Chronograph Saga 3 – The Flyback
The flyback chronograph is an evolution of the original complication. It allows the watch to restart a time measurement without having to first stop and reset the function. Indeed, the reset button of the flyback immediately restarts the timing function by automatically stopping, resetting, and starting the timing with just one push.
Before digital instruments became the norm, this function was of great help for pilots and their navigation needs as it helped them calculate distances and speeds with the immediate return-to-zero function without losing any time resetting the chronograph.
It’s perhaps not surprising that a brand long known for its pilot's watches, Longines, was the first to patent the flyback in 1936. Longines is a pioneer in watches for pilots, particularly with its two models the Weems and the Lindbergh, which integrate navigational tools into the dial.
The flyback chronograph has become ever more popular over the years, offering additional functionality to the regular chronograph without being as complex (and expensive) as the split-seconds chronograph we will cover in the next report.
The flyback chronograph can perhaps be described like the gentleman of the chronographs. It's not as aristocratic as the split-seconds chrono nor is it as casual as the standard chronograph.