Chronograph (aka Chrono) is a watch complication that describes the timing functionality, commonly known as a stopwatch. It allows to measure intervals of time without affecting the conventional time-telling function of the watch. The chronograph changed the world because it allowed for incredible accuracy in recording time, up to 1/100 of a second.

Generally the chronograph mechanism is driven by the movement of the watch and operated by two buttons on the edge of the case which start, stop and reset the chronograph. Usually the chronograph seconds hand is the large centre seconds with two sub-dials for elapsed minutes and hours – although it may differ between watchmakers and models.

The basic idea of a chronograph is the same from watch to watch, but there are three different types of chronographs:

  • Simple Chronograph – standard chronograph controlled by either one or two buttons (also referred to as “pushers”)
  • Flyback Chronograph – an advanced chronograph that enables the rapid restarting of the timer function while the chronograph is running. One push of the chronograph button will stop, reset, and restart the timmer.
  • Split Seconds Chronograph (Rattrapante) – features an additional second hand that is superimposed on the chronograph hand and enables the measurement of multiple events occurring simultaneously

Most Popular Chronograph Watches

Skeleton watch shows off the inner workings of the movement through a transparent or partially cut-out dial and/or back, so that the movement can be viewed from the front and/or back of the watch.

In the hip-hop/rap culture skeleton watch is often referred to as “Skelly“.

A type of escapement housed in a rotating cage that is meant to counter the negative effects gravity on a movement. Comparing to a standard mechanical watch, where the escapement is fixed. That means no matter what position the tourbillon watch is in, those timing variations are essentially canceled out. While the movement was originally intended for pocket watches, they’ve moved to wristwatches as a way to showcase the height of a manufacture’s watchmaking abilities, and craftsmanship.

The Tourbillon complication is one of the pinnacles of horological achievement and an extremely difficult accomplishment to achieve for a watchmaker.