What's the Point of a Chronograph Watch?
Let's first define what a chronograph watch is. In simple terms, chronograph watches combine the features of a stopwatch and a regular display watch. However, it can get more complicated than that. Some chronographs include a tachymeter, a scale used to measure speed and distance. Besides the tachymeter, one other popular chronograph function consists of the sub-dial to measure a specific unit of time, like seconds, minutes, an hour, or even a tenth of a second.
As you can imagine, the flexibility within chronograph movements creates a wide range of designs to choose from, and no two chronographs are alike. That is why it is essential to consider what kind of functionality you would like your chronograph watch to have and how this unique watch will fit your personal style and taste.
Our Chronograph Watch Design
Chronograph watches have always been considered 'tool watches' used to track time and measure speed and distance with the built-in tachymeter. The Pioneer Chronograph by Nordgreen is that and much more. The idea was to combine the practicality of the chronograph function with the modern and minimalistic Danish design. That way, you can use your watch to tell elapsed time and do so in style. For example, if you're looking for a black on black men's watch, the Pioneer model comes in that stunning color combination.
Striking in its simplistic design, the Pioneer's makeup consists of a minute and second dial, a stainless steel case, domed sapphire glass, and our signature Japanese quartz movement. Make the Pioneer your own when you choose between three dial colors - blue, black, and white, as well as our three case colors - gunmetal, silver, and rose gold. Our chronograph movement is the Japanese Miyota quartz movement, considered one of the best in the industry. If you're looking for cheap automatic watches, consider the Pioneer as a great and reliable alternative.
The Pioneer Chronograph is an example of classic chronometer watches executed in a modern, sustainable way. The Pioneer Chronograph watch includes a minute and second dial, and a stopwatch function, as well as a small calendar dial to show the current date. Let's take a closer look at the chronograph watch design and the location of each feature on the watch dial:
- Just under the 12 o'clock mark on the face of the watch, we have our minimalistic Nordgreen Copenhagen logo.
- The Pioneer Chronograph watch also features two sub dials, to measure seconds and minutes.
- At the bottom of the dial, right above the 6 o'clock mark, there is a small calendar display to ensure you know exactly what the date is.
- On the right-hand side of the watch, next to the 2 o'clock and 4 o'clock marks, are two stop-start buttons used to control the chronograph functions, for example, to reset/stop/start the chronograph, or to start counting the seconds on your stopwatch.
What are the 3 dials on a watch?
If you are looking at a watch with 3 dials, you will likely look at a chronograph watch. One other way to tell if it's a chronograph movement is to look at the right side of the dial, where you can usually find a button at the 2 o'clock mark, and a button at the 4 o'clock mark. The pusher buttons are used to start, stop and reset the various features of a chronograph watch, whether it's a tachymeter or a stopwatch.
The exact use of each of the 3 dials will depend on the watch model and brand. Some chronograph watches have a tachymeter scale as one of the dials, and an hour dial as the other. A chronograph by a different brand can, for example, have the tachymeter placed as a rotating mechanism at the bezel of the watch, leaving the two small dials inside for other functions, such as a stopwatch to measure how many seconds elapsed.
Nordgreen's Pioneer Chronograph watches feature a stopwatch, and two subdials to measure seconds and minutes elapsed. We have also included a date dial at the bottom for your convenience.
The 24-hour dial
The 24-hour dial is a neat feature of many chronographs used to tell time using the 24-hour format. The use of this dial is multi-faceted. It has historically been used by explorers located in places where they couldn't rely on the sun's movements to tell the time of day. How would you know if it's 4 o'clock in the morning or 4 o'clock in the evening in the North Pole during summer when the sun shines for 24 hours a day?
Is a chronograph watch formal?
Like with any other watch, we have to look not only at the function but also at the style and design of the watch to determine which occasion it is best suited for. In the case of all Nordgreen's watches, you can change the look of a watch by switching out the interchangeable straps.
For example, the Pioneer chronograph worn with a black leather strap is perfect as a formal watch for men. Whereas if you choose to go with a nylon or rubber strap, the watch takes on a more relaxed, informal, and sporty look, and makes for a great hiking watch. The watch's 5 ATM waterproof rating makes this a perfect fireman watch as well.
The Pioneer chronograph was designed with not only the chronograph function but also the look in mind. The stop/start and reset pusher button on the right-hand side has an understated minimal form, and the watch dial comes in 4 color variations (silver, gold, rose gold, and gunmetal) to suit your personal style. When you also consider the countless interchangeable straps we offer, you see that you can wear one watch for any occasion, whether it is formal or not. For example, the Pioneer Chronograph makes for a perfect pilot watch under $500 due to its functionality and classy design.
To answer your question, a chronograph is not inherently formal, but no two chronographs are the same. Some designs are more robust and look bulky on the hand, while others like the Pioneer Chronograph are more minimal.
How to use a tachymeter?
As mentioned previously, some chronographs have a tachymeter as a dial option. Described in plain words, the tachymeter scale is used to convert time passed in seconds per unit to the speed in units per hour with the press of a pusher button. Most chronograph tachymeters can measure up to 60 seconds/one minute. The basic instructions for measuring speed are as follows:
- Know the distance between two points of interest in the unit of measurement your watch is made for
- Start the chronograph by pushing the dedicated pusher button when you pass the first distance point
- Pause the chronograph when you pass the second point
- See where the second hand falls and align it with the tachymeter scale
- The number on the tachymeter scale is your speed in miles per hour or kilometers per hour, depending on the exact features of your watch
- Use the reset pusher button to reset the tachymeter, and it's ready to measure again!
Let's agree that the need to measure distance or speed is not an everyday necessity for many of us. This is why a chronograph in this day and age does not have to include a tachymeter. With the widespread use of smartphones, a tachymeter in a chronograph is mostly used by pilots, seafarers, and drivers, among other professionals.
If having a tachymeter in your chronograph watch is not a priority for you, and if you don't need to measure speed or distance daily, or if you only need to use the stopwatch features, then the Pioneer chronograph is a perfect choice!
Nordgreen's Danish Design Philosophy
It is time that reveals the staying power of our efforts. Nordgreen and Danish designer Jakob Wagner continue their quest to combine machine functionality with Scandinavian style. Denmark's humble achievements start with the speed of a Viking ship. Developing insulin to combat diabetes, Lego for curious minds, and with the help from the wind, Denmark is a leading producer of clean energy solutions. The Pioneer Chronograph is a timepiece that stands as a testimony to the resilience of Danish innovation.