A timepiece is made of three parts. These are the dial, the movement and case. The casing is that which encloses the piece. The movement is the most important part: the mechanics inside the piece. Perhaps the most interesting and complex of all mechanisms is the chronograph movement.
The strict definition of a chronograph is that which has secondary dials which function as stopwatches. Because there are subsidiaries, the timekeeping function of the piece isn’t interrupted when the stopwatches are in use. These represent complex horology and take much time to create.
Simpler timepieces have one subsidiary face that has a stopwatch that records minutes. More complex types have a third dial which counts hours. The most complex is able to keep calendar days and sometimes even moon cycles.
Complications are defined as anything a watch does other than keep time. The most prevalent complications on chronographs are subsidiary stopwatches. There are chronographs able to perform other tasks. As in any piece, the more complex its functions, the more skilled the horologist.
It’s vital to understand the mechanics when choosing a piece because shopkeepers often confuse definitions. This way you’ll benefit with a better and more appropriate selection for your taste and pocket. Without this knowledge you’ll be at a disadvantage when trying to establish worth, precision and performance.
There are two basic kinds of movements. These are quartz and mechanical. All digital watches use quartz movements but the inverse isn’t always true. Some timepieces with hands on the dial use quartz crystal. These use a crystal to generate a precise pulse that triggers the digital counter.
A mechanical watch is powered by a spring that releases energy via gears. The latter is the more expensive option. True enthusiasts tend to prefer mechanical innards as they are old fashioned.
Innards become even more complex than that. In the 30s, automatic timepieces hit the circuit. These don’t require batteries or manual winding. Simply moving ones arm does the trick of charging it.
These timepieces use a different kind of crystal, which generates its own current. The moving arm applies force to the crystal which deforms it. This technology has recently been used to make self charging cell phones.
It’s worthwhile to shop with varying brand because each one has invented and patented their own mechanics. These allow all kinds of interesting complications. Because of the patents, you’ll find differences under every brand.
An extremely rare and valuable example is a timepiece that’s able to start two subsidiary stopwatches simultaneously. It needs an entire secondary mechanism that’s placed on top of the primary one. This piece takes much time and skill to create. Thus it will require a significantly deeper pocket to purchase.
Differing mechanics allow for alternate complications. For example, you may enjoy a piece that begins by counting seconds and, after a minute, moves to a second dial that counts up to the first hour and so on. Its last complication would be the 24 hour dial.
Whether one is a purist who prefers to stick to tradition or technology fan, there is a chronograph movement just for you. With knowledge on your side, you will be able to make a choice which is practical and grants accuracy in timekeeping. Hopefully you will acquire something you will be proud to hand down to coming generations.
Comprehending the design of the chronograph movement may help you to decide on which fine watch to choose. The major categories of a chronograph watch definition are quartz and mechanical.. Free reprint available from: The Worth Of Chronograph Movement In Instituting Timepiece Complications.