Chronograph Repair vs. Chronometer Repair, NYC – What is the Difference?

Technically, all watches are chronometers; whereas chronographs are ‘stop watches’ in layman’s terms.

July 30, 2012. Is your watch a chronograph, a chronometer, or perhaps both? What does it mean for a Swiss watch to be certified as a chronometer? As one of the top watch repair shops in New York City, I have many customers come to my watch shop (either off the street, or virtually, via a Google search such as ‘Chronograph Repair NYC’ or ‘Chronometer Repair New York, NY), and ask me to repair their chronograph or chronometer, without really knowing the technical difference between the two. The question might be, “Why doesn’t my chronometer work?,” for example. (When they mean “Why doesn’t my chronograph work?” (the stop watch section of the watch)). More importantly, all of the top luxury watch companies make both chronographs and chronometers – Tag Heuer, Breitling, Omega, Longines, Rolex, IWC, Jaeger LeCoulter.

So, if you have a Tag Heuer, Breitling, Omega, Longines, Rolex, IWC, or Jaeger LeCoulter – you can have a chronograph or chronometer. In today’s society, wearing a quality luxury watch is a statement of fashion. And part of that statement of fashion is knowing your p’s and q’s, knowing and respecting the fine craftsmanship that goes into luxury Swiss watches like Tag Heuer or Breitling or some of the American brands as well. The basic difference between a chronograph and a chronometer is part of that knowledge.

The Difference between a Chronograph and a Chronometer


A chronograph is a watch or other apparatus with two independent time systems: one indicates the time of day, and the other measures (stopwatch function) brief intervals of time. Counters that register seconds, minutes and even hours can be started and stopped as desired. It is therefore possible to measure the exact duration of an event. There are many variations on the chronograph. Some operate with a center seconds hand which keeps time on the watch’s main dial. Others use sub-dials to time elapsed hours, minutes and seconds. Still others show elapsed time on a digital display on the watch face. Some chronographs can be used as a lap timer (see “flyback hand” and “split seconds hand”). The accuracy of the stopwatch function will commonly vary from 1/5th second to 1/100th second depending on the chronograph. Some chronographs will measure elapsed time up to 24 hours. Watches that include the chronograph function are themselves often called “chronographs.” When a chronograph is used in conjunction with specialized scales on the watch face it can perform many different functions, such as determining speed or distance (see “tachometer”). Do not confuse the term “chronograph” with “chronometer.” The latter refers to a timepiece, which may or may not have a chronograph function, that has met certain high standards of accuracy set by an official watch institute in Switzerland.


A chronometer, technically speaking, actually means any and all watches. But for a Swiss made watch to be called a chronometer, it must meet certain very high standards set by the Swiss Official Chronometer Control (C.O.S.C.). If you have a Swiss watch labeled as a chronometer, you can be certain that it has a mechanical movement of the very highest quality– undergone a series of precision tests in an official institute. The requirements are very severe: a few seconds per day in the most unfavourable temperature conditions (for mechanical watches) and positions that are ordinarily encountered are tested.

Chronograph and Chronometer Repair NYC

As someone who loves watches, I service and repair all the major watch brands – Tag Heuer, Breitling, Omega, Longines, Rolex, IWC, or Jaeger LeCoulter. Many of my clients come to me needing their watch serviced, or repaired, with the idea that it is a chronograph or chronometer. In either case, I can help. It’s all semantics at that point. However, some of my clients – especially those that have chronographs need to use those watches for timing at sporting events, their personal fitness training (think: jogging or swim laps), diving, or even those who are using aircraft. They rely on their quality Swiss chronograph to be an accurate time piece in varying conditions of temperature or even water pressure. I can perform that sort of regular maintenance that chronographs and chronometers need, so please contact me for those needs. Often times, I perform regular maintenance on a Swiss chronograph / chronometer prior to a big vacation trip, such as scuba diving in the Caribbean. If you have questions on watches, chronographs, or chronometers, send me an email. As a true lover of quality watches, I am eager to help cultivate that appreciation and awareness, helping my customers and friends understand the in’s and out’s of watches in all shapes, sizes, and qualities.


About Ron Gordon Watch Repair

Ron Gordon Watch Repair is located at 280 Madison Ave, Ste. 510, New York, NY 10016.  We provide watch repair services throughout New York City, Manhattan, Midtown Manhattan, Downtown and the boroughs of New York, NY. Read our Google Places, Insider Pages, and City Search Reviews, online.