What is a Chronograph Watch & How to Use It? Explained

Know All About What is a Chronograph Watch Before You Buy

After reading this blog post, you will have no question left in mind for “Chronograph Watches“.

Most people had confused a chronograph watch with a fashion or trendy watch just because they have more than 3 hands on the dial.

But, that’s not the case! I know this might be quite complicated.

In general, a typical analog watch has 3 hands which include the hour hand, the minute hand, and the second hand. But a chronograph watch is more than just watch time. 

So, what exactly a Chronograph watch is?

A Chronograph watch is a special type of wristwatch that works as a stopwatch combined with the functionality of a display watch. A chronograph watch may have multiple hands called “Sub-Dials” that can be used for measuring seconds, minutes, hours, and even the tenth part of a second.

Let’s discuss more about when chronograph watches come into existence, what does a chronograph watch do, and how to set/use chronograph watch.

A Brief History of Chronograph Watch

What is a Chronograph Watch & How to Use It? Explained

First things first, The term Chronograph is originated from a Greek term spells as Khronográphos which means “Time Recording”. 

And now if you are curious to know about the history and the story behind the invention of the chronograph watch, let me tell you a short story that took a long time into the invention.

So, Back in the early 19th century, there was a king named King Louis XVIII who loved to watch horse racing and competing and he was quite curious to know how long does it take for those horses to finish the race.

The first-ever modern chronograph watch was made by Louis Moinet back in 1816 was solely made for astronomical purposes. 

But it was Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec who developed the first-ever marketed chronograph watch which was made for King Louis XVIII.

As a result, Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec ends up getting commissioned by the king for that marketed chronograph.

There was a rapid evolution of chronograph watches as they went from horse racing and eventually went on the moon and helped astronauts survive.

In addition, Louis Moinet is also called the father of high frequency because the first-ever chronograph watch he made had a very high frequency which had 216000 vibrations per hour and this record stood for almost 1 century.

Then in 1915, the first time recorder watch with a central second hand and a 30-minute counter were introduced by Gaston Breitling. And later in 1923, he introduced a pusher at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock that controlled the chronograph property.

And such evolution and increasing automation in watch ultimately lead to the introduction of automatic chronograph watch back in march 1969 by Zenith and Seiko which was later named “Chrono-Matic” and nowadays many companies make and sell their own chronographs.

What Is the Difference Between Analog And Chronograph Watch?

Since here we are discussing Chronograph Watch, there is a concept among people that both Chronograph and Analog Watches are the same.

There are many people who are interested in wearing the Chronograph Watch because of its attractive design, sporty look without knowing its functionality.

Because both analog and chronograph watches have the same standard three hands for time display, as well as they are almost the same in appearance, it is confusing between many watch enthusiasts that both chronograph and analog watches are the same.

But in reality, both the watches are not the same, there are many differences between them which you should know as a watch enthusiast.

So, let us tell you that the main difference between analog and chronograph watches is their functionality.

The analog watch displays the correct time by pointing to the numbers on the dial with three moving hands (seconds, minutes, and hours). While chronograph watches have three sub-dials for the stopwatch (start-stop) function in addition to the time display, which exhibits a very subtle part of a second.

So, it is beneficial of having a Chronograph watch over an analog because it performs both analog and Chrono. 

How to Use Chronograph Watch?

how to use function of a chronograph watch.

It is very easy to set Chronograph Watch, there is no rocket science behind it that you can’t understand.

On a typical analog watch, without a chronograph, you have usually three hands for seconds, minutes, and hours.

While a standard chronograph watch has an additional 3 sub-dials (seconds, minutes, and hours) for stopwatch function and two push buttons (Pushers) on the side.

By using these pushers, you use the start and stop functions in the chronograph and perform different complications of a Chronograph.

To explain the function of the chronograph watch, here we have taken an image of the Chronograph Watch as you can see in the image below.

What is a chronograph and how to use it?

How to Start a Chronograph

  • To start the chronograph, you just have to press the upper pusher build near 2 o’clock.
  • Once you press the pusher you will see the seconds counter start to tick on its own place, its own rate, separately, and measure the seconds. 
  • So, it keeps telling time even though the chronograph is activated.
  • Once the chronograph seconds counter completes one revolution, the minute sub-dial built near 10 o’clock will indicate the elapsed minute by incrementing one stick ahead. 

How to Read Accurate Time in a Chronograph Watch

Now, if you want an accurate measurement of how many seconds and tenths of seconds have passed, then the process of measurement is quite easy.

