rubber or silicone, water resistance, tachymeter or illuminated hands and indices is remarkable. In addition to Casio watches, brands like Luminox, Tissot, traser or Victorinox, for example, are among the most popular providers for sports chronographs.
Classy elegance: chronos for the office
Classically elegant chronographs are absolute highlights, especially in the business environment, but also on festive occasions. The models impress with their high-quality materials, excellent workmanship and extreme attractiveness. Their quality and the unobtrusive beauty of their design often make them real favourite pieces and lifelong companions. Citizen watches and Seiko watches are known and coveted for deliberately simple and elegant chronographs. Traditional companies such as Jacques Lemans, Junghans or Mido are also an excellent source.
On the history of the chronograph
A chronograph is an extraordinarily fascinating accessory and a timelessly elegant companion. Its history goes back to the 18th century and includes several key milestones. The development of the chronograph is linked to the human need to develop precise instruments for short-term time measurement. The Geneva watchmaker Jean Moïse Pouzait took the first important step. In 1776 he designed a watch whose seconds hand was driven by a separate barrel and could be stopped. The Frenchman Louis Moinet is generally considered to be the inventor of the chronograph as we know it today. In 1816 he created his “thirds timer”, a watch that not only had a central seconds hand, but also additional sub-dials for displaying minutes, hours and 24 hours. Short-term measurements could also be started, stopped and reset via push buttons.
The Paris watchmaker Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec coined the term “chronograph” for the first time. He even had the model he developed patented under this name. Literally translated, “chronograph” means something like “time recorder”. The term is made up of the ancient Greek words “chrónos” (time) and “gráphein” (to write). This origin resounds to this day in the plural form “chronos”, which is a common abbreviation for “chronographs”. Despite their supposed conceptual proximity, the chronograph should not be confused with the “chronometer”. Chronometer stands for watches with particularly accurate movements. We have seen: the chronograph is an accessory of almost timeless class and beauty. It not only has an impressive and long history. Given his enormous popularity, he certainly has a great future ahead of him, too.