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Luxury Watch Terms: The Chronograph Movement

Luxury Watch Terms: The Chronograph Movement

When we discuss the technology, craftsmanship, and classic design of luxury timepieces through the centuries, there are some luxury watch terms that may cause an unskilled watch collector to raise an eyebrow in confusion. One such term, which is a standard feature for many of the luxury watches available on, is ‘chronograph’.

The chronograph movement displays timekeepers in chronological order, and/or can record time. A chronograph luxury watch will usually include three methods of recorder time, such as a timer, aviator’s watch, or stop watch in addition to the normal clock movement. A chronograph records time with exceptional accuracy, which is why most sports watches include a chronograph feature.

Chronograph watches have been an integral part of luxury watch design and technology for a couple of centuries. A watchmaker named Louis Moinet developed the most classic style of chronograph in 1816. Moinet developed the chronograph to use for tracking objects in astronomy. His style features a second hand that sweeps independently around the face of the watch, to be stopped, started, or returned to zero when the wearer presses its control button or stem.

Another key mastermind behind the chronograph was Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec. He made the first chronograph for market in 1821 at the request of King Louis XVIII, for use in measuring the exact length of horse races, which the king enjoyed. Rieussec’s version of the chronograph had a tape that was dragged through the movement at controlled speed, and when active, a pen would push the tape and apply ink to record until the chronograph was stopped.

Later that century, chronographs were used for military purposes – to set and track artillery fire. The movement allows aviators and other precise technicians to make important navigation calculations very quickly, with accurate timing.

Automatic chronographs were invented in 1969 by a partnership of three watchmakers (Heuer, Breitling, and Hamilton) and Dubois Depraz – a watch movement specialist. They developed the chronograph watch in secret, and then released it on March 3rd, 1969 with the label, ‘Chrono-matic’ watch.

Today, the functional use for chronographs is in airplane piloting, car racing, sea diving and maneuvering submarines.

We have dozens of beautiful luxury watch creations available at; many of which are chronograph. Please visit our online store to browse and enjoy!

Featured photo from here, labeled for reuse.

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