Chronograph Watches We answer your questions about chronographs!

All your questions about chronographs answered here

Because a chronograph is something you'll want to use for the rest of your life, it's important to answer even the most basic questions.

In addition, we will explain everything from how to choose the right one for you to maintenance.

Chronograph Basics

Q1. Who invented the chronograph?

Could you also tell me who was the first manufacturer to develop a wristwatch-type chronograph?

A.The prototype of the chronograph was already developed in the 17th century.

It was a feat accomplished by just one genius watchmaker.

That genius watchmaker was Jean-Moses Pouzet.

In 1777, Jean came up with the idea of ​​a mechanism that had a second hand independent of the clock, and began development.

Over the years, other watchmakers gradually improved on the mechanism that Jean had invented.

The decisive moment came in 1879.

Longines introduced the "Legrand."

This was a pocket watch chronograph.

It would be some time before wristwatch-style chronographs were created.

That was in 1915.

Breitling founder Leon G. Breitling and his son Gaston introduced a model with a 30-minute counter and a central chronograph hand.

This model had a 30-minute counter and small seconds, and was a one-push type.

In 1923, Breitling introduced a model with a separate push button for starting the chronograph hands.

Q2.Why is the pillar wheel type chronograph considered a luxury item?

A. A pillar wheel is the part that is responsible for starting and resetting a chronograph.

However, pillar wheels are more expensive to manufacture than the current mainstream cams.

As a result, pillar wheels are rarely seen these days.

However, we say that the Omega Speedmaster also used this pillar wheel in its early days.

It is said that the reason why the Omega Speedmaster used pillar wheels is because they were more stable, reliable and durable than cams.

Another advantage is that pillar wheel movements are easier to maintain when it comes to repairs and other maintenance.

Choosing a Chronograph Watch

Q3. What should I check when choosing an antique chronograph, and what should I pay attention to when choosing one?

A.The most important thing is to buy from a shop you can trust. This is important.

When checking it yourself, the first thing you should pay attention to is the condition of the dial and case.

If the exterior is in good condition, the movement will likely be in good condition as well. However, there are exceptions, so be careful.

Then, if the store owner gives you permission, try winding the crown.

When winding the crown, check to see if there are any strange noises.

Also, check that it can turn smoothly without getting stuck.

Now try actually starting the chronograph.

Check it for at least a minute.

Naturally, when you reset it, don't forget to check that the hands return to the zero position.

If possible, it would be advisable to also check that the 30-minute counter and 12-hour counter are working properly in conjunction with each other.

Q4. I am looking for an inexpensive Daytona, preferably one based on the Valjoux caliber, which is also used in the hand-wound Daytona.

A. It is true that Ref. 6262 and 6263 are very expensive hand-wound Daytonas priced at over 1 million yen.

However, even chronographs that use the same Valjoux Cal. 72 series caliber as the Daytona can be purchased for around 100,000 yen.

For reference, the Universal model starts at 195,000 yen, while the Wittner model starts at 140,000 yen, making them relatively affordable (the prices of the watches were surveyed at an antique shop in Tokyo in early March 2000).


Q5. Please tell me how to take care of a chronograph. In particular, I would like to know how to store it and how to place it correctly.

A.One common way to place a chronograph is to never place it with the crown facing down.

However, we tell people, "You don't have to worry about it. Just leave it as it is."

But of course, there are some things you need to be careful about.

It's magnetic.

Avoid placing it in a location where magnetic fields are generated.

Furthermore, if you plan to store it for a long period of time, we recommend storing it in a dark, well-ventilated place to prevent the dial from burning.

Also, be sure to avoid moisture and insect repellents.

Q6. Is it true that there are times when you should not adjust the time on a chronograph with a date?

A:That's true.

The time should not be adjusted during the six hours between 9pm and 3am.

This is because the parts that control the date display function are in motion during this time period.

It is not desirable to put unnecessary stress on the movement while the parts are still working.

However, there are exceptions if the basic caliber is well-made.

It's okay to set the time no matter what time it is.

However, whatever the situation, it is best to try to avoid setting times during the above periods as much as possible.

Q7.How long should it take to have a chronograph overhauled?

A.The time when you should have an overhaul will vary depending on how often you use your chronograph.

However, if you have a new chronograph and are using it as a general-purpose watch, it would be ideal to have it overhauled approximately once every three to five years.

However, if you use your chronograph frequently and it is a model that is not waterproof, such as Breitling's old Navitimer, it is best to have it overhauled about once every two years.

In the case of a non-sealed case, the oil in the movement can deteriorate and change quality even when the watch is not in use.

Q8.How much does it cost to overhaul a chronograph?

A. Let me use the example of Cares, an antique watch store, as an example.

If it's made overseas, it costs 38,000 yen.

If it's made in Japan, it costs 33,000 yen.

However, in either case, the cost of the parts required for replacement will be charged separately from the basic fee.

Additionally, if the part you need to replace is not available, we may have to make it separately.

In that case, it will be slightly more expensive.

Also, please be aware that some shops do not offer repairs or maintenance for products other than those sold in the store.

On the other hand, if you request an overhaul directly from the manufacturer, the basic fee for overhauling a mechanical chronograph is between 40,000 and 60,000 yen.

It varies depending on the manufacturer, but in some cases there may be discounts if you purchase genuine domestic products.

Q9.I've heard that with some chronographs, it's better to keep the stopwatch hands moving all the time. Is this true?

A. We asked Mr. Kurizaki of Taiheido whether it is really a good idea to keep the chronograph hands moving.

In the case of Lemania movements, it is said that it is best to keep the chronograph hands moving continuously, as this puts less stress on the mechanism.

However, with Valjoux watches, it doesn't seem to matter whether they are moving or stopped.

What if you think your watch might be broken?

Q10.When I press the reset button, on some watches the chronograph hands return instantly, while on others they return slowly while the button is being pressed. Is one of them defective?

A.It depends on the structure of the movement.

Examples of watches that instantly return the chronograph hands when you press the reset button include the Omega Speedmaster, which is equipped with the Lemania Cal. 321 or Cal. 861, and the Breitling Navitimer, which is equipped with the Venus Cal. 170 series.

On the other hand, there are universal movements that slowly return the chronograph hands while the button is pressed.

The structure is designed to return to its original position slowly.

Q11. I'm pressing the reset button, but the chronograph hands don't return to the zero position.

A.The truth is, it takes an extremely high level of skill to set the chronograph hands correctly.

Therefore, if the person who performs the chronograph maintenance is a technically inexperienced craftsman, the hands may not be properly fixed.

In that case, problems may occur such as the chronograph hands not returning to the zero position even when the reset button is pressed.

When requesting maintenance, be sure to choose a repair room that has craftsmen with excellent needle insertion and removal techniques.

And just to be on the safe side, have them check the adjustment of the movement's hammer system and springs.

Q.12 Why does the 12-hour clock start moving on its own?

A.If the problem is not due to the hammer having worn down, the adjustment falls under the category of an overhaul.

In that case, it would be a good idea to check the movement's stop lever for looseness and have it adjusted.

It seems that there is no additional charge unless there is a critical situation such as a missing hammer.

However, loosening of parts is a problem that becomes more likely the longer the product is used.

However, there is no way that products in this condition would be on store shelves...