How to Work a Chronograph Watch

by Cassandra Tribe ; Updated September 28, 2017

Chronograph watches are a necessity for any one working with precision calculations involving time and speed. Having the tool you need strapped to your wrist and easily accessible has made it the chronograph of choice for use by astronauts, race car drivers and scientists. Intimidating in appearance, a chronograph watch is surprisingly easy to learn how to use.

Hold the watch in one hand with the watch face toward you. The "crown" is on the right side of the watch between two buttons. A crown is a raised button. Pinch the middle crown with your fingers and pull it out as far as it will go. Turn the crown to set the time; the watch hands that originate in the center of the dial display the daily time.

Push the middle crown in one stop so it is in the middle position between being flush with the watch and in the position you set the time from. You will see the date and day change on the left-side indicator on the face of your watch. Turn it forward to change the day; turn it backward to change the date.

Push the crown flush to the watch case and use the crown in this position to wind the watch.

Start the chronograph by pushing the upper button on the right side of the case. This will activate the "second" hand, which is the long hand coming off the hour and minute hands at the center of the watch face. The second hand automatically starts the minute "totalizer," which is located below the date and time dial. The minute totalizer automatically triggers the hour totalizer, which is the dial at the bottom of the watch face.

Stop your chronograph by pressing the bottom button once. To reset the totalizers and the second hand, press the bottom button again.


  • The dial on the left side of the watch reads continuous seconds, and the dial at the top shows 24-hour time. You cannot set or change these dials since they are interdependent on the hour and minute function.

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About the Author

Cassandra Tribe has worked in the construction field for over 17 years and has experience in a variety of mechanical, scientific, automotive and mathematical forms. She has been writing and editing for over 10 years. Her areas of interest include culture and society, automotive, computers, business, the Internet, science and structural engineering and implementation.