The chronograph watch is the quintessential sports watch and one of the most popular complications amongst mechanical automatic timepieces in the world. Invented by a Frenchman named Rieussec in 1821, a chronograph is a chronometric (time-measuring) device which contains a mechanism that allows to stop at least one hand to facilitate reading of the elapsed time. The Greek words “chronos” and “graph” stand for “time” and “writing”. Around 1910, the chronograph was introduced as a wrist watch. It quickly became a very sought after type of watch, only to gain in popularity through the years. When the Swatch watch company started the production of affordable and fashionable chronograph watches in early 1990, they sold like wild fire, as did the later versions. Today, with almost every respectable watch company claiming a chronograph within its collection, one can ensure optimal health for their chronograph watch with three simple steps:
1) BEWARE OF THE DATE: Most watch salesman will never tell you about one of the most essential DO NOTS when it comes to chronograph watches, but it is best to NEVER change the date function on a chronograph watch when the time is between the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. Therefore, it is best to change the date when both the hour and minute hands are in the lower half of the watch between the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions (for example, think 6:30). By following this simple step you will eliminate stripping gears within the chronograph movement and provide better precision over time.
2) WIND YOUR WATCH: We all take for granted the fact that most automatic watches are still running when we pick them up to wear, but realize that when you’re not wearing an automatic chronograph watch it loses power and precision over time. As the coil in the mainspring slowly unwinds releasing energy through the power train of the watch movement, it generates power throughout the movement that eventually fades with the uncoiling of the mainspring. As horology improves the power reserve and energy efficiency of movements, it is best to appreciate the fine Swiss movement and wind your watch to ensure full power energy levels… but never over wind your watch!!!
3) WEAR & CARE: The most basic maintance of a chronograph watch, and all watches for that matter, is to wear and care for your timepiece. Think of your chronograph movement as a sports car engine that you need to keep well lubricated and full of energy. It’s best to frequently run these high performance engines, but in the case of timepieces that don’t get much use, consider investing in a good and affordable watch winder such as an Orbita.net” target=”_blank”>Orbita that will wind your watch for you when not being worn and keep all of the oils and lubricants as fresher, this requiring less maintance in the long run.