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Watch function Explained: Chronograph vs. Chronometer

Watch function Explained: Chronograph vs. Chronometer

Everybody has already heard about a ‘chronograph’ watch and a chronometer. But what is actually the real difference between those 2 terms?

A ‘chronograph’ is a tool to record the time with strong accuracy. A ‘chronometer’ is a tool to measure time accurately. Do you think those are the same? Think again!


A chronograph is a watch that measures elapsed time with a built-in stopwatch-feature. This feature is commonly known as a complication of the watch. Do you know what’s typically about chronographs? They always have two or three little subdials that display hours, minutes and seconds. A chronograph watch usually features a return-to-zero button, or pusher on the sides of the watch. The top pusher starts the chronograph while the bottom pusher stops it.


Only a watch that endures the extremely intense tests of the ‘Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (C.O.S.C) for over 15 days, may call itself a chronometer watch. It must pass several tests on accuracy and reliability so it can gain this highly renowned certificate of this institute. If a watch has passed the test, there is usually ‘chronometer’ marked on the dial as some sort of a pride to have gained this. Chronometers must remain between +6 and -4 seconds per day to stay highly accurate. And they offcourse do. A watch which has earned the name chronometer, is a superior timekeeper.

A watch can be both a chronometer and have a chronograph function. However they can also be seperate. Just because a watch is a chronometer does not mean it has a chronograph and vice versa.