Hiren Kumar Bose on choosing the right chronograph keeping in mind your need
Chronographs are mechanical marvels men (and women too) like to sport on their wrists. More so as they offer different combinations and variants on the plain old timekeeping function. Though it continues to be one of the most popular and sought after watches from the horological universe, yet it is also one of the most underutilized and misunderstood complications.
Now as we are on the subject of a watch that is used as a stopwatch combined wth a display watch a bit of history would help. Invented by Louis Moinet in 1816, a later version was developed by Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec in 1820 which became the first chronograph put on sale. It was acquired by King Louis XVIII in 1821 leading to Rieussec called as “watchmaker to the King.” Then, it was used to time horse races. It included a minute and seconds discs onto which a drop of ink marked the exact time elapsed – hence the name chronograph. Now, it’s a preferred watch among aviators, airline pilots, astronauts and F1 rally drivers. Consider this: actor and car rally driver Steve McQueen’s relationship with the blue dial of the square TAG Heuer Monaco, and Paul Newman is forever associated with the Rolex Daytona. Incidentally, Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo, the leading watch auction house, will auction one and the only Rolex “Paul Newman” Cosmograph Daytona owned and worn by none other than Paul Newman at New York on October 26.
There are a number of things worth considering when acquiring a new chronograph watch. The most important being considering how you plan to use the feature; that should dictate the type of model you choose, aside from your budget.
TAG Heuer Carrera
Commonly using anywhere between one and three buttons, chronographs come with “pushers”, meant to start, stop and reset the chronograph function without interfering with the watch. While some watches can only record up to thirty minutes at a time, others can go as long as 12-hours. The recorded time is read off sub-registers (or recorders) found on the dial of the watch. These registers count elapsed seconds, minutes and hours when the pusher is activated.
Longines Watchmaking Tradition
Then you have a variety of chronographs such as the Flyback, which allows the second hand to be rapidly reset; the Rattrapante, where multiple second hands can be stopped and started independently; and the minute and hour times, which were designed in various ways including waterproof models for deep sea diving and water sports.
Frederique Constant Classics
Here are some points you need to keep in mind when choosing the right chronograph. Select one which is easy to read; has luminous markings that you can read at night; is capable of timing more than your intended duration so it won’t require a reset; is known for its accuracy; comes with power reserve; is water resistant if you intend to use it in wet conditions, and lastly and most importantly be sure to examine the register carefully to confirm it is, in fact, a chronograph function.