The Ultimate Guide to Chronograph Watches

Everything you ever wanted to know and more about chronograph watches, all in one place.

chronographs
JULIE KRAULIS

A chronograph watch combines standard time-telling with a stopwatch function. You can usually spot one immediately thanks to a busy dials featuring multiple subdials and scales as well as a set of protruding pushers. It's a captivatingly technical and often sporty look that's made the chronograph one of the most popular types of watches. The interesting uses and critical roles they've played in history only make them even more compelling.

Chronographs are also significantly more complicated than time-only watches, especially when they're of the mechanical variety. All the extra components and complexity means 1) thicker cases and 2) higher prices. None of this, however, has inhibited the chronograph's popularity.

The world of chronographs is exciting, and here you'll find everything you ever wanted to know on the topic, and more.

The 25 Best Chronograph Watches

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This comprehensive guide to chronographs covers history, important terms to know, and the best models available at any price.

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5 Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Chronograph Watch

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Gear Patrol

Before you drop big bucks on a complicated watch, be sure you understand what a chronograph does and how it might fit into your life.

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How to Use a Chronograph Watch

brew chronograph watch on wrist operating pusher
Gear Patrol

A chronograph offers genuine utility with its ability to easily time events. This is how to operate one.

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How a Chronograph Watch Works: Everything You Need to Know

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Hunter D. Kelley

The chronograph watch is for a man of action, but its mechanics are wonderfully complicated.

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How a Chronograph Watch Can Actually Make Your Life Easier

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Henry Phillips

Chronographs are often billed as tools for the racetrack or cockpit, but their true utility is far more pedestrian.

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The Valjoux 7750 Chronograph Movement Is a Timekeeping Icon

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Gishani

Found in watches from myriad brands, the 7750 is one of the most popular and common Swiss automatic chronograph movement today.

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The Iconic Chronograph Watches of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s

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Tag Heuer

These five chronographs used for racing, aviation and space exploration pushed the limits of what the complication could do.

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These 7 Chronographs Sport Our Favorite Colorway: the Panda Dial

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The classic black-on-white design of the 1960s called the “panda dial” is making a comeback on modern chronograph watches.

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These Hybrid Watches Combine Mechanical Craftsmanship with Quartz Sensibility

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Yema

The mechanical-quartz hybrid chronograph is a small and strange part of horology.

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What the Hell Is a ‘Rattrapante,’ and Why Is It So Expensive?

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Patek Philippe

Why you should care about the rare "split seconds" chronograph complication.

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Everything You Need to Know About Rolex’s Most Popular Watch: the Daytona

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Rolex

From languishing on shelves to becoming the hottest watch in the world, Rolex’s Cosmograph Daytona has had a wild ride, indeed.

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How to Buy an Omega Speedmaster Watch

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Gear Patrol

We take you through the different iterations one of the world’s most famous watches, from Moonwatch to X-33 and more.

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The History of the World’s Most Famous Pilot’s Watch: The Breitling Navitimer

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Breitling

There is perhaps no wristwatch still in production that’s more associated with flight and pilots than the Breitling Navitimer.

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The Zenith El Primero Chronograph is Still One of the Best of Its Kind After 50 Years

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Zenith

Debate over the first automatic chronograph made is heated. But the Zenith El Primero is arguably still the best automatic chronograph 50 years after its debut.

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Why Did This Incredibly Elegant Type of Chronograph Watch All but Disappear?

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Analog/Shift

The Angelus Chronodato is the progenitor of the triple-calendar chronograph, a classic watch style originating in the mid-20th century.

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The 7 Best Mechanical Chronographs You Can Buy Today

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Automatic or hand-wound, just get one of these excellent mechanical chronographs.

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