For the consideration of chronograph caliber enthusiasts...

 By: halgedahl : July 8th, 2019-06:36

Good day chronograph enthusiasts! 

Though some may argue that a rotating bezel is a far simpler solution to most daily time-keeping requirements (parking meter, 3-minute egg, et al), we who are devoted to this significant advance in horology will always argue for the magic of the chronograph. Having studied this complication over time, perhaps some of you will have good answers to a few questions that has nagged me for years: Given the choice, why on earth would a caliber developer favor continuous movement of the chronograph minute hand over one which snaps to the next minute as the Chrono seconds hand reaches 12 o’clock? Has this anything to do with the development of the automatic chronograph? Is this, at baser, just a matter of time and money?


My Speedmaster’s 1863 snaps to the next minute faithfully, and I find it far easier, therefore, to read the precise minute (given my failing eyesight and the size of most chrono sub registers) as the hand is stabilized on it rather than some nebulous whereabouts in between minute marks. Thus I have been disappointed that the newer, co-axial caliber 9300 appears to feature continuous movement of the chrono minute hand.


So, the technical “why” is of great interest to me, but I ask you to go easy, for though I have a rudimentary knowledge of watch calibers, I’m no watchmaker. And of course your preferences are of equal interest. As one continues on horology’s winding road there is much to learn and to consider. I don’t doubt that there are forces at work here—historical and otherwise—that I have not yet considered.


Also, here is a small list I compiled a year or more ago when I had some time. I’ll admit to tiring of watching YouTube videos and trying to catch the chrono minute hand as the minute changes to see whether or not its movement is continuous or not, but have not found any sort of caliber directory that lists this (to me) tremendously important detail. It seems to me that a comprehensive list of calibers with this emphasis would be welcomed by the Purist community. So please add (or correct) as you see fit!


With great thanks for your time and interest, I wish you all a fine week and good summer weather! 


Fred Halgedahl







Habring2Dopple3 (cal. A08MR-MONO  in house)

Speedmaster 1957, etc. (cal. 9300)

Nivrel Big Date (ETA 2892 w/DD module)

Seiko Presage SRQ019 (cal. 8R48)

Longines Mast. Coll. In House Chrono. L2.759.4.78.3  (cal. L688)

GP Ferrari Ltd. Ed. Chrono (cal. GP3370)

Eterna Heritage Pulse Ltd. Ed. 1942 1942.41.64.1177 (cal. ETA 2894-2)





Speedmaster Moon (cal. 1861/3)

Speedmaster co-axial 311. (cal. 3313b)

Seiko Credor GCBP997 (cal. 6S78)

JLC Mast. Comp. Chrono. 2 (cal. 751F)

Breitling Avenger Hurricane (cal.B01)

Lacroix Pontos Chrono Retro PT6288SS001330 (cal. Valjoux 7750)

Zenith El Primero HW (cal. 420/420Z) 





Hamilton J’Master Auto Chrono H326560 (cal. ETA 7753)

I found the best solution...

 By: Cpt Scarlet : July 8th, 2019-07:15
A parking app or the alarm on my phone. 

Captain, you are incorrigible! FH [nt]

 By: halgedahl : July 8th, 2019-07:34
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Something to consider

 By: jmpTT : July 8th, 2019-07:26
Never mind the minutes. I’ve often thought that the hours register could jump as well. So why not? The reality for most mechanical chronographs is the jump of the minutes register is semi-instantaneous, not instantaneous. The irreversible jump is engaged like half a second before the minute is up. Lange is the exception to this rule, having developed a true jumping minute.

The semi-instantaneous jump can lead to catastrophic failure in timing, if you stop the chronograph between something like 59.0 and 60.0 seconds. Bad if you’re timing a 25 minute event.

Very interesting! This is just the sort of info I was looking forward to. And yes, certainly I have noticed the "semi-instantaneous" nature of the jump. Lang, eh?

 By: halgedahl : July 8th, 2019-07:36
Wouldn't you know. I'd love to know more abot the difference, and how this was achieved. Do you have a suggestion of where might I look? Many thanks for your response! Have a fine day. (Second, never mind the pun, your notion that the hour, too, might "jump!") FH

I challenge you to stop a semi instantaneous minute chronograph after it changes and before the seconds hand hits 60 seconds. [nt]

 By: Katzky1 : July 9th, 2019-00:13
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Well, I did...results surprised me

 By: jmpTT : July 19th, 2019-15:02
Stopped two watches between 59 and 60s.

