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Analogue Chronographs - Why?

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Please do not take the following stream of thoughts too seriously - we are only talking watches here.

I was looking through my classic car mag and my eye came across one of those car-related adverts for watches that are usual in car magazines. As is most common, this watch was an analogue chronograph, this time by Scalfaro and manufactured using some of the original material from the Ferrari 250 GTO owned by Nick Mason.

For some reason, this advert brought a thought to my mind which developed as I spoke to various watch owners I know. My question is why would one want a chronograph wrist watch for anything other than telling the time, unless one was a racing driver or needed such stopwatch precision as a chronograph watch can provide.

Having asked myself why I do like to find chronograph watches as part of my collection, I began to muse upon how much of a nuisance chronographs can be. A friend of mine goes metal detecting and he has found a number of watches, some of them in good condition. Foe normal wear he uses a simple Swedish watch with plain face, hands and numbers, and then for more special occasions he wears a rather nice looking Tissot Swiss analogue chronograph with the usual 3 subdial format and a blue face with steel case and strap. This watch is chunky and heavy but does ooze a certain quality. However, when I discussed this Tissot watch with him, he freely admitted that he didn't know anything about what the subdials and push-in knobs were for and said he didn't touch them.

Then, I also came across a second-hand dealer who was selling some watched including a new-looking Sekonda analogue chronograph. He also had no idea what the chronograph dials did and when I looked at the watch I found that it needed calibrating. I have once before tried to recalibrate a Sekonda-made analogue chronograph and eventually did succeed with the help of Sekonda, who sent me instructions for so doing. I believe that Sekonda calibration uses a slightly different method than the general Swiss chronographs, and as for firms like Seiko, do they have slightly different chronograph calibrating sequences also.

What is the lure of analogue chronographs above "ordinary" watches. I do find it more difficult to understand, especially as quartz analogue chronographs are so inexpensive now when bought online that they have lost a certain cache in my opinion. The design of modern chronographs varies from being nicely organised with just enough detail to provide what is needed

to chronographs which are a complete mess, with too much fiddly detail and numbers on the face.

And yet, there is still a certain mystique associated with really nice chronograph watches, which I do find myself captured by - a certain allure. Nevertheless, in my mind, ultimately, you can't beat a pure three hand watch, with either a sweep hand or a subdial to mark the seconds. And as for a calendar function, a neat little square does the business beautifully.

After all, if you want to mark off time intervals accurately and time events without fiddling with a wrist watch, why not buy a stopwatch - either an analogue mechanical version, perhaps by Hanhart - or one of the many digital examples, some of which, like analogue chronograph wrist watches, have too many functions for their own good.

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I was looking through my classic car mag and my eye came across one of those car-related adverts for watches that are usual in car magazines. As is most common, this watch was an analogue chronograph, this time by Scalfaro and manufactured using some of the original material from the Ferrari 250 GTO owned by Nick Mason.

That monstrosity: http://www.scalfaro.com/gto/ is totally at odds with the beauty of the original car IMO.

Slide-GTO1962-Front-780-520.jpg

Slide-GTO1962-Car-780-520.jpg

This is just yet another watch brand trying to cash in on the classic car 'connection' ( I use that word advisedly).

There are others atrocities besides the 250GTO: http://www.scalfaro.com/editions/.

Let's face it CW / Christopher Ward (or whatever he calls himself lately) does it better.

Edited by DeeDubya

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We guys love to play! :yes: The allure of buttons and dials (according to my 710) is a man thing. :notworthy: I have had the odd watch that was "too busy", even for me. So busy, in fact, that it was difficult to tell the time! :eek:

Mike

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Agree about the dial/ man thing. My other hobby is amateur radio which has the same issue plus a tinkering dimension. Personally I quite like chronographs, particularly autos and have three ( IWC Pilot, Omega Speedy non Moon and another Speedy Moon style but auto.) I tend to wear them when I want to look at them recording the passage of time rather than just the current time of day. They are all very readable.

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I use my analogue chronographs for all sorts of uses, from cooking to timing car parking times and a dozen uses between and, to be honest, if this arrangement is good enough for NASA, it's good enough for me..... :D

8461037602_5dfe1b0d16_o.jpg

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And a very nice chronograph too, Mike! :tongue2:

Best damn' egg-timer on the planet - and ask Jim Lovell how useful Swigert's Speedy was.

