Chronometer vs. Chronograph vs. Cosmograph (Watches 101)


The extra you study concerning the world of watches, the extra acquainted you change into with the horological jargon. Given that we’ve entry to an unlimited market with new know-how and new innovations, it might get complicated to recollect some similar-sounding names and what they imply.

More notably, what’s the distinction between a chronograph, chronometer, and cosmograph. Yes, all of them have an analogous ring to the identify, however in actuality, have unrelated meanings. Keep studying to know extra!

What is a Chronometer

John Harrison ship chronometer, between 1761 and 1800. Great Brittain. Technical Museum, Oslo, Norway.
Image Credit: Bjoertvedt by way of Creative Commons

Chronometers are parts of a mechanical motion, handbook and automated, designed to extend the effectivity and accuracy of the watch. Effectively, a chronometer ensures there’s the least deviation potential in time. For occasion, most traditional automated watches can have as much as 25 seconds gained or misplaced in a day, and mechanical watches can present as much as 10 seconds. The important cause for this day by day variation might differ however, predominantly, arises as a result of elements like temperature change, friction, positional change inflicting gravity to shift components, and many others. However, watches with chronometers minimize brief this deviation to lower than 4 to six seconds in a day.

As a consequence, these actions show to be extra dependable. Especially, with industries observing time to the very second, such because the racing or the medical business. In a battle between the passage of time and exact maintaining of time, watchmakers have come to cross many hurdles alongside the best way. Yet, guaranteeing probably the most exact and correct timekeeping stays a matter of explicit finesse not many watchmakers personal.

This is why a particular group based mostly in Switzerland credit chronometers to find out their true accuracy and precision. In addition to express timekeeping, these actions promise longevity for generations to return!

Chronometer Certifying Organizations

Rolex Datejust 36 watch
Rolex Datejust 36 (Image: Rolex)

You might have come throughout luxurious watches with the title “licensed chronometer”. Such a certification, given solely by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres or COSC, acknowledges the very best high quality motion with probably the most correct maintaining of time. The COSC certification doesn’t come straightforward. Most typically, luxurious manufacturers make use of probably the most expert craftsman to develop chronometer watches.

Outside of Switzerland, organizations just like the Glashütte of Germany, the Japan Chronometer Inspection Institute, and the French Observatoire de Besançon perform related official certification duties.

Certified watches not solely promise superior-grade watches but additionally improve the price of manufacturing. Then these watches undergo weeks of testing below totally different positions and temperatures to be licensed. Numerically, because of this watches with lower than 0.005% with probabilities of error lastly obtain the certification.

Omega Speedmaster 38 (Image: Omega)

Currently, Rolex is the one model with a chronometer with simply two seconds day by day deviation. The Datejust 36, just lately launched in 2021, hosts the Rolex 3235 calibre mechanical motion with a licensed chronometer having as much as -2/+2 seconds day by day accuracy.  This is intently adopted by Omega Speedmaster watches with +6/-4 seconds day by day variation.

What is a Chronograph

A chronograph is a horological complication often present in watches to measure pace and time. Simply put, a chronograph is a watch with a stopwatch and has no relation to the accuracy of the watch. The presence of a chronograph doesn’t decide the effectivity of the watch, not like a chronometer. The chronograph is merely an additional function to extend the general performance of a timepiece.

Typically, you’ll discover that chronograph watches have a number of subdials on the face of the watch. These sub-dials have totally different measurements of time, and by urgent the buttons on the aspect of the watch, one is ready to measure totally different time intervals.

Types of Chronographs

Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Watch
Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph (Image: Montblanc)

Originally, chronographs date again to the 1800s, and watchmakers finally saved growing on the earlier fashions. As a results of this, there are three various kinds of chronographs out there. First got here the one-button or the mono chronograph, which, because the identify suggests, had one pusher to start out and cease the recording of a singular time interval with out interruptions.

Famously seen within the Mont Blanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph or Cartier’s Rotonde De Chronograph watch, the mono-pusher has an odd attract to it, regardless of being deemed as a potential horological mistake.

IWC Chronograph 41 (Image: IWC)

Subsequently, the flyback chronographs with two buttons to file split-second readings and intervals made their approach. Pilot and diving watches generally function the flyback chronograph. The IWC Chronograph is a traditional instance of a pilot’s watch utilizing a flyback chronograph. Breitling Navitimer can also be probably the most sought-after chronographs for its beautiful design and aesthetics.

To this extent, the Breitling Navitimer is a licensed chronometer with a chronograph, making it the proper timekeeping companion hundreds of toes within the sky.

Patek Philippe - Grand Complication Blue Split Seconds Chronograph 5370P-011
Patek Philippe – Grand Complication Blue Split Seconds Chronograph (Image: Patek Philippe)

Following this, producers pushed additional to launch the Rattrapante, often known as the split-second chronograph. This kind of chronograph data a number of time intervals concurrently. Patek Philippe’s Grand Collection options the split-second chronograph, one other broadly desired chronograph watch.

What is a Cosmograph

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Oyster, 40 mm Oystersteel
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona (Image: Rolex)

Unlike the above two options, the cosmograph was first launched by Rolex within the ’50s. Watches with a moonphase and calendar issues referred to a cosmograph watch. Rolex is just not an unheard identify, even for a novice within the watch business. This stands as a testomony to the truth that Rolex’s epitome of innovations far supersedes any industrial limits. Nevertheless, many consider that the intention behind Rolex’s motive to coin a brand new time period for a watch with chronograph is to set it aside just like the oystersteel and submariner.

Although Rolex stopped utilizing the time period cosmograph for moonphase watches from the ’60s and ’70s, the model determined to stay with the identify for chronographs. Keeping up their unbeaten repute, Rolex launched the Cosmograph Daytona, a timepiece internet hosting a chronograph with a licensed chronometer, and tachymeter.

This timepiece swiftly grew to become the favorites of the racing world. Mainly as a result of the Cosmograph Daytona proved to be probably the most dependable accomplice on the tracks to file correct time. In this honor, Rolex grew to become the official timekeeper of the Daytona race in 1966.

Another enjoyable truth concerning the Rolex Cosmograph, a particular version known as the Paul Newman Daytona, holds a file for probably the most costly watches bought at an public sale.

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