Should I get the Omega Seamaster Chronometer or Chronograph model?
The Omega Seamaster collection is one of the Swiss watch brand’s oldest and most renowned. Therefore, it goes without saying why the line of luxury watches has benefited from extensive development in timekeeping technology over the many years of its existence. Notably, this has resulted in both chronometer and chronograph models of watches. But it then begs the question, which one should you choose? Well, the answer lies in the detail. Chronographs and chronometers are two completely different watch types. Yes, of course, they both tell the time but today, watches go way beyond this. So, with a watch’s primary function in the bag for both, here’s the difference between Omega Seamaster chronographs and chronometers, and ultimately, which one you should choose.
What is a chronograph?
A chronograph is defined as ‘a piece of equipment that measures and records periods of time’. In layman’s terms, a chronograph is a stopwatch functionality. And in Omega Seamaster models, it is an additional component, or complication in watch jargon, on top of the primary hour, minute and second time keeping functions.
The stopwatch function can be activated and stopped using the additional pushers on the side of the watch, usually positioned at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock. When the function is stopped, subdials are reset without affecting the display of the current time.
Chronographs are not exclusive to Omega Seamasters. In fact, the mechanism dates back to 1816, when Louis Moinet invented the chronograph in order to work with astronomical equipment.
But since this time, watchmakers such as Omega have adopted the mechanism and included it in their watch designs for additional functionality and time keeping convenience.
With the Omega Seamaster being a range of diving watches, the chronograph functionality allows divers to keep a record of dive times for competition or training purposes or to ensure divers are safe and are not under water for too long.
What is a chronometer?
The dictionary definition of a chronometer is ‘a piece of equipment that measures time very accurately’. Therefore, while a chronograph is an additional feature of a watch, a chronometer is more concerned with a watch’s performance.
Consequently, it is possible for chronograph watches to also be chronometers, and this is certainly the case with Omega’s Seamaster range.
Chronometers are ultimately a standard of watch which certifies their ability to precisely keep track of time. The nature of mechanical watches means they are subject to certain impacts and factors that affect their precision and accuracy.
Like any engine, overtime the mechanical elements wear and tear due to friction and this causes performance to decline. The chronometer is a certification that was birthed from the watch industry’s obsession with time keeping precision in order to overcome this challenge.
It is recognition of a watch’s ability to remain precise and be relatively unaffected by both internal and external factors, such as humidity, pressure, magnetism and gravity.
Now, no watch has been able to achieve 100% accuracy in these various situations and circumstances. What a chronograph demonstrates however, is the ability to be accurate to a certain extent. To measure this, watches must undergo a series of rigorous testing.
There are a number of industry bodies who administer tests, but in regards to Swiss watches, testing is undergone by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres. For a watch to be given the chronometer name, it must pass seven tests. To pass, the watch should not deviate more than the maximum or minimum criteria for the following:
- Average daily rate
- Mean variation in rates
- Greatest variation in rates
- The difference between rates in horizontal and vertical positions
- Largest variation in rates
- Variation in rate depending on temperature
- Rate resumption
Testing takes 15 days, including weekends. And only when a watch has passed all seven tests is it certified a chronometer.
Which one should you choose?
So, now you know the difference between chronographs and chronometers, you might be wondering which is best for you. Well, if precision is your preference, a watch with a chronometer certification will not disappoint.
However, if you want something with additional functionality, which will be particularly useful in diving and other sports related situations, a chronograph is ideal.
Fortunately, the Omega Seamaster range offers the best of both worlds. Many of the watches in the collection with the chronometer name are also great chronographs. Not only are these watches highly functional, they are also precise and reliable.
Discover the Omega Seamaster chronograph and chronometer collection at Wallace Allan.