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TOP
Hublot Big Bang 44 mm
R 113 738
Verified Dealer
RU
TOP
IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Rattrapante 3754-003
R 231 010
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
181
US
TOP
Breitling Crosswind Racing 18K/SS Special Mother of Pearl Dial
R 71 200
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
181
US
TOP
Omega Speedmaster Reverse Panda Black Dial Men's Automatic watch
R 37 898
Verified Dealer
560
UK
TOP
Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph
R 899 000
Verified Dealer
ZA
Patek Philippe Grand Complications Perpetual Calendar Chronogr...
R 1 743 226
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
595
US
TOP
TAG Heuer Carrera 41mm Stainless Steel Watch
R 34 880
Verified Dealer
9
US
TOP
Hublot Big Bang Zebra Bang 41, limited, official price 38.900 CHF
R 382 161
Verified Dealer
28
CH
Breitling Navitimer 806
R 79 738
Private Seller
ZA
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Camouflage -...
R 475 049
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
175
CH
Breitling Chronomat 44MM Flying Fish Automatic FullSet...
R 81 963
Verified Dealer
1039
DE
Cartier Santos 100 XL Chronograph 2007 - FULL Set
R 70 254
Verified Dealer
145
DE
Girard Perregaux Sport Classique Foudroyante Automatic
R 169 900
Verified Dealer
ZA
Panerai Luminor 1950 8 Days Chrono Monopulsante GMT
R 165 000
Verified Dealer
ZA
TOP
Rolex Daytona 116508
R 757 496
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
595
US
Armand Nicolet S05 Men's Watch
R 27 130
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
365
US
TOP
Hublot Big Bang Tutti Frutti 41, official price 21.900 CHF
R 214 003
Verified Dealer
28
CH
Rado HyperChrome Chronograph
R 35 000
Private Seller
ZA
TOP
Bell & Ross Vintage
R 53 527
Verified Dealer
33
NL
TOP
TAG Heuer Serviced Now Full Set Chronograph Carrera Calibre...
R 53 443
Verified Dealer
371
ES
Bell & Ross BR V2-94 Steel Heritage
R 52 506
Verified Dealer
2272
DE
Ebel 1911
R 32 900
Verified Dealer
ZA
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph
R 500 000
Verified Dealer
ZA
TOP
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Apollo XVII Anniversary Limited...
R 82 650
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
595
US
Omega Speedmaster Chronograph 38 324.30.38.50.01.001
R 55 735
Verified Dealer
1359
MC
TOP
Hublot Big Bang Tutti Frutti 41, official price 31.900 CHF
R 321 013
Verified Dealer
28
CH
IWC 3702 serial number: 2297099
R 42 462
Private Seller
ZA
TOP
Breitling NAVITIMER 01 ROSEGOLD RB012012 unworn 12230HT
R 232 506
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
132
FR
TOP
TAG Heuer Serviced Now re-edition Carrera 1964 Chronograph...
R 53 443
Verified Dealer
371
ES
TAG Heuer Formula 1 CAZ2011 - Mens - Q5FP4T
R 24 191
Verified Dealer
575
UK
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph
R 269 900
Verified Dealer
ZA
Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic
R 189 000
Verified Dealer
ZA
TOP
Zenith El Primero Striking 10th Chronograph Limited Edition...
R 116 013
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
595
US
TOP
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony
R 499 886
Verified Dealer
114
CH
TOP
Hublot Big Bang Aspen 41, official price 13.900 CHF
R 145 212
Verified Dealer
28
CH
TOP
Hamilton AMERICAN CLASSIC INTRA-MATIC AUTO CHRONO
R 25 007
Verified Dealer
114
ES
TOP
Breitling CHRONOMAT 44 GMT AUTOMATIC AB042011 unworn 4750ht
R 90 159
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
132
FR
TOP
Breitling 38mm Automatic Airborne Chronograph Navitimer Chrono
R 58 461
Verified Dealer
371
ES
TOP
Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph Valjoux 7750 Limited...
R 28 018
Verified Dealer
66
NL
Breitling Blackbird Blackbird Chronograph Men's Watch
R 38 900
Verified Dealer
ZA
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph
R 315 000
Verified Dealer
ZA
TOP
IWC Portofino Monopusher Chronograph New 18k Rose Gold 45mm
R 236 688
Verified Dealer
50
RO
Omega SPEEDMASTER PROFESSIONAL VINTAGE 1965
R 139 999
Verified Dealer
ZA
TOP
Breitling Transocean Chronograph 38
R 99 350
Verified Dealer
28
CH
TOP
Girard Perregaux Vintage Chronograph
R 187 289
Verified Dealer
6
US
TOP
IWC Pilot Chronograph limited The Last Flight 8000ht
R 158 907
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
132
FR
TOP
TAG Heuer 35mm 1964 Re-edition Heritage Carrera Manual...
R 50 098
Verified Dealer
371
ES
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 41 Platinum
R 2 866 200
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
 
