The horological history behind Chronograph

Although Chronograph possesses complicated functions normally, it is regarded as the most desired or popular among the watch enthusiasts, especially the young man under 40. Chronograph becomes the specific target watch for such a group of people.

Studies have demonstrated that most of the consumers have no idea about the expected functions of chronograph. And some the users also don’t know how to adjust or operate the function involved.
Varied from the chronometer, chronograph labeled with Swiss-made is COSC-certified, which proves its qualification in precise standards. It is common that one to three buttons are available in such kind of watch, which are utilized to start, stop and reset corresponding functions and do not affect other timing function at the same time. The maximum time various watches record is different, varying from dozens of minutes to a dozen hours. The recorded result , including hours, minutes and seconds, could be obtained through sub-registers.


Literally, the chronograph refers to “Time Writer” , in which the Greek word“Chronos” represents time and“graph means writing. And the first chronograph was invented by Louis Moinet in 1815 and completed in the following year.

But actually, the chronograph invented by Moinet served as the astronomical equipment, while the first chronograph appearing on the trading market was created by a man named Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec, “Watchmaker to the King” in France. Chronograph was used in horse races, which is a favored sport of King Louis XVIII, to time and record the results. Thereafter, any race record could be broken by other competitors. Subsequently, a man called Adolphe Nicole introduced a new reset feature based on Rieussec’s version, which drove continuous measurement to be available in the race.

Gradually, the chronograph was developed to be better. Since market demand is also constantly growing, wrist watch manufacturers all over the world struggled for the patent of automatic version and its exclusive use. Breitling, Heuer, and Hamilton at that time were determined to cooperate with movement expert Dubois Depraz for making the self-winding chronograph. Until March 3, 1969, the first automatic chronograph came out finally in New York and Geneva. Due to the support of off-center micro-rotor, Calibre 11 movement is capable of winding itself. Following this landmark accomplishment, El Primero designed to be of a central mounted full rotor and was prominent for its first-ever function of measuring time to one-tenth of a second. Meanwhile, the automatic chronograph called the 6139 Auto-Chrono was unveiled by Japanese powerhouse Seiko.



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