How to Use a Chronograph - The Classic Watch Buyers Club Ltd

How to Use a Chronograph

The chronograph is one of the most desired complications in watchmaking. From the Speedmaster to the Daytona to the Montblanc Monopusher chronographs are everywhere. With good reason too, besides the date complication chronograph is the most useful feature. It is essentially a stopwatch built into your watch and makes timing things much easier. It is also a complication which is just fun to play with so all bases are covered. They are very simple to use and this guide will walk you through how to use both the standard two pusher chronograph and the rarer monopusher chronograph.


Most chronographs will look like this;


A crown in the middle with a pusher either side. The crown functions as a regular crown, setting the time, winding it up if an automatic etc. The top pusher however starts the chronograph and when pressed the second hand will start going. The layout of your chronograph will vary but as a general rule you will have a big second hand, a small thirty-minute sub dial and a hour sub dial. The minutes tracks in thirty-minute intervals and the hour in twelve. To stop the chronograph, press the top button again and if you want to start it again then press the button again. So the top pusher is simply a start and stop button. The bottom pusher will reset it, so once you are done timing, press the top button to stop the chronograph and then the bottom button to reset it.


A monopusher works similarly only as the name suggests there is only one pusher. An example of a monopusher is the Montblanc Monopusher;

Simply press the crown in to make the chronograph start, press again to stop and again to reset. Whilst the monopusher is cleaner looking and simpler to use you do have less functionality as you can’t restart a chronograph once you stop it. So, if you are timing something and need to pause timing it for any reason you can’t do that with the monopusher.


Chronographs aren’t the only way to time intervals with watches, there are dive time bezels for instance which tend to be used, as the name suggests, on dive watches. Simply rotate the bezel so the arrow is pointing to the minute hand and you now have a sixty minute countdown timer. This is useful if you are tracking air left in a scuba tank but is less useful than a chronograph, however it is easier to maintain and cheaper to repair.


Chronographs are a great complication for watches as it basically gives you two watches in one. A traditional watch with local time display and a stop watch which can run independently of the main watch. If you have any questions about chronographs please leave a comment or email us at

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