US
Omega Speedmaster Date
R 35 900
Verified Dealer
ZA
Hublot Big Bang 44 mm
R 195 000
Verified Dealer
ZA
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Co-Axial Chronograph 41,5 mm
R 65 219
Verified Dealer
2272
DE
Victorinox Swiss Army Alpnach
R 22 999
Verified Dealer
ZA
TOP
Breguet Marine 35, official price 64.300 CHF
R 642 040
Verified Dealer
28
CH
Chronoswiss Klassik Chronograph Automatik 18K Gold Dresswatch...
R 75 255
Verified Dealer
511
DE
Breitling Navitimer
R 44 000
Verified Dealer
ZA
TOP
TAG Heuer Serviced Now Jo Siffert Autavia Calibre 11 Chronograph
R 53 443
Verified Dealer
371
ES
TOP
Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph 5980R-001 Rose Gold Watch...
R 1 516 508
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
 
US
Bell & Ross Sport Heritage
R 38 900
Verified Dealer
ZA
Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback
R 175 000
Verified Dealer
ZA
Rolex Strap Daytona 116518 18K Yellow Gold White Dial
R 265 237
Verified Dealer
49
US
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 36
R 48 999
Verified Dealer
ZA
TOP
Sinn 103 St Sa RB Classic Watch Sondermodell
R 40 981
Verified Dealer
62
DE
Rolex Daytona Steel Black White Dial 40MM Ceramic Bezel 116500LN
R 394 277
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
191
US
Audemars Piguet Edward Piguet 25987BC.OO.D002CR.02
R 123 230
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
417
UK
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Chronographs: On the Button

Chronographs differentiate themselves from conventional three-hand watches by their stopwatch function. This type of watch has a unique, functional design characterized by subdials and push-pieces, which many buyers find attractive.

Chronograph Facts

  • The word "chronograph" comes from the Greek words "chronos" (time) and "graph" (an instrument that writes or records)
  • 1816: Louis Moinet invents a stopwatch that displays 1/60th of a second
  • 1913: Longines introduces a wristwatch with a stopwatch function powered by one push-piece
  • 1934: Breitling introduces the two push-piece chronograph
  • 1969: The first chronographs with automatic movements premiere

Sporty Stopwatches

Watches with a chronograph function are first and foremost sport watches. They were designed for use in sporting events. During track and field, swimming, or car racing competitions, events need to be accurately timed to determine a winner. The most modern technology takes care of this at the professional level, but it's still useful for amateurs to have a chronograph on hand for timing. Furthermore, this kind of watch is appealing to many buyers who simply appreciate a more technically-oriented timepiece. The chronograph isn't just limited to use in athletics, though; you could also use it to time while cooking to know when your pasta is al dente and ready to eat.

Some watch manufacturers have made a name for themselves with their efforts in developing chronographs, such as Breitling or TAG Heuer. Breitling is responsible for the typical design of modern chronographs. In 1934, the company introduced a watch with a chronograph function and push-pieces above and below the crown. The layout was successful and quickly spread to other manufacturers.

You begin timing by pressing the push-piece above the crown. When you push it a second time, it stops. If necessary, you can push it a third time to start it again. You can set the stopwatch back to zero by pressing the push-piece under the crown. Almost all modern mechanical chronographs function in this way.

The hands of a chronograph are organized according to a certain pattern. The largest difference between a chronograph and a conventional three-hand watch is that chronographs generally lack a central second hand. A chronograph's large second hand usually rests at 12 o'clock. When you push the top push-piece, it starts moving, timing seconds. Once you're done, you press the bottom push-piece to set the second hand back to zero. The second hand that is constantly in motion, known as the small seconds, is located on a subdial elsewhere on the chronograph.

Most chronographs feature the small seconds subdial at the nine o'clock position. Another subdial at 12 o'clock, the 30-minute counter, keeps track of timed intervals up to 30 minutes. Yet another subdial at six o'clock, the 12-hour counter, records even longer intervals up to 12 hours. The date display is located at three o'clock. Most watches with this dial layout and these timing functions are powered by chronograph calibers, such as the Valjoux 7750 from the world's largest ébauche manufacturer, ETA. Chronographs powered by other movements often have a layout of subdials at three, six, and nine o'clock. This V-shaped design is called Tricompax.

The Valjoux 7750 powers several chronographs from prominent manufacturers, such as the diving watch Longines Hydroconquest and the pilot's watch Sinn 103. Breitling, Hamilton, and Tissot also use this automatic movement in various models. It premiered in 1973, but wasn't an instant success. It first became popular after the Quartz Crisis was resolved. Since then, the Valjoux 7750 has been used in millions of watches. It's affordable to produce and runs reliably at 28,800 alternations per hour (A/h). Moreover, it's certified precise by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). Its power reserve lasts around 44 hours. There are many variants of the 7750, such as a manual version or ones with complications such as a moon phase indicator or a flyback chronograph. Due to its precision, the caliber is able to measure 1/8th of a second.

