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What Are Chronograph Watches And Are They Worth Your Money?

As you go watch shopping, you may have heard of this term: chronographs. It is not unusual for watches to have very fancy features and names for them – so what exactly is a chronograph?

In a nutshell, a chronograph watch is one that has a built-in stopwatch. Long before stopwatches were a readily available function in every digital watch or your smartphone, watches with chronographs had to be specially made – and it was a feat to make a functioning chronograph that didn’t interfere with the watch’s primary time-telling function.

Today, chronographs still add a hefty sum to any watch, due to the fine craftsmanship that goes into making one. Let’s take a closer look at what chronographs are.

How does a chronograph work?

Chronographs typically have 1 to 3 buttons that serve as the ‘start’, ‘stop’, and ‘reset’ buttons. When used, it can measure elapsed time for various purposes, like race timings. Watches may vary in the maximum time it can measure – some up to 30 minutes, and some up to 12 hours. 

The first recorded use of a chronograph dates back to the 1800s, by a man named Louis-Moinet, for astronomical study. But it was French watchmaker, Nicolas Mathieu Reiussec, who made the first commercial chronograph, used for measuring horse-racing timings.

Thereafter, the chronograph become widely incorporated into watches, especially those for marine, aviation, and racing uses.

Other types of chronograph functions

Over the years, watchmakers have improved and added to the basic chronograph, resulting in a wide variety of chronographs with added complications. Some notable chronograph functions are described below:

  • Flyback: With one push of a button, you can reset and restart the stopwatch function at the same time. This is in contrast to the basic chronograph where you would need to press one button to reset it, then another button to start the stopwatch again.
  • Rattrapante: This is used to record multiple event timings that start at the same time, but don’t end at the same time. For example, you can measure the timing of two persons in a race by stopping the timing when one person finishes, while the clock continues to run until the next person finishes.
  • Tachymeter: In addition to time, the tachymeter allows for measurement of speed or distance.

Is a chronograph watch worth it?

As mentioned, chronograph watches are typically more expensive than basic watches that have none of these functions. Therefore, you would probably want to make your money’s worth by actually appreciating and using these functions!

Due to their technical brilliance and mechanical charm, chronograph watches are still well-loved today by hobbyists and serious watch collectors. In the luxury market, chronograph watches are also highly sought-after.

If you are someone who can appreciate these features, whether by its historical significance, craftsmanship, or actual functionality, then a chronograph watch would be an amazing addition to your watch collection.

Explore some beautiful chronograph watches right here at Leong Poh Kee! We stock brands like Ball Watch and Romago Swiss watches, which include some lovely chronograph watches to satisfy you in both style and function. If chronograph watches aren’t your cup of tea, feel free to also check out other styles like our ladies’ jewellery watches or men’s dress watches.


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