Watches

Chronographs are one of the most popular complications in watch-making and are used in timepieces for both men and women. There is something about the chronograph that captures people’s imagination and, as such, this complication is certainly in high demand.

NEW WAYS OF DISPLAYING ELAPSED TIME

Lately, many companies have redesigned how elapsed time is displayed, foregoing the totalizers/subdials and using alternative ways – linear, retrograde, turning discs, using the hour and minute hands to display and more – and we can expect to see more of the same as these alternate ways have gained acceptance on the market.

“For us, new things are always interesting,“ says Breitling’s Girardin. “In 1934, Breitling defined the classic three totalizer dial structure, so we are keen to keep doing it. Some years ago, we had the two totalizers in one sub dial, so you could read the time you are measuring like a watch. If you want something very precise, we prefer to offer quartz or electronic chronographs.“

There is definitely room in the market for both classic and modern, and sometimes in the same collection. “I personally like the classic way, but with the new ways of displaying elapsed time, a brand can distinguish itself from others,” says Thomas Morf. “I think this is more important to brands, than having a true benefit to the customer. Easy-to-read is still one of the most important factors, when it comes to a chronograph.”

THE FUTURE OF THE CHRONOGRAPH

Chronographs are here to stay, with just about every company offering up their version of this time-honoured complication. It’s a combination of sportiness, dial design and functionality that attract people, so companies will continue to meet the market’s demand for chronographs.

“TAG Heuer continues to push the boundaries of precision timekeeping in the mechanical and digital fields, despite the exponential constraints,” TAG’s Babin says. “But it is no secret that our primary objective is to achieve industrial perfection with the mechanical timepiece accurate to 1/100th of a second.”

“Chronographs are not a trend anymore,“ states Breitling‘s Girardin. “In the 80s, chronographs were almost dead, then the Chronomat started mechanical chronographs again. The future of the mechanical chronograph is progressing quite well.”

The chronograph has been around for quite a long time, having its roots in sport timekeeping. Today, it is still one of the most popular, and affordable, complications in watchmaking. As companies refine and introduce their own in-house chronographs and designers come up with new and interesting ways of reading elapsed time, the chronograph is sure to stay extremely popular and wonderfully useful.