The El Primero from Zenith beats even faster. At 36,000 A/h, it can measure 1/10th of a second. Zenith introduced this famous high-frequency caliber in 1969. In the same year, Calibre 11 was released as the result of a collaboration between Heuer, Breitling, Büren, and Dubois-Dépraz. The movement powered the first Monaco from Heuer and ran at 19,800 A/h. This allowed the watch to measure 1/5th of a second. The Japanese company Seiko released their caliber 6139 around the same time. Together, these calibers made 1969 a milestone year in watchmaking history. Today, it's still debated which automatic chronograph caliber can be considered the first.

Buying Advice

Do you need a stopwatch every now and again? Look no further than a chronograph. Watches with this extra feature are available in almost every price range. These "time recorders" - a literal translation of chronograph - have technical appeal. They're predominantly men's watches, as the Valjoux 7750 caliber is quite large and not suitable for a classic women's watch.

Generally, chronographs powered by the reliable Valjoux 7750 caliber are less expensive than watches with rarer or in-house movements. These watches start around 1,000 euros. Even more affordable are chronographs powered by quartz movements. They're available in the three figure range from brands like Citizen. Some quartz chronographs are more expensive, however, such as the Breitling Superocean Chronograph M2000, which runs between 3,000 and 4,000 euros. This diving watch is waterproof to 2,000 m and its patented push-pieces can even be used underwater. Manufacturers strongly advise against using the timing function of a mechanical chronograph underwater.

For a little less than 3,500 euros, you can get one of the most famous chronographs in mint condition: the legendary Moonwatch, Omega's Speedmaster Professional. In July 1969, it became the first wristwatch on the Moon. The Apollo 13 astronauts also used this watch to perform a course correction of 14 seconds, helping them safely return their damaged spacecraft to Earth in April 1970.

No less famous is the Rolex Daytona, named for the race track in Daytona Beach, Florida. Race car drivers received these watches as victory trophies for the first time in the 1960s. A stainless steel Daytona in very good condition costs a little under 10,000 euros. A new gold model costs over 20,000 euros. A platinum version with diamonds can raise the price tag to over 100,000 euros.

Do you prefer a square watch? The square TAG Heuer Monaco made its film debut on the wrist of Steve McQueen in the 1971 film Le Mans. Since then, it's been competing with the Daytona for the reputation of the best racing watch. You can buy a new Monaco Calibre 11 for 3,500 - 4,000 euros. More TAG Heuer chronographs are available in their Carrera series.

The Omega Speedmaster, Rolex Daytona, and TAG Heuer Monaco were all designed as timepieces for the race track. If you prefer a pilot's chronograph, then the Breitling Navitimer is a good choice. It goes one step further: in addition to the stopwatch function, it has a slide rule which you can use to do basic calculations. You should be prepared to spend around 5,000 euros on a new stainless steel Navitimer. Another pilot's chronograph is the IWC Double Chronograph, which starts around 9,000 euros.

Rattrapante, Flyback, and Scales

You can use a double chronograph, such as the one from IWC, to measure two separate events of different lengths. This type of chronograph is easily recognizable by its third push-piece, which controls an additional second hand. Normally, this extra hand runs with the normal chronograph second hand. However, when you push the push-piece, it stops, while the other second hand keeps running. Push the push-piece again and both hands are reset to zero. This complication is also known as a rattrapante or split-seconds chronograph.

Another modification to the usual stopwatch function is the flyback chronograph. You can start, reset, and restart timing with just one push. Usual chronographs require you to push a button three times. The flyback chronograph has its origins in military aviation. If pilots have to make multiple course changes within a fixed amount of seconds, then the process of pressing a button three times is too slow.

Many chronographs are also equipped with a tachymeter scale. It's usually found on a fixed bezel and allows you to calculate kilometers per hour. For example, say you drive 1 kilometer. You start the chronograph function as you begin driving and stop it once you've driven a kilometer. The chronograph second hand will be pointing to a number on the tachymeter scale, signaling the speed in km/h.

Less frequently, you'll find a chronograph with a telemeter scale, a complication which calculates the distance to an event which can be both seen and heard. For instance, if it's stormy and you see lightning, you can time the interval between the lightning and thunder. When you stop timing, the second hand will be pointing to the distance of the storm on the scale. So, if there was an interval of 12 seconds between the lightning and thunder, then the storm is four kilometers away. This can be useful in the military for determining how far away enemy cannons are by timing the interval between when the cannon explosion is seen and when it is heard. Thirty-nine seconds, for example, means a distance of 13 kilometers.