How to Set the Start Position of a Chronograph

It is common to receive a new chronograph and the second counter is not set to the 12 o’clock position. However, this does not mean that the watch is defective or of poor quality. In most cases, you can easily re-set the second counter to the 12 position, or any other position on the watch you would like it to start at.

The second counter on a chronograph is normally where the second hand would be on a watch, centered, with the hour and minute hands. On most chronographs the actual second hand is one of the subdials.

Below is a video and a few easy steps explaining how to re-align the second counter on your chronograph. If you are unable to re-set the hand using this method, we highly recommend that you check your watch manual or contact the manufacturer of the watch for further assistance.

  1. Pull out the crown to stop all watch functions (un-screw if necessary)
  2. Press the top pusher until the second counter is in the position you would like it to start at (typically this is the 12 o’clock position, however you can choose to start it at any position on the watch)
  3. Make sure the time is set correctly
  4. Push (or screw) the crown back into position and test the chronograph. It should now start at and return to the position you chose.

If you happen to be shopping for a new chronograph, Princeton Watches has hundreds of chronographs available in all price ranges, in many styles for men and women and with various features.

3 thoughts on “How to Set the Start Position of a Chronograph

  • October 29, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    How do you center a hour chronograph hand?

    • October 31, 2016 at 8:41 am

      We aren’t sure what you mean – you should be able to set the hour hand with the crown like any other watch. All the other hands should re-set to “0”, some chronographs will only track time for up to an hour or 60 minutes.

  • November 26, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Thank you, this guide was very helpful.


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