Chronograph vs Automatic Watch

Many people still can’t differentiate between types of watch available in the market. Some people are confused whether chronograph and automatic or manual watch are the same thing or not. If you are interested on knowing more about their difference, in this article we will discuss focusing on both chronograph and automatic watch.

In this article we will give you information about:
– What is Chronograph and Automatic watch
– What differs Chronograph and Automatic watch
– Chronograph vs Automatic watch

About Chronograph
Chronograph is a type of watch that is used as a stopwatch and has a time display like the common watch. To know more about watch display types, you can read our article here. The basic type of chronograph has an independent sweep second hand. You can start, stop and return it to zero by successive pressure to its stem. More complex chronograph may use additional complications. Complications here means the features in mechanical timepiece other than the simple display of hours and minutes. More complex chronograph has multiple hands to measure seconds, minutes, hours and even tenths of a second. Other than that today chronograph also has movable tachymeters that can be used for rapid calculations of speed or distance.

Chronograph History
Taken from Wikipedia, Louis Moinet invented modern chronograph in 1816 that was used for the sole purpose of working with astronomical equipment. However the one who was developed the first marketed chronograph is Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec at the behest of King Louis XVIII in 1821. Rieussec was considered as the inventor of Chronograph until in 2013, when there was a founding that shown Louis was the first invented the chronograph before Rieussec. The first commercial chronograph is produced by Gaston Breitling on 1915. The chronograph at that time has a central second hand and a 30-minute counter. This chronograph has a separate pusher at 2 o’clock. After that Breitling further developed the chronograph with an addition of the second pusher at 4 o’clock, so it has 3-pusher.

Generally chronograph basic function is showing the time like watches and also showing the elapsed time. Originally the term “chronograph” is used in activity relating to artillery and the velocity of missile. Because it main function is to allow the users do a comparison of observation between a time base and a permanent recording of the observer’s findings. Other important uses of Chronograph is Langley chronograph, which is used by the US Navy to record, calculate and analyze data given off by launching catapults. All of NASA’s Apollo astronauts also were equipped with an Omega Speedmaster chronograph during their mission.

About Automatic Watch
Automatic watch or also called self-winding watch is a mechanical watch where the movement is promoted by the wearer’s movements. In other words, the watch has a weighted rotor attached to the movement, which with the movement of the wearer or by shaking it the rotor will spin and making the mainspring to keep it running. Mechanical watches that are neither automatic nor electrically driven are called manual watches.

Automatic Watch History
The earliest credible reference about automatic watch is the watch that was made by a watchmaker named Abraham-Louis Perrelet. It is said that Louis made the watch between late 1776 and early 1777, he made the automatic watch for pocket watches by using a swinging weight inside the watch that can be moved up and down. During the years of 1776 to 1810 there are four different types of weight were used in automatic watches. They are side weight, center weight, rotator weight, and movement weight.

After the World War I, the advent of wristwatch renewed in the interest of automatic mechanism, so all of the four types of mechanism are used. In 1922, Leon Leroy made a side weight automatic watch that certainly derived from the 1779. In 1923 Hardwood used a center-weight system that was derived from 1917 automatic watch. However it is not known whether Harwood was really influenced by earlier pocket watches design or not. In 1930 Leon Hatot made Rolls watch where the movement moved sideways, this probably an independent re-invention. In 1931 Rolex made an automatic watch that has a rotor system with unidirectional winding.

The thing you need to pay attention when buying automatic watch is the watch need to be manually wound first, because new automatic watches spring is completely unwound. You have to move the watch around to make the rotor to spin that will wind the mainspring. This step will get the watch running but it is not enough to fully tighten the mainspring that will let you enjoy the advantage of the power reserve to its fullest capacity. This is why it is important to first wind the crown about 30-40 times to completely wind the mainspring.

Chronograph vs Automatic Watch

Chronograph WatchAutomatic Watch
- Is a watch that have an additional function as a stopwatch- Refer to how the watch works
- Can be manual or automatic- Any type of watch that doesn't require you to manually wind the mainspring
- Commonly has more complications than regular watch- Its main function is timekeeping

Watches aside from the main usage of timekeeping, many people are wearing them as accessories for a fashion purposes. It is clear that chronograph is the watch that has a side function as a stopwatch, while automatic watches are referred to how the watch works. Chronograph can be an automatic or manual watch. Aside from the function, choosing which to wear is depending on your taste and the look you want to have.

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