What is the difference between a chronograph and a chronometer?





Chronograph, stopwatch, two words that look alike and yet are very different in the world of watchmaking. It is not always easy to understand the nuances and the excessive use of these terms can sometimes be confusing. Mr. Watch, therefore, offers you today to clarify the question.

The chronograph

The term ” chronograph “It does not designate the clock itself, but an additional function (or” complication “) that allows you to measure short intervals of time in seconds or minutes (more rarely in hours).

Therefore, the chronograph watch is equipped with two separate mechanisms, one used for classic timing and the other dedicated to calculating a certain time. This function is shown on the dial using one or more counters, but especially through a dedicated central hand, called a “chronograph hand”. It is activated by a button that often also allows you to turn off and reset.


In the field of watchmaking, the term ” chronometer It is a designation set to a very high precision clock capable of displaying time per second. To benefit from this name, the model must be subject to certification issued by a neutral and official body. Very often, this is the COSC who takes care of it (Swiss Official Chronometer Control). Performs tests on the watch for several days, to measure and control the accuracy of its movement, in different positions and at different temperatures.

Therefore, the stopwatch is not a function, but rather an indication of a high degree of precision and reliability of the clock in question.

Chronograph and stopwatch on a watch

A chronograph can also be called a “stopwatch”, but in this case you must have previously obtained the famous certificate.

To calculate the time intervals, the stopwatch must integrate the chronograph function.

Nicolas Forni

Passionate about watchmaking, I launched Mr Watch at the end of 2015! Join me and discover new brands and follow the latest news from the world of watchmaking.