The answer lies in the use of the watch.
In the late 1800′s watches were moving from the pocket to the wrist.
There was lots of competition to provide a usable and friendly watch that suited the attire of gentlemen carrying out their commercial duties in life.
They wanted something that looked attractive, was eminently useful and that perhaps impressed their friends.
A wristwatch filled this bill.
However, there are those amongst us who have a competitive nature...
the so called alpha male, you know, the ones who want to be the best at everything and will bet on 2 flies crawling up the wall! Anyway there existed a thing called a stopwatch - usually quite large that fitted into the palm of your hand and allowed you to start and stop the timer with a button.
This developed into 2 cycles so you could have one doing the total elapsed time and another doing the lap time.
Buyers loved these watches so much that watchmakers decided to include the functions of a stopwatch into an ordinary wristwatch.
This produced such a lovely concept for all those who like to compete..
and measure performance.
Moreover it appealed to the technical mind.
So people who like complexity and enjoy measuring things to make them better, tend to buy a chronograph watch.
One that combines the time with the ability to time events.
Over the years the competitive nature of the industry has created many superb watches.
The Breitling Navitimer for instance...
originally released in 1952 and still selling well.
Or the Tag Monaco the choice of Steve McQueen in the movie classic "Le Mans".
A big square dial iconic and a neon sign to people in the know.
And a more recent innovation, the Garmin GPS watch all the functions of a chronograph watch plus a GPS navigation system.
Or the Numero Uno of Mechanical Chronograph watches the Zenith El Primero, 5,500 actions are required to build it and there are 18 different metals used in its manufacture.
It's truly a magnificent watch which was nearly lost to the world when the ownership of the company changed and efficiencies stopped its production for a while.
Luckily the staff squirreled away tooling for this masterpiece and when ownership was changed yet again it came back into production.
There are many other stories to be told to illustrate, what is a chronograph watch, and its the knowledge of the history of this classic watch style that adds so much value to its ownership.