Apart from that, we just like 'em! :D

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Here's my contribution to the analogue chrono thing:

PA180067_zps5fcaf6c4.jpg

I think that an analogue chrono is a thing of beauty (the right one, naturally). Mike's Moon watch featured above is for me the pinnacle of this kind of design, and yet to be bettered (I can take or leave the Daytona).

As for the using the thing, I do use mine quite alot for timing things (although sometimes it's more to use it than because I have to). I have to say that an analogue countdown timer would be more useful (do those exist?!)!

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Here's a great use for an analogue chronograph:

1. Get your cast iron griddle pan smoking hot - remember: no oil - completely dry and very hot.

2. Coat your steaks thoroughly on both sides with sea salt. Don't bother with fillet or sirloin - good, aged rump steaks are fine.

3. Making sure your chrono has been zeroed, pop the steaks on the griddle and start the chrono second hand going.

4. Watching the second hand running, turn the steaks every 30 seconds.

5. Cook between 6 and 8 minutes, depending on how thick the steaks are and how rare you like them.

This cooking method will, I absolutely guarantee, produce the tastiest steaks you've ever tasted.

The point of a using a chrono for this? You don't have to remember where the minute hand was when you started - the chrono will allow you to time the steaks exactly.

Enjoy!

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5. Cook between 6 and 8 minutes, depending on how thick the steaks are and how rare you like them.

I never did approve of cremation! :lol:

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In my case, it's all about appreciation for the thought and craftsmanship that has gone in to the movement.

With the exception of the newer quartz Chronos that use separate motors for the dial and each sub-dial hands, chronograph movements are fantastically complex bits of kit.

I've three ESA9210-derived chronographs, and they are ultimate design to me. They combine the elegance of the smooth tuning fork movement with a fiendishly clever Dubois Depraz chronograph module piggy backed on it. (Not to mention that they look very cool on the outside as well.)

Do I ever use them for timing anything though?...

Nope - no I don't. I found myself using the timer function on my phone the other day - wasn't till later that I realised I'd been wearing my Certina Chronolympic.

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Mechanical chronographs are about as accurate as a normal human can manage. 1/100th of a second digital quartz chromos don't really yield repeatable results when triggered by humans. That being said, in this day and age, chronographs are ridiculous toys purchased by fools.

chrono89.jpg

citizenbh19.jpg

g-shock47.jpg

invicta83.jpg

maktime29.jpg

cont...

Later,

William

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As you may have gathered, I'm a complete fool.

Yep, 2 of the watches you've posted are digital :lol:

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As you may have gathered, I'm a complete fool.

Yep, 2 of the watches you've posted are digital :lol:

7991.jpg

I pity the fool that succumbs to the allure of chronographs. Oh, wait a minute, that makes me one too... Doh :wallbash: :D

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I've had a few over the year but have never used them, for cooking I just glance at the clock and wing it. When we used to time things at work we had properly calibrated timers ande stop watches, we wouldn't have allowed to use our own measuring kit that would have be a fairly serious non compliance.

Rather than use it a something to remind you how long you have like parking time or egg timing, surely you need something that has an alarm to remind you your times up, I have occasionally used them to let me know how long a task actually took and the motor related ones for calculation of speed and more what they are designed for.

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Some interesting points here. Absolutely right about human hand-eye-brain coordination not being up to 1/100sec. And on the point of appropriateness for purpose, you don't have to be Guy Gibson to wear a flieger, or Jacques Cousteau to wear a diver. It's fine to like the watches for what they are, and at least you can play with a chrono! :D

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Having a stopwatch on your watch is generally more convenient that lugging around an actual stopwatch.

Also the chronograph movement is more complicated that an ordinary mechanical one. (Of course to a different degree) its the same reason why the tourbillon is appealing or why the moonphase is a desirable complication. Form is an important factor here, one which is perhaps more important than function.

As to why your friend would wear a chronograph as a dress watch, and especially a chunky one at that, I would chalk that up to bad taste.

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As you may have gathered, I'm a complete fool.

Yep, 2 of the watches you've posted are digital :lol:

That's part of the point. It turns out I have 15 chronos, I had no idea it was that many. I have never timed anything. I tried a couple of times and forgot they were running. :rolleyes: :lol:

Later,

William

Edited by William_Wilson

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