WG101: What is a Chronograph & How Does It Work?

Welcome to Watch Gang 101, an informational series that takes a deep dive into the wide world of watches. In this section, we’ll examine the importance of chronographs and dive into how they work.

Meticulously distinct in their function and design, chronographs are among the most sought after and fascinating watch types. The ability to track time and distance makes the chronograph a helpful tool whether you’re doing something as adventurous as deep sea diving or as mundane as brewing a cup of coffee.

Here’s a quick recap of how to start using your own. Bear in mind, though, that these instructions may vary depending on the make and model of your watch. If you ever have a question about your chronograph, just <reach out> and we’ll be happy to help.

The Buttons

  • Pushing the start button (generally located at the 2) will start the chronograph
  • Stop the chronograph by pushing the same button again
  • Pushing the button at the 4 will reset the chronograph

The Dials

A chronograph usually has three dials, each with a different time tracking purpose:

  • A second dial, also known as a sub-second dial
  • A minute dial 
  • An hour dial


The Tachymeter

  • Most (but not all) chronographs feature a tachymeter
  • A tachymeter is a scale of numbers generally inscribed around the bezel or dial
  • This scale can be used for measuring speed and distance

Now that you can navigate your way around the basics, stay tuned for more tips and tricks on how to get even more out of your chronograph. 

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