AskDefine | Define chronometer

Dictionary Definition

chronometer n : an accurate clock (especially used in navigation)

User Contributed Dictionary



From (chronos) "time" + (metron) "measure"


  1. A device for measuring time, such as a watch or clock


device for measuring time

Extensive Definition

A chronometer watch is a watch tested and certified to meet certain precision standards. In Switzerland, only timepieces certified by the COSC may use the word 'Chronometer' on them.
The term chronometer is also used to describe a timepiece used for celestial navigation.

Mechanical chronometers

Chronometers often included other innovations to increase their efficiency and precision. Hard stones such as diamond, ruby, and sapphire were often used as jewel bearings to decrease friction and wear of the pivots and escapement. Chronometer makers also took advantage of the physical properties of rare metals such as gold, platinum, and palladium.


In horology terms, a complication in a mechanical watch is a special feature that causes the design of the watch movement to become more complicated. Examples of complications include:


Quartz clocks, radio clocks, radio controlled watches, and atomic clocks have made mechanical clock-chronometers obsolete for time standards used scientifically and/or industrially, although some custom watchmakers still produce them.

Officially Certified Chronometers

Over 1,000,000 Officially Certified Chronometer certificates, mostly for mechanical wrist-chronometers (wristwatches) with sprung balance oscillators, are being delivered each year, after passing the COSC's most extreme tests and being singly identified by an officially recorded individual serial number. According to COSC, a chronometer is a high precision watch capable of displaying the seconds and housing a movement that has been tested over several days, in different positions, and at different temperatures, by an official, neutral body (COSC). Each movement is individually tested for several consecutive days, in five positions and at three temperatures. Each movement is individually measured. Any watch with the denomination "chronometer" contains a certified movement.
chronometer in Catalan: Cronòmetre
chronometer in Czech: Chronometr
chronometer in German: Chronometer
chronometer in Spanish: Cronómetro
chronometer in Galician: Cronómetro
chronometer in Indonesian: Kronometer
chronometer in Italian: Cronometro
chronometer in Hebrew: כרונומטר
chronometer in Dutch: Chronometer
chronometer in Japanese: クロノメーター
chronometer in Polish: Chronometr
chronometer in Portuguese: Cronômetro
chronometer in Russian: Хронометр
chronometer in Slovak: Chronometer
chronometer in Slovenian: Kronometer
chronometer in Serbian: Хронометар
chronometer in Finnish: Kronometri
chronometer in Swedish: Kronometer

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Big Ben, astronavigation, celestial navigation, clock, clock movement, clockworks, coastwise navigation, consolan, dead reckoning, fix, horologe, horologium, line of position, loran, pilotage, plane sailing, point-to-point navigation, radar, radio beacon, radio navigation, sextant, shoran, sofar, sonar, tables, ticker, timekeeper, timepiece, timer, turnip, watch, watchworks
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