The History Of The Chronograph


A chronograph is a unique and popular style of wristwatch, as it combines the common display watch with an additional stop watch, whilst boasting a stylish and modern look.

A simple chronograph consists of only one extra hand, which can be started, stopped and returned to zero by successive button presses.

More intricate chronographs, such the editions in our Aventis Collection, use additional complications and multiple sub dials, measuring seconds, minutes and hours.

So without further a do, lets jump in to the history behind The Chronograph!


The term ‘Chronograph’ translates into ’Timewriter’, which is a combination of the greek words ‘chrono’ meaning time and ‘graph’, which means writer.

There is a lot of confusion as to why the word ‘writer’ was chosen to describe these watches, as it doesn’t seem to fit with what we know as a chronograph watch today.

However, back in the 19th century, the very first versions of the chronograph were actually operated by marking the dial with a small pen, that was attached to the index.

This allowed people to judge the length of time that had passed, based on the length of the pen mark.


The 19th Century

Louis Moinet invented the first ever chronograph in 1816, but this was designed specifically for astronomical equipment.

It was actually Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec who developed the first marketed chronograph, for King Louis XVIII in 1821. The king was a huge racing fan, but wanted to time how long each race took.

1844 brought about the first ever editions of the chronograph with a resetting feature, invented by Adolphe Nicok


The 20th Century

In the 20th Century, chronographs became very popular with aviators and race car drivers, due to their need to keep precise time and make rapid calculations.

In fact, chronographs offered such unrivalled time keeping precision, that US President Eisenhower ordered each astronaut to wear one, during their outer space explorations.

Unlike today, where the most popular chronographs are wristwatches, in the early 20th century pocket chronographs were very popular.

In 1969 the first ever automatic chronograph was released, by a combination of watch companies that worked in partnership. These companies were Heuer, Breitling, Hamilton and Dubois Depraz.


21st Century

In the modern era, companies now look to exploit the rich history of the chronograph for their own gain, by mass producing poor quality watches, that often break easily and cost a small fortune!

Here at Giovici, we strive for excellence with each collection we release and our Aventis Chronograph Collection is no different.

Each edition boasts a sapphire coated lens that is crack resistant, a stainless steal case to prevent corrosion and the same intricate face details and style our clients have come to expect.


Thanks for reading! What is your favourite chronograph watch? do you prefer a classic or chronograph wristwatch? Let us know the comments!

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