What The Heck Are Chronographs.. How To Use Chronograph Watches CORRECTLY All right, gentlemen gather around, story time. April 11th, 1970, Apollo 13 takes off from Cape Canaveral, Florida heading to the moon for a routine mission, but two days in it becomes anything but routine as an oxygen tank explodes and these guys realized we’re not landing on the moon, in fact, we may not even make it back to earth alive. Everyone is scrambling trying to figure out how can we save these astronauts.
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So, they immediately power everything down, the temperature drops. They are trying to conserve as many resources they can, they’re really depleted on oxygen. These guys slingshot a around the moon, they are on the way back to earth, but there’s a huge issue right here, they are 80 miles off trajectory. They’re basically looking at coming in and they’re going to come in way too shallow and that the problem with that is it would bounce right off the atmosphere and go right back into space and they are gone. So, how to do this? Well, they figured out, okay, we can turn on the engines for fourteen seconds and we can basically use that time to realign and get right back where we need to be. The problem is is how can you tell fourteen seconds because everything is turned off and they can’t just flip it on because once they do that, they realized all the condensation and everything right there, I mean this could lead to a disastrous failure. So, what did they do? Guys, the chronograph. This is where for fourteen seconds, the chronograph showed the world wow just how valuable it is to have a time-keeping device basically your own mini stopwatch. But the chronograph is so much more guys and that’s what we’re going to talk about in today’s post. Okay. I didn’t mean to leave you hanging there. Yes, the astronauts and Apollo 13 survived.
In April 17th, 1970 they splashed down in part to the accuracy of their chronograph because they had an accurate timing device that was separate from their computers, these astronauts were able to survive. Now, what exactly is a chronograph? Let’s talk about that. A chronograph is a specific type of watch that’s used as a stopwatch combined with a display watch. Now, the term chronograph, this comes from two Greek words, the words chronos describing time and the Greek word graph meaning actually writing. Now, with chronographs we didn’t see the earliest chronographs they actually did have a little bit or writing that took place that’s how they actually measure the time on their stop watch, but that was just the first few that were created. Nowadays, we don’t see any type of writing so that part is outdated. Now, let’s go ahead and let’s talk about the specific parts of a chronograph. A basic chronograph has an independent and swift second hand. It can be started, stopped, returned to zero by successive pressure on the stamp. Now, less simple chronographs, they’re going to use additional complication and they can have multiple independent hands to measure seconds, minutes, hours, and even tenths of a second. What you see here is the basic chronograph, so a few things I want to point out. Obviously you’ve got the hour hand here for the watch, you’ve got the minute hand, but this over here is not the second hand, this is part of the stopwatch.
This sub-dial right down here is actually the second hand and as you can see is constantly actually tracking the seconds. Now, this other sub-dial over here is actually tracking the minutes that the stopwatch has been going, over here the hours. Now, I’m not going to do the long version and let this run for six hours, I guess that could be for another longer full post I guess guys. But, what I want to focus in on is what you can use this and how it works. So, basically I press the button here and the stopwatch obviously stops. And I can simply reset it and watch how this top one will slightly reset as well because it’s been going on for over like two minutes now. So, it’s, boom, it’s not reset. So, let’s go ahead and I can start it up. Now, one of my favorite features of a chronograph is that actually I can actually go in pull this out and I can set up a timer. So, I can choose where I want it to reset the second hand so I can say, hey, you know, I have something that I want something that’s going to last I want a thirty-second timer. So, I can go in there and, boom, all of a sudden I’ve got it so the timer will start from that point and as you can see when I reset it, it’s actually going to stop right over there. Something like that, it’s just kind of fun and I like – what I find with a chronograph is really what you can do with it is only limited by your imagination.
Do you like the look at that chronograph, gentlemen? That’s the Vincero Chrono S Blue. It’s one of my favorite watches. I’m going to link to it down in the description including a discount code. Vincero is the paid sponsor of this post guys, I’ve been with them well over a year and what I love about this company is it was started by watch enthusiasts. These guys realized, hey, we want to make some watches which look like and this look like thousand dollar watches, but when somebody actually goes and buys them, they realized, wow, I’m getting a great deal, they’re a fraction of that price. And that’s what I love about them guys because some of the chrono you can find chronographs out there for thousands and thousands of dollars. You don’t need to spend that much to get a lot of the features and a lot of the look of a great looking chronograph. Guys, when you go and look at the specs on the watches, you’ll see they use 316L surgical grade stainless steel. They use a sapphire-coated mineral crystal which is basically going to be scratch resistant. They’ve got 5ATM water resistance and luminous hands. I really though love the leather bands that they use here, very – it’s just a quality made watch, something that you just don’t see out there with a lot of different watch brands. And I definitely want you guys to go check them out.
