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Thanks to Nicolas Rieussec, the watch industry was able to overcome a new mechanical challenge: creating a timepiece that would for the first time precisely measure elapsed time intervals. Nicolas Rieussec first applied his invention at a horse race in Paris in 1821. The functional principle was the combination of a timepiece and a writing instrument. Nicolas Rieussec affixed a pair of indexes, each culminating in an ink-filled nib, above two rotating discs. When its designated button was pressed, the nib briefly touched the rotating disc, where it left a plainly visible mark. This made it possible for Nicolas Rieussec to time the performance of each racehorse to the nearest quarter of a second. The principle of time measurement was permanently transformed by Nicolas Rieussec’s invention, which he aptly named “chronograph” from the Greek “chronos” (“time”) and “graphein” (“to write”). The first patent for the manufacture of a chronograph was granted to Nicolas Rieussec in 1822, yet this was only the beginning of a process of experimentation and development that continues to this very day. In 1825, the ingenious watchmaker unveiled an improved and more readily portable chronograph that indicated the hours, minutes and seconds and could even show a fifth of a second. By 1845, Nicolas Rieussec had developed a chronograph in the now-familiar circular form of a stopwatch.
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