Watches Timing is everything: the inner workings of a chronograph

5 min

Discover how a chronograph works and why it is such an impressive tool

The chronograph is more than just a fancy watch feature. It’s a mechanical masterpiece that gets your adrenaline pumping and records history in seconds. Let’s dive into the inner workings of a chronograph and explore how it measures time with precision and style.

Chrono-snap: capturing time in a flash

At the heart of the chronograph lies a series of gears, wheels, and levers that work together to measure time intervals. When you press the start button, the chrono-snap snaps into action, engaging the chronograph mechanism and sending power to the mainspring. From there, it sets the gears in motion, each one turning at a different speed to measure time down to the fraction of a second.

Fly me to the moon: the flyback mechanism

One of the most exciting features of a chronograph is the flyback mechanism, which allows you to reset and start the timer with a single push of a button. This handy feature was first developed for pilots, who needed to quickly measure elapsed time during flight missions. With the flyback mechanism, they could reset the chronograph and start timing again in one swift motion, without losing a second.

Pressed for time: the pushers

The pushers on a chronograph aren’t just there for show. They play a crucial role in starting, stopping, and resetting the timer. When you press the start button, you engage the pusher, which releases a tiny lever that sets the chronograph gears in motion. To stop the timer, you press the same button again. This disengages the lever and stops the gears. And to reset the timer, you press the other pusher, which sends the gears back to their starting positions.

Wheel of fortune: the tachymeter scale

Another distinctive feature of a chronograph is the tachymeter scale, which is a graduated dial around the watch face. It allows you to measure speed over a fixed distance. By timing how long it takes to cover a set distance, you can calculate the speed of an object in miles per hour or kilometers per hour. The tachymeter scale is a handy tool for anyone who needs to measure speed on the go, from race car drivers to professional cyclists.

Time flies: the beauty of precision

The chronograph is a masterful creation that combines precision, style, and ingenuity. From its flyback mechanism to its tachymeter scale, every element of the chronograph serves a purpose and adds to its appeal. So the next time you wear a chronograph on your wrist, take a moment to appreciate the engineering marvel that keeps time ticking with style and grace.