Lemania 2320 - minute hand on register stops fractionally between 0 and 1 min.

Glashutte Cal 61 - minute hand completes jump to 1 min, once sequence starts.

For what it’s worth, it seems that different semi-instantaneous chronograph movements behave differently. I will retract my original explanation though!

My rudimentary understanding of chronograph movements is that typical 'jumping' minute counters . . .

 By: Dr No : July 8th, 2019-15:07
. . . are actuated by a spring, which is relatively simple to implement.  Continuous operation would imply a drive-train, which would be more costly to implement, and possibly expend more energy.


We are clever guys, let's think this through

 By: cazalea : July 8th, 2019-23:39
There’s a 7750 Chrono system shown here (in the midst of an IWC watch) The crown is at 3 and the minute counter below 12; hours above 6.

Ignoring all the start / stop functions, here is its driving system. As Art noted, revolving gear 8447 with a spring arm 8449 nudges intermediate gear 8844 one tooth, and that moves the minute hand in a semi-instantaneous fashion. The long spring 8495 is adjusted (by turning screw 8804) when the watch is serviced to align the hand with the 0 minute marker.

The heart-shaped cams you see on several gears are used in the reset-to-zero process.

FRANKLY FOR MOST OF US, THIS IS ROCKET 🚀 SCIENCE! Feel free to forget you’ve seen how the magic happens...

And for the skeptics, here’s how a chronograph can be used:


PS - giving the hand a nudge every 60 seconds might require less energy than continual running?

Mike, we can always "count" on you. Many thanks for this cut&paste which has taught me (us?) quite a lot about the amazing usefulness of the chronograph! Now to

 By: halgedahl : July 9th, 2019-07:32
practice! (Just like a musician, eh?) But really... I wonder if NASA trained the astronauts in these many practical uses of the Speedmasters they wore, lo these 50 years ago. I seriously doubt it! I aim to write to Lange to see if someone will reveal (or if there is already an article that does) the mechanics behind the actually instantaneous jumping minute hand. I also thought to correspond with Richard Habring, as I doubt anyone knows more about the chronograph than he. (And my brief correspondence with them has always been quite pleasant.) If you don't mind, I'd like to send a copy of the above as a reference point. Many thanks for taking the time to help out—not a surprise when it comes to you. Best wishes, Fred

Richard should know the book, I believe he was at IWC when that watch was made

 By: cazalea : July 9th, 2019-08:30
He developed the split second complication on top of the 7750


Great, thanks. I'll be sure to let you know what I find. FH [nt]

 By: halgedahl : July 9th, 2019-19:54
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That a spring might expend less energy than an end-to-end drive-train is a surmise . . .

 By: Dr No : July 10th, 2019-08:51
. . . predicated on its capacity to act as a reservoir.  A drive-train would necessarily require constant delivery. 

Perhaps Richard H can be persuaded to comment.


Have drafted a letter. We'll see if he has the time to comment! No doubt he'd know all the ins and outs. FH [nt]

 By: halgedahl : July 10th, 2019-11:27
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Grazi, Fred! . . .

 By: Dr No : July 10th, 2019-11:30
. . . breathlessly waiting his reply . . .

Prego. [nt]

 By: halgedahl : July 10th, 2019-11:51
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My Valjoux 22 minute counter jumps semi instantaniously, it takes about a second ;-) [nt]

 By: Ron_W : July 10th, 2019-11:58
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Many thanks! Every additional caliber I can add to my list is helpful. What watch is this in? Have you a pic you'd share? FH [nt]

 By: halgedahl : July 10th, 2019-19:30
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A Berna chronograph, i posted the story of this unknown brand here on the site a week or so ago.

 By: Ron_W : July 11th, 2019-06:23

Handsome! Thnaks, Ron, I'll find your post and enjoy it later today. Fred [nt]

 By: halgedahl : July 11th, 2019-06:27
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Thanks ! [nt]

 By: Ron_W : July 11th, 2019-07:03
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