For Your Staff:Selling Timepieces
What Does That Button Do?
Learn, demonstrate and explain chronograph functions
By Paul White, Watch Division Director, Reis-Nichols Jewelers, Indianapolis,
With the strong demand for chronographs today, it's likely your store
stocks more of these multiple subdialed watches than ever before. To sell
them better, you have two important responsibilities:
- You need to understand how these watches work and what functions they
- Equally as important, you need to explain and demonstrate
these functions to a potential customer using basic terms.
Reduce "Chrono Fear"
Some sales associates have "chronograph fear." Perhaps it's the
buttons, the subdials or the generally complicated appearance of these watches.
Think of the chronograph in its simplest form as a stopwatch. The
button on the upper right side of the case, at about two o'clock, starts
the stopwatch. When you depress this button, it typically starts a larger
hand in a clockwise countdown around the dial. This hand continues to run
until you depress the same button to stop the hand.
Example: You want to time a short-duration event, such as a 60-yard dash.
Push the button to start the larger chronograph hand and push it again at
the end of the race to stop it. Look where the hand stopped, and that's
the number of seconds the race took. For longer events, check the reading
on the minute subdial. (If the dial has a different layout, read the manual
that comes with the watch.) Once you've recorded this information, use the
lower right hand button to restore the chronograph hand to its zero position
at 12 o'clock. It really is that simple start, stop and reset once
you've recorded the elapsed time.
Now that you've mastered that function, what do you do with the other
Different Subdial Setups
One of the dials on the chronograph is likely to be a small sweep-seconds
hand, which continually measures elapsed time of one minute. On most non-chronographs,
this is a larger hand that moves clockwise around the full dial each minute.
But on a chronograph, it's often a smaller dial that may be located at the
three, six or nine o'clock position.
Whether the watch is self-winding, manual winding or quartz-powered,
this dial moves continuously. You don't affect the small seconds dial by
pressing or operating any of the buttons. Just think of it as your second
hand in miniature.
If the chronograph has another small subdial, calibrated to "30,"
or perhaps "10," this is an elapsed-minute counter. It starts
counting minutes during a timed procedure. After one minute, you'll see
it move one notch. This subdial is used to record events longer than one
minute, lasting up
to 30 minutes. When you're done recording the elapsed time, press the
reset button and the minute counter and the large chronograph hand returns
Your chronograph also may have another subdial showing three- or 12-hour
calibrations. This times longer events, such as airplane flights. It takes
60 revolutions of the large chronograph hand to move this subdial to record
one hour's elapsed time.
In some cases, one of the aforementioned subdials, perhaps the minute
counter, may be replaced by a subdial that moves rapidly when you stop the
timing function. It's likely you're seeing tenths or hundredths of a second
Please read the watch manual if additional subdials or functions (such
as a tachymeter for measuring speed) are on the dial. Better yet, ask your
supplier for a training session.
Each month Paul White fills this column with tips for sales associates
who want to sell more watches. If you have suggestions for topics, questions
for Paul or specific examples from your store, send them to Professional
Jeweler, 1500 Walnut St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19102; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.