What is a Chronograph Watch?
A chronograph watch is any watch (quartz, mechanical or automatic) that has a stop watch facility.
What does a chronograph watch look like?
Almost all chronograph watches have smaller subdials on the watch face which show elapsed minutes and hours, although some models do not use subdials and instead have extra hands on the main watch face, such as the Officine Panerai Luminor 1950 (PAM00524, PAM00525 or PAM00580), or are digital. Most models also have two buttons mounted above and below the crown of the watch.
How does a chronograph watch tell the time?
When looking at an analogue chronograph watch, in the vast majority of cases, the stop watch timing is represented by the main second hand. Most chronograph watches utilise smaller subdials to show elapsed minutes and sometimes hours as well, and the second hand for the main watch is often moved to a subdial.
How do I use a chronograph watch?
A chronograph watch is operated in most cases by two buttons (correctly known as pushers or push pieces), which are mounted above and below the crown of the watch. The first push piece is pushed once to start the timing, which will set the second hand in motion. If this push piece is pressed a second time then the timing is stopped and the elapsed time can be read by combining the totals indicated by the second hand, small minute hand, and the small hour hand, if there is one. The second pushpiece acts as a reset button and will return the chronograph hands to the resting position at zero.
With more complex designs these pushpieces can have supplementary functions depending on the design and the order they are pressed in. In the case of a flyback chronograph, if the second pushpiece is pushed while the chronograph is working, then the hands will reset and start from zero all in one motion. With quartz designs pressing the second pushpiece will act as a laptimer by pausing the hands, once pressed a second time the hands will catch up to the current timing.