  • Press the upper pusher to stop the chronograph. 
  • Once you press the upper pusher again, it will stop everything, and you can measure the exact 10th part of a second here on the 1/10th-second counter sub-dial built near 2 0’clock.

How to Reset a Chronograph Watch

  • To reset the chronograph watch, press the lower pusher build near 4 o’clock.
  • Once you press the pusher, the seconds counter, minute counter sub-dial, and 1/10th second counter sub-dial will be reset back to zero.

So, this is how you can use a chronograph watch that allows you to measure precise timekeeping.

What is Tachymeter in a Chronograph Watch

A tachymeter is a function of a chronograph watch or can say it is a scale that can be used to calculate the speed based on travel time or to calculate distance based on speed.

Not all chronographs, but some of the high-end chronographs mostly designed for pilots and sports car racers.

These chronographs have tachymeter inscribed around the outer rim or inner rim of the chronograph watch with an analog display.

Why Are Chronograph Watches So Expensive

There are two types of watches in this world, the one which has casual looking regular watches (Analog watches) and the other one is visually appealing chronograph watches which are more than just WATCHES!

The chronograph watches are expensive because of their complications

If you have a flexible budget, why own something casual, boring, and limiting just to hours and seconds when you have chronographs placed in front of you?

Even your phone can do all the things, but using chronographs is just so satisfying, it’s all about the feel. 

The chronographs are expensive because of accuracy

Normal and regular watches are fine but chronographs have been designed in such a way that it gives 100% accuracy despite being so complex. 

Making these watches with extra functionality is not an easy job. Also, the crafting of such watches needs high precise skills which makes this watch much more expensive.

The chronographs are expensive because you get two in one watch

If you have chronographs or seen anywhere you might have seen multiple dials that we call as sub-dial in it. 

The main dial is just for watching time but the sub-dial works as a stop-watch which makes this watch quite complex and that’s what leads to an increase in the price of the watch.

The chronograph watches are expensive because they are visually very attractive

Having features and technicalities is not just the reason they are expensive but their looks are so alluring that anyone can fall in love. 

This requires high designing and technical skills which is not everyone’s cup of tea to acquire those skills which make this watch quite expensive.

Can a Chronograph Watch Be a Dress Watch?

A dress watch is simply a minimalistic watch that goes really well with any attire say, with shirts or any formal dressing. 

And if you try to pair a chronograph watch with any of these dressing, it’s not gonna make sense because a chronograph is a sporty watch that is used to stopwatch with a normal watch.

If you try to pair it with a black tie and formal dressing it is not going to make a big impact in that dressing as it suits best in sports and professional dressing.

So, my advice is not to take this watch as a DRESS WATCH! But a SPORTS or PROFESSIONAL WATCH.

Which Chronograph Watch Should I Own?

There is a wide collection of chronograph watches available in a classy design with premium construction from classic style to the modern hi-tech look.

So, if the budget is not your concern then here we have the top 3 watches with chronographs from Tissot and Victorinox that you must check out.

1. Victorinox Fieldforce Chrono in Black

Victorinox Fieldforce Chrono in Black best Chronograph watch in India

Victorinox is one of the top brands for chronograph watches because of its classy looks, premium feel, clear dial, and highly precise mechanism.

This attractive chronograph features a Sapphire Crystal Glass which resists scratches and resists shattering of the glass having deployment clasps that help you adjust the tightness.

Such a clear and easily readable watch I must say.

2. Tissot T Sport PRS 516 Chronograph

Tissot best Chronograph watch in India

Tissot is also a majorly recommended chronograph wristwatch brand because of its color selectivity, attractive looks, premium feel, and the list goes on and on.

This Tissot watch has a black attractive genuine leather band which is the most comfortable band in the world.

The watch case is made of stainless steel with a sapphire crystal dial glass protection which resists shattering and scratches on the dial.

3. Tissot T106.417.36.051.00 T-Sport V8 Chronograph

Tissot best Chronograph watch in India

I fell in love with this chronograph watch on the first look of this blue colored attractive dial which is so alluring.

And the brown colored leather band is just adding so much to the color combination with the blue dial.

The dial is made up of stainless steel that resists and prevents this watch from damaging by scratches and shattering.  


I liked chronograph watches because of its sporty look in my early days but now after knowing it closely with almost every detail I am loving it.

It’s not like I am forcing you to have any but still, it’s a suggestion just buy one and I am sure you will become a fan of this amazing chronograph watch for sure.

If you still have any questions left in mind about the chronograph watches, please share them in the comment below.

We would love to hear from you about your feedback.

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