Again, I’m going to link to them in the description. Go take advantage of that discount code. Now, that you have a better understanding of what a chronograph is let’s talk about what a chronograph is not. A chronograph is not synonymous with the word chronometer. It is also not synonymous with the word tachymeter. I know that seems obvious to a lot of you guys that know watches, but for people just getting into it we’re going to see these words are sometimes interchanged whenever someone is showing you a watch and if they’re misusing these words, you probably want to go somewhere else. But, let’s talk about each of them because they deserve a mention. The term chronometer comes from the Greek words chronos meaning time and meter meaning counter. It has recently become more commonly used to describe watches tested and certified to meet certain precision standards. Now, there are sure definitions of the word chronometer don’t do it justice because I want to talk specifically about the merit time chronometer because this changed the way that when you are able to travel around the world and understand how big of a problem was, let’s go back to 1707, let’s look at the silly naval disaster. This happened in 1707 off of the coast of England what we saw were six warships returning from battle and four of them crashed up against rocks and almost 2,000 sailors die. Why did this happen? Because they didn’t know their longitude.
That was the issue is that ships traveling out on the ocean they can figure out their latitude, but what they couldn’t figure out is what their longitude was and the issue was you would have ships oftentimes crash. In addition, they had to go on certain lanes which made it very easy for pirates to prey on them. So, all of sudden if you could figure out what the longitude was you could revolutionize everything. The way to do that though was to have a time standard. Yes, literally if you could take a simple watch back to that time period, it would have revolutionized the world. There was no device out there that could actually tell time accurately while on a boat until the chronometer was developed guys. Now, the first true chronometer was developed by John Harrison in England in 1761 and we could really start to go and travel around the world. So, the chronometer guys a little piece of history, a little piece of history that kind of resides right here in our watches and that at the time changed the world. The next term I want to clarify is a tachymeter. So, a tachymeter is actually a scale, it’s a scale that sometimes around the rim of an analog watch. Guys, it can be used to compute speed base on travel time or measure distance based on speed. So, the function performed by tachymeter its independent of the unit of distance.
So, you can measure miles, nautical miles, kilometers, meters as long as the same unit of length is use for all calculations. It can also be used to measure an industrial production process in units per hour. So, in quick summary, a tachymeter measures the speed or it can measure the distance, but it doesn’t measure the time, that’s the job of a chronograph. Now, let’s talk about how the chronograph has been used throughout history and how you can use it for practical situations. So, 1816, Louis Moinet, the guy invented the chronograph for his own private use. He was studying the planets, studying the stars and he wanted something that could measure time in his laboratory. Then, in 1821, Louis XVIII, he wanted to measure the speed in which his horses were going around their time that they were taking to make the laps in and around his racetrack. Then, we started seeing more practical uses in the militaries. You can imagine artillery, it was huge, they were able basically to time and it made actually artillery bombardments the time between them coordinating much easier. All of a sudden we saw other uses in the military. We saw aviators, just the entire aviation industry all of a sudden realized the practicality of being able to measure with other things we talked about the tachymeter and things like that, but they could actually take all of that and then start to figure out speed, started to figure out how much distance they covered from up in the air. So, stepping away from that, the chronograph all of a sudden become – started becoming popular with the everyday guy.
You started seeing it on racing watches, you started seeing it on just regular dive watches. Not that these guys were going to use it all the time, a lot of people just simply like the look, they like the style so the style came in. But what’s cool about this is that the function is always there. But, practically how can you use it? Well, think about it, timing steaks. So you’re out there cooking and you know that, hey, you want to keep it there for three to four minutes. Well, you know you’ve got a timer right there, you don’t have to go in and reset anything, you’ve just always got your own stopwatch. When you’re at the gym, you know between certain reps, you want to have a very short amount of time. The point is what you can use a chronograph for is pretty much endless, so it’s only limited by your imagination. So, gentlemen, hopefully you enjoy this post. I had a lot of fun putting this one together. Hopefully you learn something new. Go check out the support article, I’m going to link to it down in the description I go into a lot more detail there.
And go check out Vincero. Guys, I want to put a discount code to them down there in the description. A great company, I’ve had the privilege to work for them for over a year. I have actually I think I’ve told you guys their watches stand up to I kind of beat these things up and they do a great job. In addition, I just simply I think they’re beautiful, I think they’re stylish, and I think if you’re building and starting your watch collection, you definitely want to check them out. That’s it guys. Take care. I’ll see you in the next post.