Chronometer vs. Chronograph

Precision and Performance

Time and time again there is confusion regarding the terms “chronometer” and “chronograph”, especially among novices. Despite the same first two syllables, the terms describe watches of completely different characteristics, which will be explained in more detail below.


Chronometer: Watches with Extraordinary Precision

Originally, the term referred to the chronometer instruments used mainly in the maritime world for exact positioning. This was supposed to be facilitated by a high accuracy. Now, however, the term is widely used outside the shipping industry. An "official chronometer" denotes watches whose Swiss movements have passed an accuracy test by the independent observatory "COSC". These watches subsequently are awarded with a certificate and may carry the lettering “Chronometer”. In the luxury watch field this is the case with Rolex, Omega and Breitling.


Chronograph: Watches with Stop Function

In the literal sense, a chronograph is a time recorder. Usually the term is used in conjunction with wristwatches that have a stop function. Chronographs have an additional second hand, which can be started, stopped and moved independently from the actual movement. This happens without interfering with the time indication. Well-known examples in the field of luxury watches are the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph and the Rolex Daytona.

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