A thorough explanation of how wristwatch chronographs work: What's the difference between "column wheel" and "cam type"?

What kind of watch is your favorite?

Do you know what a chronograph is? It is popular among men.

The clock face has several smaller dials on it.

An image like this probably comes to mind.

The fact that it looks like it is equipped with a complex mechanism is probably why it is so popular among men.

This time, we will be talking about the chronograph, which is one of the most popular mechanical watches.

I would like to explain in more detail.

A thorough explanation of the wristwatch chronograph mechanism

The word chronograph comes from the Greek

A compound word of "Chronos" (time) and "graphos" (to write).

Simply put, it is a watch with a stopwatch function.


It refers to a pocket watch.

A unique feature of this watch is that it runs the stopwatch using the same power source as a regular clock.

By Swiss watchmaker Henri-Fereol Piguet

It was invented and first made in 1845.

After that, many watch manufacturers continued to develop the watch, and it evolved from the pocket watch into a convenient wristwatch.

This led to the creation of modern chronograph watches.

Generally, there is a "start/stop button" on the crown,

Operation is performed using the two "reset buttons" below the crown.

The dial has an in-dial (small dial).

In general models, there is a 30-minute counter (indicating how many revolutions the chronograph hand has made, in 30-minute increments).

12-hour counter (indicates how many revolutions the 30-minute counter has made)

Small seconds

It is equipped with three sub-dials:

Other than that, they often have features such as a "split-second hand" and "flyback."

"Split second hand" refers to a chronograph (stopwatch)

This function allows you to stop the two chronograph hands one by one when you want to measure two different times.

It is so named because the needles look like they are splitting.

"Flyback" is a stop, reset, restart.

This function can be performed by pressing the reset button once.

Continuous measurements can be performed with minimal manipulation.

The mechanism that powers a chronograph varies depending on the movement (the power mechanism).

Mechanical watch movements are available in both manual and automatic winding types.

In addition, the mechanism that controls the operation of the chronograph includes

There are two types: "column wheel type" and "actuating cam type."

The part that controls the movement is the column wheel.

It is a column wheel type.

The column wheel is the control tower of the chronograph.

It is divided into two levels, upper and lower, by teeth and gears.

When you press the push button the lower teeth rotate.

As it rotates, the lever rises up between the upper pillars.

If the watch falls, the chronograph may not be able to start, stop or reset.

All movements are controlled.

This is a control method used in high-end to mid-range models. It is characterized by reliable operation and durability, and most column wheels up until the 1960s were the type that rotated by pulling the column.
Nowadays, the push-and-turn type is the most common.

Generally, column wheel type buttons have a lighter feel when pressed.

The other type, the "operating cam type," is made up of two parts, an upper operating cam and a lower operating cam.

The entire mechanism reciprocates to control all start, stop and reset operations.

Compared to the column wheel type, the buttons have a clear, clicky feel when pressed.

It is inexpensive to produce and relatively easy to maintain, so it is the currently most popular method.

This is a control method that was mainly used in mid- to low-end machines.
Compared to the column wheel type, the operation is less reliable and less durable, but it is cheaper to manufacture and has become widespread. Cam types up until the 1960s did not have a brake lever due to their structure, so the stop was incomplete.

All cam types are push-and-turn types, so they are not as easy to operate as column wheel types.

What did you think.

Please wear a mechanical chronograph that exudes the romanticism of a man.

Come and feel the weight of it.